Erarta Galleries London in collaboration with Maxim Boxer Exhibitions and Auctions is proud to present the first UK retrospective of famed Moscow conceptualist Sergey Shutov. In this retrospective, Shutov brings together works from individual series’ and projects spanning three decades from the late 1980s to the present day.
In terms of the history of art, ‘landscape’ is a genre that won a respectable rank in the art hierarchy in the period of Romanticism and has ever since enjoyed perhaps the greatest popularity among the public at large. In Shutov’s case, the landscape referred to in the title of the exhibition at Erarta Galleries London is that of mental landscape, pieced together from patriotic and State versions of national self-identity throughout Russia’s turbulent history.
However, the exhibition is far from a textbook patriotic version of national representation of contemporary Russia. Shutov’s oeuvre invariably brings to mind typical Soviet iconography and idolization of symbols and objects, fetishized and removed from any form of narrative to be framed as idols of the modern era. Shutov’s romantically old-fashioned work preserves the spirit of post-Pop, New Wave bohemia; encapsulating the spirit of an era, its quintessence.
Using fluorescent colours and metallic sparkles Shutov exploits the discotheque aesthetic of the time combining these ideas with accessible myths about space. “…we realized that we could not make a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, that we should work with our roots, which are no less important than the West.”
The field of ideas and themes that have attracted the artist over several decades are associated with the philosophy of Russian consciousness, from space projects to the military industry. Russian contemporary art, like Russia itself has long been misunderstood in its attention to hermetic and untranslatable cultural specifics. Shutov frames these powerful themes using an international language, clarifying beyond doubt much in the mental makeup of Russia yesterday, today and tomorrow.