Russia, Ukraine Moldavia, Armenia and Uzbekistan: Looking Eastward

Imago Mundi

Contemporary Artists from Russia, Ukraine Moldavia, Armenia and Uzbekistan

The Russian Federation constitutes the largest country on the planet, covering an area of ​​over 17 million square kilometers, it extends from Europe to Asia with its endless Siberian spaces. With about 144 million inhabitants, the state is sparsely populated in relation to its enormous dimensions (8 people per square kilometer), mostly concentrated in the European side, in the Urals and in the southeastern part of Siberia. Eighty percent of citizens are Russian, the rest includes Bashkirs, Chechens, Chuvash, Cossacks, Evenks, Germans, Ingush, Yupik, Kalmyk, Karelian, Koreans, Mordvins, Nganasans, Ossetians, Tatars, Tuvans, Yakuts and many others, for a total of 160 ethnic groups. A hundred languages ​​are spoken although Russian is the only official language. Orthodox Christianity is the main religion but Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism are also practiced, and even, in the far east, Shamanism and other pagan rituals. In this universe of men, faiths and territories, Imago Mundi has collected works by 150 contemporary artists who have accepted the challenge of the small 10x12 cm format.

Tatyana Krol - Summer Garden (diptych) (2010)


“My passion for Kandinsky and, through Italian Futurism, for the Russian avant-garde of the early twentieth century – says Luciano Benetton, the creator of Imago Mundi - led me to seek out what is around today, after Socialist Realism and so-called “official art”, in the panorama of the artistic experience of countries destined to become increasingly significant within the new global map.” In this context, the collection brings together works by Russian artists and contributions from artists in the Ukraine and Moldavia.

Zhanna Rybak - Premonition (2011)

Anastasia Sukhareva - 100W (2011)

“I got to meet most of the artists in person – explains the curator Vasily Startsev - although it was a daunting task, it was also joyful and captivating in the extreme. A painter myself, I drew upon their inspiration and energy, savoring every minute spent in the company of these people and in the presence of their creations. No less impressive were their studios: high-ceilinged rooms full of first-rate paintings and stuffed with unimaginable wares – from phantasmagoric antique furniture to Soviet sculptural monuments, from canvases to old masters to homemade absinthe…… But that’s a separate story worthy of its own catalogue.”

Daria Usova - Untitled (quadriptych) (2010)

Sergey Katran - Yellow Fractal. Orange Fractal (diptych) (2010)

Oleg Tyrkin - Fighter Jet (2010)

“One of the goals we set for this exhibition –Starcev continues - is to showcase the free, creative side of each participant “here and now”, and through their work share with you their views of the world, career paths, emotions, experience, talents, souls and countries.”

Daniel Mayer - Structure (2011)

Yevgeniy Stasenko - Whea (2010)

Konstantin Malakhov - In the Plyers (2010)

“The collection – discloses Akejsadr Borovsky, director of the department of new trends at the State Russian Museum - was assembled on a friendly rather than formal professional basis. The relationships between Vasily Startsev and his friends – art historians, gallery owners and artists – have made it possible to gather together an amazing number of Russian contemporary artworks. At the same time, the personal approach has in some respects countered the ideological one.”

Oleg Khvostov - Untitled (2010)

Andrey Mitenev - But my Land, my Native Land Breathes an Immortal Sadness (2010)

Aleksandra Lunyakova - In the Shadow of the Alley (2010)

Denis Korotayev - Kinetic Bal (2010)


Starcev himself recalls how this modus operandi enabled an outcome that reflects the depth of the relationship between the curator and the artists. “Established masters and young artists alike – he says -showed great interest and enthusiasm when asked to participate. Gallery owners and curators proved unexpectedly receptive. The entire process picked up speed rapidly as canvases were being passed along and news of the project spread by word of mouth. Artistic types from all over the country would besiege my studio, arguing, throwing ideas around and meeting old friends. We were making things happen – and couldn’t wait to see the results. The results were not long in coming, and when our first submission arrived I felt overjoyed. It only got better as more entries came in. The variety of techniques and ideas alone spelled magic, and soon it became clear that despite their deceptively small dimensions our paintings had creative potency to spare.”

Marina Ragozina - Flight (2010)

Masha Iv - Untitled (2010)

Kolesnikov/Denisov - Untitled (2010)


In a general appraisal of the work of the 150 artists, Benetton once again references Kandinsky. “The panorama offered by these works proposes visions that are sometimes oneiric and sometimes realistic, colors that can be vivid or tenuous, themes that can be abstract or concrete, and at times provocative. We find a great variety of techniques and materials, but the works all have one thing in common: the small format, which has not at all penalized the result. Indeed, they all possess the same powerfully expressive impact as a large-scale artwork. These paintings represent a cross-section of a multifaceted world of art moving towards modernity, which reminds me of a statement made by Kandinsky himself: Art goes beyond the limits within which time would like to constrict it, and indicates the contents of the future”.


Vasily Florensky - Whisky and Soda (diptych) (2010)

http://imagomundiart.com/collections/russia-ukraine-moldova-armenia-and-uzbekistan-looking-eastward

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