Monday, June 13, 2011

Valery Koshlyakov's Crumbling Russia

Still made in Russia is Valery Koshlyakov. You won't find this artist on Wikipedia nor will you see him on the Terminartors website.
I discovered this artist's work through an Art magazine from a friend.
I remember watching this "version" of Mona Lisa thinking to myself:" So overly reproduced, it is nearly an insult to Art. And if not to Art, to the viewers who are so bored to see other artists reproducing the same thing!"
Then I read the comment next to the picture and realised it was made of sellotape.
Still some of us could say :" So? You don't expect us to believe this is Art!"
Well maybe not, but once you will know what's behind his sellotape art, you might. You see Mr Valery Koshlyakov is actually comparing his art to his country's choice in politic stating that Socialism is as crumbly and ever lasting as this piece of art, which knowing how difficult it is to express your opinion in this country  is rather bold.

This artist has been exhibited quite extensively around the world and still is. (USA, France, Slovenia, Russia, Brazil, Germany) and he is only 39.
The first exhibition of the group took place on March, 1988 in Taganrog. There were avant-garde paintings and the show finished with a kind of scandal. Only the well known Rostov’s art historian and collector Alexander Tokarev helped them to clear the issue.
He was part of an Association called "Art or Death" ( it says it all) and was one of the quietest members.

The second exhibition of the Association was entitled "Bugbear" and was held in a few months in the cooperative... toilet. Shortly after the "toilet exhibition" artists moved to Moscow.With time ( in the early nineties) Valery found the perfect material for his works - packaging carton. Unique technique of the artist is a combination of "poor" materials with an exalted theme. Koshlyakov became famous due to the majestic "canvases" with the image of architectural and sculptural monuments of various empires. Through his technique, he re-invents Roman buildings, Greek statues, Gothic cathedrals, government buildings of the Stalin era...

This one is called Embankment. Dated when? Embankment of what? Where? We don't know. All the website I visited didn't mention anything except the fact that it is now a private collection.

This one is a reproduction from Le Louvre dated from 2010, made of cardboard box. I kind of like the classic post-modernist approach to the building. He creates  fantasies of classical art. His large-scale paintings are a kind of "portraits" of the great architectural monuments of Greece and Rome, the legacy of the Renaissance and the ideal "compositions" of constructivism.
I guess that is for today.

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