Lydia Gyurina


Narcissus in a puddle too muddy 
to see the pebbles/rocks/reality
sunken in the concrete sidewalk;
face hidden by sunglasses and a
yellow paper mask – it’s not yet
safe to bare yourself.

My body/self/soul was lost in a flood –
flooding of a village by an angry god
with a broken washing machine.
No casualties but inconsequential 
losses – can’t remember when I
last ate an apple.

Unobserved cats in cardboard boxes
shrink with fear from a toddler/
child/spirit with a big stick,
parents away on summer vacation,
babysitter doing laundry.

Am I striking?
I ask the man I’ve commissioned
to paint my dog’s portrait.

Please look up the definition of ‘obfuscation’ for me.

click the icon in the bottom right corner for fullscreen

Lydia’s room is the second on the left
when entering the Kinetic Imaging gallery.

#lydiagyurina constructs and elevates a worldview of an all-important, mythic, and white self, rooted in a critical evaluation of my own idiosyncratic logic.

Sentiments of superiority, narcissism, or grandiosity by a white person have serious repercussions. White ego has justified and fueled colonialism, white supremacy, and the prioritization of white voices, particularly in the arts and academia. This discussion should not be taken lightly, and though I feel that acknowledging my role within this system is important, I need to recognize that literally putting my white body upon a pedestal and under a spotlight, accompanied by a book filled with trivial directives is, for many people, deeply problematic and potentially harmful.

This work, a culmination of research spanning the last several years, is above all an investigation of the self, or rather, myself. It responds to the circular processes of continual self-reflection, a way of thinking which is equally self-indulgent and self-loathing. In some ways, my work presents radical honesty and asks others to reflect on their own flaws and uncomfortable experiences. However, in the narrow focus on my own psyche, I often missed the context in which I and my work exist. 

One revelation of this research was that the hyper-focused process of self-evaluation itself was a form of narcissism, a perspective I began to believe that had been informing my behaviors as a whole. The use of the phrase “grandiosity” was one that was assigned to me as a description of a symptom during a mental health crisis – during which my sense of reality, including my perception of race, sexuality, and gender, were warped.  After and during this crisis, I was treated positively by peers, administrators, faculty, law enforcement, and the mental health system. It is important to acknowledge that this treatment was directly correlated with my race, gender, and economic privilege, though neither this information nor my aforementioned prejudices come into play here. This work seeks to put together the pieces of my reality, yet ignores its most uncomfortable aspects.

My activism, self-education, and participation within discussions of race, privilege, and racial justice have only just begun, and I am currently working to dismantle my own biases, expand my worldview, and use my platform to advocate for justice. This is a lifetime endeavor.

With that said, this is my work as originally conceived.

Lydia Gyurina

Lydia Gyurina earned a B.F.A. in Kinetic Imaging, with a minor in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University (Honors College) in 2020. Her moving image and performance work deals with themes of awkwardness, disengagement, and the inherent narcissism of self-exploration. Her work has been shown at the Anderson Gallery, Sediment Varve, and the Crenshaw House in Richmond, VA, as well as at the Moving Silently exhibition in Vallejo, CA. She is currently seeking work in documentary filmmaking, post-production, animation, or library & museum studies, and plans to continue her practice as an artist and poet.