LONDON.- Erarta Galleries
presents Past, Present & Future, a group exhibition conceived in support of the Gift of Life foundation. This unique exhibition highlights the great diversity and richness of Russian contemporary art with 30% of proceeds from sales donated to the Gift of Life foundation to aid children with cancer in Russia.
Art in Russia has often been viewed as a vehicle for change. During the turbulent years following the fall of the Soviet Union, artists finally felt they had a means to exert their will on the world around them in the great tradition of historical revolution. Since those initial years, the idea of artistic practice as a form of direct social change has given way to a more thoughtful approach that reconsiders the legacy of modernism and its aesthetic ambitions of social renewal.
Selected from the very best and illustrating the continuing evolution of Russian contemporary art, the exhibition includes work by two important proponents of the Non-conformist movement Vladimir Ovchinnikov and Vyacheslav Mikhailov. Though Ovchinnikov tends toward social commentary while Mikhailov favours introspection and aesthetic idyll, both artists fought against the dictates of Social Realism, fighting for their freedom of expression. Today, they both continue to paint and have gone on to become two of the most highly collected Russian contemporary artists with excellent international auction results at both Christies and Sothebys.
Two of Russias most critically acclaimed contemporary artists also feature in the exhibition. Ilya Gaponovs monumental and intensely detailed paintings recall the epic paintings of historical revolution but with entirely contemporary content. A graduate of both Pariss Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Mukhina Academy in St Petersburg, his paintings can be found in high profile private collections the world over. Rinat Voligamsis monochrome paintings also conjure history. His photorealistic paintings are based on found photographs but are given a twist a surreal and uncanny alteration, both darkly beautiful and oddly unsettling. His recent exhibition The Conditions of Winter was fantastically well received by the critics and public alike. Dazed Digital featured an interview with the artist about the exhibition, and Voligamsis Light was pictured in the Financial Times collectors supplement for Frieze Art Fair.
Denis Patrakeev and Alexandre Dashevsky represent the emerging artists of Russia. At only 25 Patrakeevs paintings betray a sophistication beyond his years. Addressing fragmentation and the struggle for establishment, his paintings speak to the universal need to create an authentic sense of self. Dashevskys work also addresses fragmentation the fragmentation present in our urban environments. Probing the melancholy and forlornness of this territory, Dashevsky depicts the alienating anti-aesthetic of our cities, imbuing them with painterly abstraction and the romance of mystery.
Though a truly diverse collection of work, Past, Present & Future offers insight into the newly emerging artistic tradition of contemporary Russian painting. No longer a struggle for expression, but rather a recognition of history and a movement forward.
Founded in 2011 by Russian actresses Dina Korzun and Chulpan Khamatova, the Gift of Life / Podari Zhizn foundation is one of Russias largest charities. Dedicated to helping children suffering from cancer, particularly leukaemia and other blood cancers, Gift of Lifes main objective in the UK is to raise funds for the purchase of Erwinase, a drug unavailable in Russia, to find suitable bone marrow donors, and to fund treatment for Russian children abroad where there is a greater diversity of treatments available. Erarta Galleries will donate 30% of all proceeds from sales during the course of Past, Present, & Future to the Gift of Life foundation.