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Russian Art Rush



Of all the enigmas, riddles and mysteries concerning Russia, none is more recondite than our limited knowledge of its artists, a fact made all the more apparent given the kaleidoscopic super-abundance of its other cultural icons, which we namedrop with the boutiqued ease of French and Italian luxury labels. Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Chekov, Tolstoy and Nabokov in literature; Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky in music, and from dance's Rudolph Nuryev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, the Ballet Russes and the Bolshoi, to stage and cinema's Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky and Constantin Stanislavsky. Just to rub salt in the aesthetic wound, movies gave us director Alexander Sokurov's mesmerising Russian Ark, filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum in a single 96-minute Steadicam sequence shot in 2002, in what may be cinema's greatest artwork. 


And yet ... Russia's artists? Well, there's Kandinsky, Wassily Kandinsky, of course. But who else? Russia, the largest country on the planet by size, is yet to find its place in the art world and conquer the global art market. Despite the efforts of Western galleries internationally, such as the Guggenheim in New York, Russian art is still a black hole, a blank canvas to most of us, and Russia's galleries haven't helped much either. The Russian government has done little to promote its contemporary artists' works, there are few contemporary art museums, and traditional museums lack the means to build collections.

 


All of which makes the appearance of St Petersburg-based Erarta Galleries in Hong Kong something of a revelation. Stylishly set opposite Hollywood Road's Man Mo Temple, the gallery's inaugural exhibition, Game Changers, lays down the artistic gauntlet and lets it run. As magnetic as it is magnificent, and as fresh as it is flamboyant, this energetic confection of more than 30 exclusive works by contemporary Russian artists is everything like, and nothing like, you've seen before. Bristling, philosophical, poetic and technological, it's Matrioshka doll unravelled in 21st-century mosaic, artistic epicentre of everything.  


There's Pavel Brat, a Moscow favourite, known for creating collages that invoke the worlds of fashion, design and advertising. Brat is considered among Russia's most collectible young artists. Likewise Konstantin Khudyakov, one of Russia's pioneering digital media artists (see The Birth of the Moon, 2014, left). Emerging talents include the wistful Degas-esque sculptures of Aleksey Gromov, and the elegantly executed graffiti work of Katya Krasnaya (Boat, 2014, below).


There's no single movement at work, but pluralities of influence; surrealism, the Italian avant-garde, and social realism, along with Pop Art's declensions and plenty of them. There's early Salvador Dali in the 3-D works of Viktor Ponomarenko; a parody of Japanese otaku in K.G.B's Girl in Blue, and Warholian Marilyn overtones in Egor Bogachev. There's Dmitry Shorin's guardian angel for the modern age Angel No. 8, (given jet engine wings to keep up with progress) a retrofuturistic standout of Michelangelo proportions, to reminders of Russia's prodigious space provenance in Aleksey Chizhov's (Gagarin, 2011, top) two canvases which can be purchased for HK$58, 800 each, or as a diptych. Russian cosmonaut and national hero Gagarin spent 90 minutes orbiting Earth from the bespoke black of space in 1961, the first human to accomplish such a feat. 


There's a Russian proverb: Vsio vozmozhno, tolko ostorozhno (everything's possible, just be careful). Game Changers is a celebration of endless and economic reality - each canvas comes with a price tag. With art this appealing and affordable, just be careful not to buy everything.


Game Changers: Erarta Galleries, 159 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Opening hours: Tues-Sat 11am-19:00pm; Tel: +852 2685 5199; Email: hongkong@erartagalleries.com; Until January 17, 2015

Images Gagarin by Aleksey Chizhov, Acrylic on Canvas (Diptych), 100 x 100 cm each, 2011; The Birth of the Moon. Limited edition 2 of 5, 110 x 110cm, 2014; Boat by Ekaterina Krasnaya, 170 x 100cm, 2014.


 

Admin

Russian Art Rush



Of all the enigmas, riddles and mysteries concerning Russia, none is more recondite than our limited knowledge of its artists, a fact made all the more apparent given the kaleidoscopic super-abundance of its other cultural icons, which we namedrop with the boutiqued ease of French and Italian luxury labels. Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Chekov, Tolstoy and Nabokov in literature; Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky in music, and from dance's Rudolph Nuryev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, the Ballet Russes and the Bolshoi, to stage and cinema's Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky and Constantin Stanislavsky. Just to rub salt in the aesthetic wound, movies gave us director Alexander Sokurov's mesmerising Russian Ark, filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum in a single 96-minute Steadicam sequence shot in 2002, in what may be cinema's greatest artwork. 


And yet ... Russia's artists? Well, there's Kandinsky, Wassily Kandinsky, of course. But who else? Russia, the largest country on the planet by size, is yet to find its place in the art world and conquer the global art market. Despite the efforts of Western galleries internationally, such as the Guggenheim in New York, Russian art is still a black hole, a blank canvas to most of us, and Russia's galleries haven't helped much either. The Russian government has done little to promote its contemporary artists' works, there are few contemporary art museums, and traditional museums lack the means to build collections.

 


All of which makes the appearance of St Petersburg-based Erarta Galleries in Hong Kong something of a revelation. Stylishly set opposite Hollywood Road's Man Mo Temple, the gallery's inaugural exhibition, Game Changers, lays down the artistic gauntlet and lets it run. As magnetic as it is magnificent, and as fresh as it is flamboyant, this energetic confection of more than 30 exclusive works by contemporary Russian artists is everything like, and nothing like, you've seen before. Bristling, philosophical, poetic and technological, it's Matrioshka doll unravelled in 21st-century mosaic, artistic epicentre of everything.  


There's Pavel Brat, a Moscow favourite, known for creating collages that invoke the worlds of fashion, design and advertising. Brat is considered among Russia's most collectible young artists. Likewise Konstantin Khudyakov, one of Russia's pioneering digital media artists (see The Birth of the Moon, 2014, left). Emerging talents include the wistful Degas-esque sculptures of Aleksey Gromov, and the elegantly executed graffiti work of Katya Krasnaya (Boat, 2014, below).


There's no single movement at work, but pluralities of influence; surrealism, the Italian avant-garde, and social realism, along with Pop Art's declensions and plenty of them. There's early Salvador Dali in the 3-D works of Viktor Ponomarenko; a parody of Japanese otaku in K.G.B's Girl in Blue, and Warholian Marilyn overtones in Egor Bogachev. There's Dmitry Shorin's guardian angel for the modern age Angel No. 8, (given jet engine wings to keep up with progress) a retrofuturistic standout of Michelangelo proportions, to reminders of Russia's prodigious space provenance in Aleksey Chizhov's (Gagarin, 2011, top) two canvases which can be purchased for HK$58, 800 each, or as a diptych. Russian cosmonaut and national hero Gagarin spent 90 minutes orbiting Earth from the bespoke black of space in 1961, the first human to accomplish such a feat. 


There's a Russian proverb: Vsio vozmozhno, tolko ostorozhno (everything's possible, just be careful). Game Changers is a celebration of endless and economic reality - each canvas comes with a price tag. With art this appealing and affordable, just be careful not to buy everything.


Game Changers: Erarta Galleries, 159 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Opening hours: Tues-Sat 11am-19:00pm; Tel: +852 2685 5199; Email: hongkong@erartagalleries.com; Until January 17, 2015

Images Gagarin by Aleksey Chizhov, Acrylic on Canvas (Diptych), 100 x 100 cm each, 2011; The Birth of the Moon. Limited edition 2 of 5, 110 x 110cm, 2014; Boat by Ekaterina Krasnaya, 170 x 100cm, 2014.


 

Admin