kirill ukolov

Haut les cœurs
Stairs carpet, iron
315 x 135 x 160 cm

From the 7th of February until the 7th of May 2013, this work is shown for the exhibition Haut les cœurs, currated by Nathalie Viot, at the 9 cube space, town hall of the 9th district, Paris. Produced by the town hall of the 9th district, Department of cultural affairs of the city of Paris and Bertrand Baraudou gallery.
Courtesy galerie Bertrand Baraudou

Haut les coeurs, the new installation for the NeufCube art space consists in a presentation of a carpet forming stairs used in offices, places of power, palaces, hotels …

Protecting the stairs form wear and tear, silencing the noise.

This carpet lies on a structure made of thin welded iron rods, joined by iron wires. The installation is very light and the weight of the carpet makes it suffer. The rods, fragile bird paws, bend slightly. The carpet seen from the front view creates an illusion. From the side view, we are in a totally different image, the steps are no longer horizontal, but fall in a hollow, forming large pockets in successive waves of different sizes.
When you arrive at the town hall, you take a staircase carpeted similarly.
This staircase leads to the entrance of the NeufCube room, we discover the work in front of us.
The last « step » of the sculpture abuts against a wall. The illusion is so perferct, we want to walk on it, but when we turn around we realize that it rests on emptiness.

A sculpture from a carpet representing stairs on which we do not step…
It is a simple pageantry.
As if we were in a dream, an impossible situation.

Kirill Ukolov was born in Russia, he arrived in France, 8 years ago at the age of 25. After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, he stays in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts artists residency.

He is used to picking architectural elements and recombining them to create a new reality. In his work there is an undeniable political dimension.

With this new project, Kirill Ukolov shows how institutions of power flatter the visitors by welcoming them by a « red carpet ».
However this work also points to the viewer an ostentatious power, discreet though. He is caught in a paradox. There are no stairs, the visitor is destabilized and therefore manipulable.

As always, Kirill Ukolov creates a work based on the physical and symbolic space in which he is invited. It quickly detects all it’s stigmata.
The actual stairs that we took to access the exhibition are the same ones that allow access to the Mayor.
We are in a place of power, we are well received, and everything goes in a discreet felted atmosphere.

However the work shows that in any case there is no issue and that the power stands in all its rigidity. We are facing an ornament that comments and deconstructs the machinery of power.
The ornament indicates that we are in a different space.
The sculpture itself is an ornament and the patterns it carries are only ornaments as well.

In the work of Kirill Ukolov there is a trans-Siberian air. A desire to connect the East to the West, a wish of displacement, of loneliness and the smell of group travelling, luggage, paneling, thick carpets…
It shows a certain vision of the political decision that requires us to remain vigilant because it has to do with propaganda and disappearance of characters on the photos at the time of Stalin.

Nathalie Viot
Février 2013


The starting point for me is often the context of the intervention, as much by it’s plastical qualities that by it’s meanings. The first intention can be formal, but the shape produces a sense that, in its turn, influences the form. So, working on a project, I try to connect all of its components, or all constraints, to find a production protocol. The protocol, at the same time serves the desired shape, and if I am not satisfied of the result, I change the protocol. I can choose amongst the available materials and techniques, find a logic, a justification of my choices and, at the end, the resulting shapes crystallize by several factors, where my subjective will is not the most important. I respect the material and I use its constraints to specify the project.


Kirill Ukolov was born in 1979 in Moscow, he lives and works in Toulouse and Paris.
He graduated from the School of Fine Arts of Toulouse (2010) and the Moscow State University of Printing Arts (2000). From 2011 to 2013, he is invited as an artist in residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Amongst his personal shows : Haut les cœurs, town hall of the 9th district, Paris, 2013 ; Exposition N°1, Bertrand Baraudou gallery, Paris, 2013 ; Résistance, L’identité remarquable, Orléans, 2013 ; Cultures, Transmission(s) program, town hall of the 11th district, Paris, 2012 ; Condition, Plateforme d’art de Muret, Muret, 2012 ; 0,2m³/h, Lemniscate gallery, Le Printemps de septembre — à Toulouse, 2012.
Participation in group exhibitions:Tout est là, Pavillon Carré de Baudouin, Paris, 2013 ; Intervalle ouvré, Immanence, Paris, 2013 ; Des œuvres qui prennent toute la place, Bertrand Baraudou gallery, Paris, 2013 ; Jeune Création, le Centquatre, Paris, 2012 ; A moveable feast, Hôtel de Sauroy, Paris, 2012 ; Pas de coté, Espace Mezcla, Rouen, 2012 ; Archivisions #2, Quand l’œuvre à lieu, Le Parvis center for the arts, Ibos, 2011; Talents contemporains, François Schneider Foundation, finalist, 2011 ; L’abstraction du nécessaire, Espace Croix-Baragnon, Toulouse, 2010 ; 55e Salon de Montrouge, La Fabrique, Montrouge, 2010.

To see more works of Kirill Ukolov :