Katya Grokhovsky: FANTASYLAND at Smack Mellon

  • BROOKLYN, New York
  • /
  • March 16, 2020

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Opening: March 20, 4–8 PM. Timed entry.
Artist Talk: April 18, 3–4:30 PM
Performance: May 1, 4 PM

Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, NY) is pleased to present Katya Grokhovsky’s new solo exhibition FANTASYLAND. Grokhovsky works in installation, performance, sculpture, video, painting and drawing, exploring ideas of gender, identity construction, alienation, labor, history, and the self. Through research and autobiographical experience, Grokhovsky builds worlds and characters that examine and underscore stereotypes, assumptions, prejudices, and injustices. She is interested in the histories of migration and displacement, while enacting the bodies of the historically oppressed, in relation to the preconceived social order. Many of her projects deal with protest and freedom through failure, via radical and humorous actions: reclaiming the body through pleasure, chaos, and refusal, residing in the space of absurd grotesque and nostalgic kitsch. 

At Smack Mellon, Grokhovsky presents FANTASYLAND, a site-specific mixed media installation that explores the rise and fall of a fantastical empire and its uncertain future. Using a variety of mediums and objects, such as giant plush toys, inflatable beach balls, deconstructed and re-assembled mannequins, an unfinished carousel structure, recycled parachute canopies, wallpaper, a glowing neon sign and video performances, the artist underscores American society’s surplus of objects, brutally intoxicating consumerism, and unbridled desire for material possessions that form an ironic, ultimate beacon and capitalist symbol of freedom. In this work, Grokhovsky investigates the American Dream through an immigrant lens, exposing a desirable yet unattainable mirage. FANTASYLAND reveals the eternal human longing for a better life and for connection that remains hidden and festering beneath the polite façade of shopping malls, big box stores, and marketplace websites. In this post-industrial landscape, the enchanted forests and docile characters of Disney fairy tales become sinister metaphors for the “land of opportunity,” an alluring veneer for a wasteland of human-made, consumerist debris. 

About the Artist, Katya Grokhovsky

Born in Ukraine and raised in Australia, Grokhovsky is a New York-based artist, curator, and Founding Director of The Immigrant Artist Biennial. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Grokhovsky has received support through numerous residencies including The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) Studio Program, School of Visual Arts MFA Art Practice Artist in Residence, Kickstarter Creator in Residence, Pratt Fine Arts Department Artist in Residence, Art and Law Fellowship, The Museum of Arts and Design Studio Program, BRICworkspace Residency, Ox-BOW School of Art Residency, Wassaic Artist Residency, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Studios at MASS MoCA, NARS Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute Residency, Watermill Center, and more. She has been awarded the Brooklyn Arts Council Grant, NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship, ArtSlant 2017 Prize, Asylum Arts Grant, Australian Council for the Arts Grant, and Freedman Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists, among others. Grokhovsky earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BFA from Victorian College of the Arts, and a BA in Fashion from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Instagram Website

FANTASYLAND is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council.


Sunday, April 18, 3–4:30 PM

Katya Grokhovsky, Becoming American
Saturday, May 1, 4 PM
Activating the site of her FANTASYLAND installation, Katya Grokhovsky will give a live performance of Becoming American, which explores the place, memory, alienation, and displacement of an immigrant protagonist. The 40-minute performance incorporates Grokhovsky’s autobiographical narrative of double migration from Ukraine to Australia to the United States, an artistic investigation of identity through family histories and lineage, and indoctrination into consumerist culture. Through movement, repetition, gesture, and voice, Becoming American seeks to find hope, strength, and a sense of belonging in a new world.

Image: Katya Grokhovsky, Postcards from America, 2020, digital painting and collage. Courtesy of the artist.
Katya Grokhovsky, Becoming American, 2020, video still. Courtesy of the artist.

For press inquiries please contact Anna Mikaela Ekstrand annamikaela.ekstrand@gmail.com.

Smack Mellon
92 Plymouth St
Brooklyn, New York

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