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CnC Detail 2 image
CnC Detail 2.

CnC /// Connect and Continue

by Yev Rybakov

Oct. 7-28, 2016

Open for Friday Friday Arts Walk, Oct. 7, 5-7 p.m.

Gallery Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday

Artist's Statement

My intention for this project was to create a time-based installation connecting natural and living entities with manmade materials and objects, simultaneously embodying them with a strong element of design.

The project is composed of two living habitats that connect the beauty of organic forms to the minimalist structure designs. 

As I work to recreate a natural environment inside the glass tanks, I am also designing structures that support the fragile aquatic life. The organic, linear forms of the driftwood contrast with the geometric shapes derived from mathematical relationships between the aquarium dimensions and the gallery space.  

There are visual and conceptual connections between elements found in nature and those made by humans. Using similar aesthetics, I tried to explore the interaction between material, surfaces, textures and organic forms, and have juxtaposed ecology and technology in this installation.

Most of my work explores the relationship between the functional and non-functional properties of art and design. I am particularly interested in aquarium design, because it has the potential for combining virtually all of the elements I’m drawn to into a single context.  An aquarium is a window through which I find inspiration. Inspiration is an opportunity for creation, creation is a manifestation of a thought, and a thought is unlimited.


There are two ecosystems being represented in this installation:  One aquarium captures the impression of a healthy freshwater river in the act of growth; another traps the process of its disintegration, decay and entropy. The process of selecting the wood, plants and fish started over a year ago in order to have a set of living organisms that would best exhibit natural behavior and connection in relation to type of organic materials used inside each aquarium.

CnC Detail 4 imageAquarium Sculpture CnC1 is a small, glass cube, inviting viewers to explore a quiet underwater aquascape. It exhibits a driftwood root structure entrusted with natural root growth of various plants that provide shelter for a dozen small Galaxy Rasbora Fish. Differed types of mosses were also added to replicate natural forest effect.

Aquarium Sculpture, CnC2 is left to the natural process of decay, with leaves gradually discoloring the water in order to achieve a dark tea color. In addition, the Manzanita root structure that takes over the space inside the glass walls is also releasing tannins into water, which makes it more acidic, further replicating blackwater habitat such as is found in a natural rainforest.

DRIFTWOOD /// Visual and Conceptual Structure

The locally collected driftwood creates strong linear forms that extend life beyond the glass box. I chose Manzanita driftwood for its graceful, undulating branches and root structure.  Their twists and curves give it a strong visual flow patterns and a counterpoint to the straight lines of the aquarium structures.

DESIGN /// Foundational Materials and Processes

Materials are carefully selected for their aesthetic and conceptual properties. During the process of making the installation, it is important for me to stay true to the materials, as I simplify each element to its purest form.  Care is taken to keep the forms visually clean, for example, joining sections without any visible screws, bolts or welded seams.   

Small details are considered throughout design; the steel thickness in the supporting CnC1 structure simulates the thickness of the glass walls. There is a particular way the aquarium glass was constructed and joined, so I used similar aesthetics in the construction of the edges of steel and wood as part of the stand. The wood was cut precisely to the aquarium’s dimensions and wrapped around with steel. Like the water inside the aquariums, every material is open to discoloration, stains, dents and the natural processes of degradation.

FILTRATION AND LIGHTING /// Life Support System of Living Entities

The CnC1 aquarium requires a fully functioning filtration system, which is seamlessly integrated within the aquarium structure. Filtration and CO2 systems were selected and installed based on aesthetic values of design.

The lighting system utilizes some of the latest technologies, being programed via controller to simulate the temperature and intensity of the sun in order to achieve natural daylight effect.

 As a whole composition, I want to draw viewers closer to engage and interact with the natural world in motion of decaying and growing. 



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