Juxtapoz Magazine – Yuma Radne and the Weight of Water

Steve Turner is pleased to present The Weight of Water, a solo exhibition by Vienna-based Yuma Radne that features new paintings which are inspired by the memories of her youth spent in Buryatia, a republic in Siberia, that has a significant population of indigenous Mongols to which Radne belongs. She depicts blue nymph-like creatures that inhabit a colorful landscape. Some stand in water, some stand on the land while others ride flying fish.

“I grew up in a colorful world,” Radne tells. “The sky had more than a million colors. Wise people only wore orange and had their beige heads shaved. Yellow, red, blue, and green ribbons adorn the trees on the road leading to the Yanzhima, Goddess of arts, science and wisdom. They are the only colors which contrast with the forest which is largely white and dark-brown. Legend says that Yanzhima came from the sky to the sacred mountain of Barkhan Uula, in the Barguzin Region of Buriad Ulas (Buryatia). Oelun, the mother of the great Ghengis Khan, was born there and so was my father. I used to visit Yanzhima every year, where it is believed that anything you wish for will come true. When I turned thirteen. I asked her to help me become an artist.

“Mongolian people have a saying, ‘Under the great blue sky, there are blue Mongol people.’ There is a Mongol blue history. There are blue books and blue grass. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of blue in my paintings. I did not see the connection before I left homeland. Only after I left could I recall that blue was everywhere in my memories.

“When I was nineteen, I made a drawing called The Legend of the Baikal Monster. I just made it up, its existence and its name. I grew up around Lake Baikal, and I never heard of any monsters. However I recently decided to look it up and found out that there are indeed ancient legends of Baikal monsters. That’s when I first realized that I can make paintings that have more knowledge than I have.”