Renowned digital art pioneers, Doping Pong have recently turned into avid practitioners of traditional painting. The artistic collective’s retrospective at Erarta Museum features their most celebrated works — from digital art of the late 1990s to the latest creations in the New Russian Romanticism style of the 2010s. Some of them, like Salute! and Gagarin, have already become instantly recognizable, gaining wide popularity far beyond the artistic community. At the same time, the images presented here are not often identified by the casual viewer as coming from the same creative source. All the more interesting to realise that the iconic imagery of the present times created in different years over almost a quarter of a century can be traced back to a single artistic entity which is Doping Pong.
The title Our Everything! is not for nothing: to begin with, it reflects the approach to exhibit selection which bears semblance to the editing of selected writings volumes or production of greatest hits collections; here, too, we see only the greatest art hits encapsulating the 20 years of creative endeavours, from Salute! which rose to the status of a nationwide symbol to Young Pioneer Removing a Splinter. The title also conceals a second meaning: Doping Pong’s most widely known characters — young pioneers, cosmonauts, athletes — truly represent ‘our everything’ in art for several generations of Russian viewers. For some, this exhibition will be a chance to encounter familiar and long-loved images, while others will be engrossed by a beautiful new world — a whole realm of contemporary Russian art at the turn of the 21st century.
The exhibition space is organised in such a way as to let the viewers see the most popular artworks by Doping Pong in every medium chosen by the collective — from digital art to oil on canvas, — quite often selected by the general public itself, disseminated through Internet channels and mass media, tried by time and mass admiration. The show’s highlights range from the monumental Olympic Panel, created as part of the advertising campaign for Gorky Gorod Olympic media village in Sochi and having caused an international stir; through the Childhood Love for Planes showcased in the digital art zone; culminating, of course, in the oil on canvas portrait of Yuri Gagarin painted in the 21st century in the traditional manner — simply put, everything that justifies the group’s prominent status for its die-hard fans. Welcome to the Doping Pong world!