Unteachable Moments couples Eli Eines and Lesia Vasylchenko at Tenthaus for a common objective; to examine how to deal with loss, grief, memories, and time, starting with what they each inherited from their fathers after their passing. A common thread is that both relate to how the future was to be understood, experienced, and lost.

We are situated at the frontiers between the personal and private; in the encounter between the artist, artwork and perceiver, the private can appear distant and estranged for the perceiver, whereas the personal, even when dealing with the same topics, can be relevant and relatable to all, available to communicate in the triangle between these three. The artists use their own personal and internal complexities as a methodology and practice, demanding a conceptual understanding of their experiences. According to Hongyu Wang, Julia Kristeva’s theory of unteachable moments can be understood as the process of mourning a loss to generate the capacity for questioning and meaning-making. This intimate revolt can be used to understand the significance of these moments in-depth, suggesting staying with difficulty and working from within.

It is only by going through the experience of loss and grief that we can learn from them. There is no pedagogical manner to explain them, yet with Vasylchenko and Eines, we can be guided by their process.

Lesia Vasylchenko’s ‘Postcard From a Nonexisting City’ guides us through a landscape of monumental cartography, confronting us with history’s linearity as a political tool used to colonize the future or a future. Kristeva’s ‘Future Perfect’ comes to mind, a strange temporality, within which a nation, far from losing its own traits, rediscovers and accentuates them, in a new social ensemble… “where the most deeply repressed past gives a distinctive character to a logical and sociological distribution of the most modern type.”1

Eli Eines’ cartography is through language, for which we find it necessary to use the tools of feminist theories from Kristeva and Griselda Pollock to guide us through a territory in which both her social and her subject is fabricated. In Eines’ work, we understand what Pollock once called the power of the linguistic metaphor. Eines’ process is a semiotic one; “it is inscribed with meanings and is also the site of the production of meanings that transgress existing social and symbolic orders.”2

From her process, we find a study of what she inherited from her father’s writings, possessions, and hopes of a future. Her process is the creation of a signifying space, both a corporeal and desiring mental space.

Both of the artists take on the past, the present and the future. The space created between them is the space where unteachable moments take form.

1 Women’s Time Julia Kristeva, Alice Jardine and Harry Blake. Signs Vol. 7, No. 1 (Autumn, 1981), pp. 13-35 (23 pages) Published by: The University of Chicago Press.
2 Grisleda Pollock, ed., Generations and geographies in the visual arts: Feminist Readings. (London, Routledge ,1996) pg. 9.

Mechu Rapela
For Tenthaus Art Collective

We are indebted to Eli Eines and Lesia Vasylchenko, for their dedication and effort spent on their commissions for Tenthaus.