Since it’s opening in 2010, the global project encompassing the Erarta Museum and Galleries of Contemporary Art has undertaken dozens of art projects. Throughout April and May, Erarta Galleries London will be showcasing a huge variety of artwork from Erarta artists across both floors as a prelude to the opening of Russian Art Week in June.
The UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the richness of culture from the Russian Federation, and the Erarta project is extremely fortunate to represent artists from over 20 regions of the country, not just the traditional centres of Petersburg and Moscow. A private museum, Erarta St. Petersburg is unique in its dedication to contemporary art in a city built on the foundations of the classical. The Erarta Museum aims to built on this success throughout 2014 with a whole host of new projects, especially as this year St. Petersburg will play host contemporary art’s most outstanding festival, Manifesta. The European Biennial’s aim to develop new audiences for contemporary art and stimulate new approaches to artistic production and display is strongly echoed by Erarta as the city’s only museum exclusively devoted to the contemporary arts.
The artists represented by Erarta on the international stage exemplify the modern trajectory of artistic practice in Russia including works in paint (Ekaterina Bordovchenko, Mikhail Lezin), mixed media (Rinat Minnebaev), sculpture (Dmitry Shorin), photography (David Plaksin), drawing (Vyacheslav Mikhailov) and printwork (Katya-Anna Taguti, Aryat Teregulov).
Recent international projects include the I Believe in Angels sculptural series by Dmitry Shorin, showcased at Art Paris and the Venice Biennale last year, in addition to Erarta’s four international galleries. Four of the sculptures from the series are now housed at the new Pulkovo Airport terminal in St. Petersburg, embodying Erarta’s commitment to making publicly accessible contemporary art.
Erarta London’s May Fair aims to showcase the vibrancy and variety of approaches to art making exhibited in our past, present and future exhibitions in the Mayfair gallery space. In the spirit of the UK-Russia year of cultural exchange, to increase awareness of the Erarta project as a whole is to increase the awareness of the talented, emerging contemporary artists in Russia today.
Exhibited artists in the May retrospective: Danja Akulin, Ekaterina Borodavchenko, Alexandr Kosenkov, Mikhail Lezin, Vyacheslav Mikhailov, Rinat Minnebaev, David Plaksin, Dmitry Shorin, Anna Taguti, Aryat Teregulov, Valery Valran.
Danja Akulin (b.1977)
Danja Akulin creates aesthetically minimalist conceptual drawings. His delicately and precisely crafted large-scale drawings are meditative, seemingly dissolving and coalescing simultaneously as the viewer strives to make sense of the storm of abstract marks that compose his remarkably still images using charcoal.
Ekaterina Borodavchenko (b.1978)
In her work Ekaterina Borodavchenko explores philosophical notions of symmetry and beauty. Often employing fractals and recalling Rorscharch's famous inkblot test, her paintings suggest the subconscious, death, and the fleeting nature of all things. Born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Borodavchenko studied art at the Karaganda State University and later at the Repin Academy of Art in St. Petersburg.
Alexandr Kosenkov (b.1959)
Inspired by everyday objects, Kosenkov imbues shapes with such vibrancy that they appear to burst from the canvas. His paintings are a visual refection of the landscape of his mind, he is fascinated by the mixture of archaic elements and powerfully coloured shapes, while simultaneously using patterns to symbolize the nexus between the natural reality of the figure and the colourful world he creates.
Mikhail Lezin (b.1974)
Mikhail Lezin was born 1974, in Togliatti a city on the banks of the Volga in central Russia. Mikhail Lezin’s creative process is highly influenced by the combination of music and painting. His musical experiments see him manipulate the rhythm of the music to form unique paper and canvas compositions, the raw, unrefined nature of the dub music allowing Lezin’s work to avoid pre-planned results.
Vyacheslav Mikhailov (b.1945)
Vyacheslav Mikhailov was born in the remote village of Arzgir, located in the Stavropol region. After completing his post-graduate studies in 1979, Mikhailov founded an art group, later named by art critics The Three Bogatyrs. The group used layers of levkas (a traditional material used in icon painting) and impasto paint application to create relief. Though their work contained literary references and links to mythology, the focus remains on the physicality of texture.
Rinat Minnebaev (b.1964)
Rinat Minebaev is one of the most dynamic artists to have come out of Ufa and is known across Russia and beyond. Working with complicated textures he creates wonderfully tactile, textural paintings that rupture and fracture to give the impression of the earth. He travelled extensively as a young man from his Tatar roots in the Russian steppe as his series Atlanthropus and Geoglyphs reflect. For Minnebaev, life is a journey through time and space, through reality and metaphysical space.
David Plaksin (b.1936)
David Plaksin was born in Leningrad. During the Soviet era Plaksin held a prestigious position as a designer in secret military plants. Since the fall of the defence industry in the late 80’s and 90’s Plaksin returned to book design and illustration. In 1998 he began working with computers and digital photography. All Plaksin’s work has a strong graphic quality and there is a severe asceticism to much of his work, they are laced with an overriding interest in traces of former life as contrasted with implied future life.
Dmitry Shorin (b.1971)
Dmitry Shorin’s artwork is immediately recognizable – influenced by photography and referencing mass media images, he recreates beautiful young girls almost exclusively. Frequently placing his fragile and ephemeral heroines in the heavens paired with airplanes, Shorin’s images and objects are rife with unease created by a repressed yet ever-present psychological eroticism.
Anna Taguti (b.1958)
Katya-Anna Taguti (Ekaterina Kozlova) was born in Riga, Latvia. Her creative methodology is extremely broad, ranging from painting to mosaics, unique graphics, and hand-made serigraphy. Taguti’s works are littered with creative influences from Oriental and Occidental cultures. In her attempt to catch the intricate interaction between these cultures she is forced to experiment with such different mediums to create her deep and meditative works.
Aryat Teregulov (b.1957)
Aryat Teregulov was born in Ufa, in Russia’s Tater region of Bashkortostan. He became an honoured artist of the Republic of Bashkirtostan in 2004. In 2012 his entry to design a mascot for the 6th International Children’s Winter Games was chosen by the Bashkortostan Ministry for Youth Policy and Sport.
Valery Valran (b.1949)
Valery Valran’s artistic metamorphosis began in 1976. At this time he was almost exclusively dedicated to the painting of bottles. Later his work began to reject shade and space and took on more of a monochromatic essence, using the canvas itself as a ground. The focus of his work centres on archetypal objects with symbolic, mythological and religious significance. His still life paintings cannot be attributed to one specific style; instead he himself subscribes to the notion of surrealist, primitivist, minimal and metaphysical art.
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- 1. & 3. The Erarta May Fair, installation views
- 2. Vyacheslav Mikahilov, An artist and a model no. 2, 2000, Ink and alcohol, 43 x 30 cm
- 4. Mikhail Lezin, Shargorod no. 81, 2008, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 130 x 150 cm
- 5. Ekaterina Borodavchenko, Hunting (detail), from the series ‘Vanitas’, 2012, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm
- 6. Rinat Minnebaev, New York, from the series ‘Geoglyphs’, 2010, Handmade paper and pigment, 103 x 104 cm