Gallery for Russian Arts and Design is pleased to present Taint, the gallery’s first contemporary exhibition. Taint brings together the work of ten contemporary artists based in the UK and Russia. Curated by Hannah Campion (London) and Katya Sivers (Moscow), the exhibition is a timely exploration of these two cultural scenes, shown during the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014.
Artists with diverse backgrounds and interests were selected to represent the broad range of practices in the emerging Moscow and London contemporary art scenes. Working across a variety of media, the artists exhibiting at Taint interrogate painting and how its definition might be explored and expanded. Taint opens a discussion on the ways in which painting might be used to question both its own history and the motivations of the artists who use the medium. The exhibition examines the dynamics between paint, surface and gesture as the constituent elements of painting; the exhibiting artists explore and exploit these new dynamics in a variety of different ways.
The Russian artists’ fields of interest range from social protest (Lisa Plavinsky) and the representation of the everyday (Ekaterina Lupanova) to the conceptual problems of originality and artificiality in painting (Anton Kuznetsov, Katya Sivers, Ivan Novikov). A related question about the ‘truth’ of a reproduced image is investigated amongst the UK-based artists, through photography (Claire Undy) and film (Heather Ross). The possibility of representing abstract ideas within systematic combinations of form (Jacopo Trabona) and of line and colour (Adam Burns) is explored alongside work which tests the boundaries of what painting can be (Hannah Campion).
Adam Burns (b. 1987, Stockton-on-Tees, UK; lives Stockton-on-Tees, UK) uses a systematic approach to the production of his work and the interaction of colour in his compositions often has unanticipated results. Burns studied Fine Art at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, and lives and works in North East England.
Hannah Campion (b. 1980, Middlesbrough, UK; lives London, UK) works intuitively with a range of materials to create dynamic and colourful installations that visually and physically dominate architectural spaces. Campion specialised in Painting at Loughborough before completing an MA in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Anton Kuznetsov (b. 1973, Kazan, Russia; lives Moscow, Russia) paints from discarded photographs, some of which have subjects that have been distorted or ‘spoiled’ through deterioration of the surface. After studying Monumental Painting at the Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute, Kuznetsov studied New Art Strategies at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow.
Ekaterina Lupanova (b. 1986, Moscow, Russia; lives Moscow, Russia) investigates the possibility of representing the rituals of everyday life by appealing to senses other than the visual. Lupanova studied Book Design at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts before graduating from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow.
Ivan Novikov (b. 1990, Moscow, Russia; lives Moscow, Russia) creates wall-based and installed paintings which immerse the viewer in colour and texture. Novikov will graduate from the Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute and Anatoly Osmolovsky’s Institute Baza in 2014.
Lisa Plavinsky (b. 1972, Moscow, Russia; lives Moscow, Russia) is a well-known artist, art critic and curator based in Moscow. Her paintings involve the removal of colours from surface layers. Plavinsky studied Art History at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and has since realised numerous projects in visual art, music and book publishing.
Heather Ross (b. 1983, Hamilton, UK; lives London, UK) draws upon her background in painting to create films composed of extensive layers that deal with the theatre of space and the way that information is experienced in relation to accepted ideas of reality and fiction. Ross graduated with an MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and is currently studying for her MRes in Art and Moving Image at Central St Martins and LUX.
Katya Sivers (b. 1979 Moscow, Russia; lives Moscow, Russia and London, UK) uses fragile materials such as wax, thin plastic film and glass in precariously balanced compositions to explore ideas of physical and social vulnerability. Sivers studied Graphic Design in Moscow and graduated from the Chelsea College of Art and Design with an MA in Fine Art in 2013.
Jacopo Trabona (b. 1989, Vicenza, Italy; lives London, UK) is interested in signs and signification. His aim is to create work which is without any established order or hierarchy between ideas and forms. Trabona studied Visual and Performing Arts at Università IUAV di Venezia, Italy before completing an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Claire Undy (b. 1986, Nottingham, UK; lives London, UK) is interested in the implication of truth inherent to photography as opposed to the suspension of disbelief required by painting. Undy studied Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art before studying for her Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Academy Schools, London.
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- Katya Sivers, Towards Victoria or Sloane Square, 2013, Metal frame, lamps, paper, clothes , 210 × 130 × 20 сm, Courtesy the artist and GRAD
- Heather Ross, Where Real Life Dwells, 2014, Still, Courtesy the artist and GRAD
- Ivan Novikov, Untitled, 2013, Paint and pigment on paper, Dimensions variable, Courtesy the artist and GRAD
- Adam Burns, 302116113, 2011, Oil and impasto on acrylic, 40.5 × 61 cm, Courtesy the artist and Vane Contemporary Art
- Lisa Plavinsky, White Plener, 2012, Photographic document, 40 × 60 cm, Courtesy the artist and GRAD
- Adam Burns, 109127303, 2011, Oil and impasto on acrylic, 40.5 × 61 cm, Courtesy the artist and Vane Contemporary Art