June 26, 2013

Alina Gutkina

Artistic Statement:
As a longtime insider within the Moscow street subculture scene, Gutkina produces art about the people in her milieu.
She is interested in the theme of identity’s searching among generation born in the early nineties after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
She is doing research how subculture comes out of the underground and moves into the masses, how the resistance becomes a commodity and also the moment of a cult of masculinity in subculture.

(Source: alinagutkina)

June 15, 2013

Sergey Maximishin is a Russian photojournalist whose unapologetic images capture the gritty reality of life, from the frozen edges of the Crimea to the brickfields of Afghanistan. He creates no false heros, constructs no illusions, but rather captures the raw elegance of his subjects and their dismantled empire.

His official web site.

June 15, 2013

Reflection of post-soviet realities in Alexey Titarenko’s works.

Alexey Titarenko was born in Leningrad in 1962. At age 15, he became the youngest member of the independent photo club Zerkalo (Mirror). He graduated from the Department of Cinematic and Photographic Art at Leningrad’s Institute of Culture in 1983. His series of collages and photomontages “Nomenklatura of Signs” (first exhibited in 1988 in Leningrad) is a commentary on the Communist regime as an oppressive system hat converts citizens into mere signs. In 1989, “Nomenklatura of Signs” was included in Photostroyka, a major show of new Soviet photography that toured the US.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 he produced several series of photographs about the human condition of the Russian people during this time and the suffering they endured throughout the twentieth century. To illustrate links between the present and the past, he created powerful metaphors by introducing long exposure and intentional camera movement into street photography. The most well known series of this period is City of Shadows. In some images urban landscapes reiterate the Odessa Steps (also known as the Potemkin Stairs) scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s film The Battleship Potemkin. Inspired by the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, he also translated Dostoevsky’s version of the Russian soul into sometimes poetic, sometimes dramatic pictures of his native city, Saint Petersburg.

Titarenko’s St. Petersburg body of work from the 1990s won him worldwide recognition. In 2002 the International Photography Festival at Arles, France presented this work at the Reattu Museum in the exhibition, “Les quatres mouvements de St. Petersburg” curated by Gabriel Bauret. In 2005, the French-German TV Channel Arte produced a 30-minute documentary about Titarenko entitled Alexey Titarenko: Art et la Maniere.

Titarenko’s prints are subtly crafted in the darkroom. Bleaching and toning add depth to his nuanced palette of grays, rendering each print a unique interpretation of his experience and imbuing his work with a personal and emotive visual character. This particular beauty was recently emphasized during the exhibition of his prints from his Havana series at the Getty Museum (Los Angeles, May-October 2011).

His works are in the collections of major European and American museums, including The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; George Eastman House (Rochester, N.Y.); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); The Museum of Fine Arts (Columbus, Ohio); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego); the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Mass.); the European House of Photography (Paris); the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, Fla.); the Santa Barbara Museum of Fin Arts (Cal.); the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (N.J.); the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts (Arles); and the Musee de l’Elysee Museum for Photography (Lausanne).

(all images here are taken from the series St. Petersburg 1991 - 2009)

more works are here

May 30, 2013
Interview with Aleksandr Chursin

After long time of translating,composing, editing and of course procrastinating I am honored and proud to publish here my first interview with very talented young artist, also my former classmate from KGUKI and just an awe-inspiring, awesome guy, who I admire and love - Aleksandr Chursin. We’ve talked about art, music, influences, current political situation and how it reflects on people and their perception of art and overall covered few other curious topics.

