© Stanislava Pinchuk, The Red Carpet ( II ), 2020. Commissioned by All About Women festival, Sydney Opera House. Image courtesy of the artist and Antidote Projects.

The Lowdown On This Picture You Saw Everywhere Yesterday

Is the Sydney Opera House ACTUALLY  covered in a giant, intricate red carpet right now?

Sasha Gattermayr
7th of March 2020

At first glance, I thought this picture was real; that somehow the boats and throngs of people had disappeared from the busiest tourist location in Australia for one magical second. The work titled The Red Carpet is not actually on the Sydney Opera House’s Monumental Steps. It’s a large-scale, digital photograph that uses complex mapping techniques to create the appearance of a carpet cascading down the steps of this iconic building, but the effect still resonates. The artistic intent still bleeds into the real world for the few blood-pumping seconds it takes you to debate with yourself whether it can possibly be real or not. This is the beauty of Ukrainian/Australia artist Stanislava Pinchuk’s work.

Developed over two years and described as an ‘architectural intervention’, the scale of this impressive work begets the proportions of its story. The carpet is a digitally rendered Ukrainian Bessarabian rug whose intricate design contains a data map of Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the central square of Kiev. Violent protests in the Maidan in 2014 marked the beginnings of Ukraine’s invasion, annexation and ongoing Civil War. The rug uses digital and physical set-building techniques to map the depleted conflict zone; constructing a topography of damage and destruction that is very much in the modern world. Stanislava’s piece weaves in the complicated history of female domesticity and labour within textiles and war zones over time.

Stanislava says of the process involved in making the work: ‘Making this artwork was a huge feat of set-building for us – mapping and tracking on-site, working in-camera with transparencies, paint and light and set-building in post-production. The work involved data-mapping the Maidan, to every millimetre and height field and weaving it into a rug design. We were so fortunate to work with some frequent Wes Anderson collaborators in our set-building process. I am elated to see the work come together after a phenomenal two-year production duration. Ultimately, The Red Carpet feels like a really exciting breakthrough for me as an artist – to new levels of scale, colour and architecture to my previously restrained, monochromatic works.’

Co-produced and curated by Antidote Projects, The Red Carpet will be on public display at the Sydney Opera House Lounge during the All About Women Festival this weekend and is free to view. Stanislava will present an accompanying talk on Sunday, March 8th titled ‘The Thread of War’ to explore the history of women using textiles to create protest.

The All About Women festival runs this weekend at the Sydney Opera House, you can buy a ticket to ‘Thread of War’ here. Parts of ‘The Red Carpet’ will be shown at a group show later in the year and the entire suit of pieces will be exhibited at Stanislava’s retrospective at Heide Museum of Modern Art in June.

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