《暴雪》, 2017年, 虚拟现实艺术作品《桥梁》(2017年)手稿，纸上水彩栎木画框，30.5 x 40.6厘米 Snowstorm, 2017, Sketch for the VR artwork The Bridge, 2017, Watercolour on paper in oak framed, Framed: 30.5 x 40.6 cm
In Nikita Shalenny’s virtual reality artwork, the viewer goes beyond the horizon on a compressed forty-thousand-kilometre journey around the world. A game of chance, the journey is the outcome of a line drawn from a bridge and further across the world, taking place in the dead of night, where fuzzy silhouettes of people tear along through desolate landscapes, fleeing into grey blizzards and shadowy forests. Based on watercolours by the artist, one setting replaces the other as the ghostlike figures cross birch forests, oil fields, abandoned churches and oceans in a limitless universe.
Shalenny has long been fascinated by the idea of the bridge in his works, taking the bridge as a starting point for imagining a way of escaping the ongoing crisis in Ukraine where he resides. Mentally extended to infinity, the bridge like the horizon is set between two places, the scene of arrival and the point of departure. All horizons disappear in space, and yet the strong conviction that there is a better world beyond the horizon lives on.
Seen in the light of the current global refugee crisis, the infinite bridge seems like a symptom of our times, or, a cure for an escape attempt. The construction of a bridge allows one to access the other shore with ease, to solve the gap between longings and goals and dreams, which else remain distant.
The first step in approaching the creation of the virtual reality artwork, was to make detailed watercolour drawings of each scenario, illustrating as many details as possible. Then, the watercolour figures and sceneries were adapted to Virtual Reality, allowing the viewer to enter the universe of the drawings.