imageAnna Metelina: So, as far as I know, you were born and reside now in Krasnodar, Soutwestern Russia. What do you think about art world situation in Russia in general and in particular in your hometown? Whither art moves , if it moves at all? If you could live any place in the world, where would you choose to live?
Aleksandr Chursin: Yes, I’ve been living here since birth. Of course, I can’t say that I am satisfied with situation in the arts in Russia, even more so in Krasnodar. As before, the public has little receptive to art, because of the fact that the viewer is simply not educated, art-wise. Most of the population of Russia for twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union existed below the poverty line, which you, of course, know very well. Thus, on the one hand, there is the older generation, brought up on the agenda-driven social realism, and on the other, young people in Russia who are not educated. For years, the question of cultural decline in the country had been simply ignoring, and as the the result, we have entire generation that can’t be called other than miscarriage of consumer society. I am not on the side of conservative art, but, in my opinion, “contemporary” Russian art is a pitiful sight. As for the second question, I do not see much need for emigration, I’m going to continue my education in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), but that is about it.
A.M: Tell me about your family. Did your family encourage you to become artist? Do you remember when and why for the first time you felt that you want to be an artist?
A.C: My father does not have arts education, but working in the art world sphere; mother is the economist. Since childhood I wanted to be a policeman, because of vast amounts of time spent at my mother’s work in that specific environment. My last two years at school were in the throes of the choice of profession. For a long time, I really wanted to go to the Law, I was very attracted to this profession. But I chose another one, and yes, I remember deciding to be surely artist, and surely the great one. Sometimes I think that I did make the wrong choice, but because of my total rejection of all these corporational orientations of strict discipline, I think, probably, nothing would come out of this.
A.M: Did you participate in national or international exhibitions? Tell me about this experience. What is the status of the artist and the system for exhibitions and competitions in Russia now? Have you not encountered stiff resistance of your works?
A.C: At first, I actively participated in exhibition, but only in Russia. When I took a close look at the whole “constellation”, I decided it was not for me. All these so-called competitions and exhibitions associated only with “rat race”. About rejection of my works you did get straight to the point, by the way. For some reason, my works always cause a lot of negative emotions from public, and sometimes from the organizers of the event. For example, in 2011,on literally day before the opening of personal exhibition at the direction of the Department of Culture of the Krasnodar state one third of my work was taken directly from the walls. They were considered immoral and offensive.
A.M: What do you think about the political situation in Russia? Do you think that art has to be involved in public life, has to change and influence political views and positions of the society? Do you see yourself as a political artist or artists who can influence the political situation?
A.C: Of course, there is no way to completely escape from politics. And I am very interested in it, as such, not as a genre of art. I still prefer to distinguish between those concepts. Generally, art people should stay away from politics as much as possible. You can find mass of confirmation of that in the world history. As for Russia, I’m not “for” or “against” the current government, I believe that by taking one of the parties side you end up deceived anyway. I see political art as just populism, not leading to anything and changing nothing.
A.M: Music plays an important role in your life. You are the biggest fan of abstract hip-hop that I know. Does it impact on what you do on canvases?
A.C: I divide music and painting, and there are two different me, though here and there I tend to absurdism as a way of expression. When people ask me what this or that canvas is about, I always say: “How should I know?”
A.M: What artists have influenced you? Who do you see as your contemporaries, whose work excites you? Do you have role models in your environment? Have your professors particularly inspired, encouraged you?
A.C: I was interested in different masters at different times. My preferences change all the time. The Official Soviet Art has made strong impact on me, for example, Andrei Mylnikov, Arkady Plastov, Tkachev brothers. I love Russian Impressionist Konstantin Korovin. I think, clearly that I was exposed to a strong influence of Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon. Bacon is still one of the most honored by me artists, along with Rembrandt and Edvard Munch. I don’t really care about contemporary artists, perhaps except Lucian Freud , but unfortunately he died 2 years ago. In fact, movie has huge influence on me, probably like nor any other art. I derive in it stories and images. There weren’t much encouragements in university, and I became quite skeptical to its teaching staff on my second year already, due to their ossified conservative views of art. to its teaching staff, I was skeptical of the course is the second, due to their intransigent conservative views of art.
A.M: People and their emotions are an important component of your work. Can you say that you like people or they are just interested to you as an objects? Most of the artist depict their close circle of people first. How do you find your models? How well you have to know the model to convey her/his emotions as good as you do it? Are there some famous people you’d love to capture on your canvases?
A.C: Yes, I’m only interested in people, people as such, regardless of the whole social and political nonsense. I am not looking for models to pose, almost all my works are painted from my close environment, or myself posing. Certain image appears in my head and this is exactly what eventually canvas turns out to be like. A model is just an object for observation, I have very formal interest to it. I probably can’t tell you names of people whom I would like to depict, but most likely they are artists, musicians, and filmmakers. By the way I recently create a portrait of Chikatilo*. (*Soviet serial killer)
A.M: What technique do you use? How would you describe the style you work in? What is more important to you, the subject of the picture, or how, the way it is performed?
A.C: I work almost exclusively with oil, sometimes with not always suitable for painting surfaces. I use a method alla prima , in most cases . I really enjoy the process itself. I believe the most applicable definition to my works is Transavantgarde. Naturally , I am concerned about the fact what I want to portray and how I do it. I am trying to make viewer feel some sort of inconvenience, some confusion because of not understanding of what is happening on the canvas. This is not aimless abstract painting, not even figurative one in their usual sense. Seems like there are the same people in my works, but in the implausible circumstances, which are rejecting visible reality.
A.M: Were you able to move directly into the art market after graduating, or did you have to work in order to survive financially? How were you financially surviving? Do you feel that the jobs you had to take to pay your bills had an influence on your art?
A.C: It has been only half a year since graduation, and nothing is really going on right now. I have small sales occasionally though. As for the art market, there no such a thing in Krasnodar, and it is not in a best condition on the national level as well, as far as I know. I have been working in the funeral house since 14 years old, engaging in production of portraits on tombstones, but I don’t think that it would affect me or my art works somehow. It is pretty boring and monotonous activity.
A.M: What do you consider to be the key factors to a successful career as an artist?
A.C: I think an artist needs the qualities of communication and assertiveness, as, perhaps, any other professional. The factor of exclusivity of the creative one doesn’t play special role. Audience and critics are not very much far-sighted.

Click here to see some of his recent works.

May 13, 2013

Cause creators of Tumblr made it too damn simple, I wasn’t able properly exhibit works of my friend and artist Aleksandr Chursin along with my interview of him. So here they are. Some examples of his extensive talent.

March 31, 2013

Mikhail Rozanov is a photographer born in Moscow in 1973. He obtained a degree in History from the University of Moscow. Many of his works have integrated public collections and more particularly those of the Russian museum in St Petersburg, the House of Photography in Moscow and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tsaritsino.

This is a collection of the best images by an author who continues the traditions of the St. Petersburg New Academy, earning unofficial status among photography critics as ‘the Neoclassical Rodchenko’.

Watch this mesmerizing video collage of his works here.

March 25, 2013

Anna Parkina.

Born in 1979 Moscow, Russia. Lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

Parkina was born and raised in the Soviet Union, and lived in Paris and California before returning to post-Soviet Moscow. Marked by a slightly distant, inside-outside perspective, her collages revisit the medium and explore it through old and new images evoking both past and present in her native country.

Anna Parkina’s collages and sculptures, aesthetically reminiscent of Constructivist and Soviet propaganda art, are visual juggernauts from which to contemplate the anxieties of contemporary Russian culture and society.

Her work may visually reference the historical Russian avant-garde, but it is also her own edit of the status quo – a set of image- and text-based conceptual, inscrutable ‘riddles’. Her collage works consist of abstract, geometric shapes, imagery taken from the mass media, cut-out printed type and hand-painted extras, completed by slightly cryptic titles. The result, despite the familiar nature of the genre and the ordinary quality of her materials, is both heady and mysterious.

Here, the everyday is re-configured and time suspended through a frenzy of layered, duplicated imagery and its suggestions – of nature, such as birds, and hands, but also of Soviet icons such as cars, instruments, buildings, trains, film still faces and sinister silhouettes of figures wearing fedoras.

Text by Lupe Nùñez-Fernández

To read more click here.

March 10, 2013


Vikenti Nilin | From the Neighbours Series | 1993-present | Giclee print | 165 x 110 cm

The stars of Vikenti Nilin’s ‘Neighbours’ series probably come from all walks of life but they have one thing in common: they are staring into their own abyss, conveniently found in the familiar surroundings of the commonplace Soviet tower block. Yet they don’t seem in the least bit worried. Deadpan doesn’t begin to sum up the mood hanging around Nilin’s black and white portraits. The expressions on his subjects, as they perch on the edge of windowsills and balconies, are phlegmatic, unimpressed, relaxed and almost bored.

Vikenti Nilin’s photographs and installations are glacially sardonic, direct and to the point, but their oblique meaning can end up provoking nervous laughter. His images suggest a state of incarnate passivity, suspension and permanent transition, perhaps morosely alluding to the state of politics in his home country.

Currently on view in Saatchi,London

March 10, 2013

Daria Krotova - penetrating realism of the vulnerability.

Daria Krotova’s works use purposefully fragile media, such as thin sheets of paper or soft clay, to explore the delicate, material, ‘living’ nature of art. She makes objects, drawings and installations that become worn down during the very process of their making, and that invite their audience’s erosive touch. Her work’s symbolic on-going damage questions the notion of art, and of the art establishment, as permanent.

Krotova’s work focuses on the representation of real, living shapes – heads, faces and hearts – isolated from their usual physical contexts. Her visual language raises our consciousness of the representation of life, even of imaginary creatures, within the art historical tradition. Her installations are sometimes composed of thin, papier-mache-like sculptures; other times of porcelain, another material that could be easily shattered. For some projects she has created sites with ‘archeological’ objects – not pottery shards but bones and teeth and horns made out of ceramics as a way of underscoring the fragility and fetishisation of historical remains.

Born in 1971, Moscow
Lives and works in France and Moscow

to see her other works: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dariakrotova/

January 16, 2013
Interview: Tatiana Plakhova

Interview with well-known art director, designer, and illustrator Tatiana Plakhova who created her own unique style - “complexity graphics” - captivating mixture of colors,shapes, rhythms, math, lines, and sounds.

Repost from russellshaw blog.

from"Music is Math"

from "Light Beyond Sound"

from "Light Beyond Sound"

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