Cosmos and Transcendence
Takashi Murakami is best known for his contemporary combination of fine art and pop culture. In his lithograph And Then x6 Red; And Then x6 Blue; And Then x6 Yellow (2013) his stark imagery references extraterrestrial-like figures, playing with the reflective qualities of the smooth wove paper. Nikolay Koshelev, who was trained as a monumental painter, is one of the leading voices of painting working in Russia today. The transfer from monumental scale to canvas resulted in a unique painterly language. His work Indika/sativa (2017) brings together bold black brushstrokes with elements reminiscent of a night sky. Designed in 2016 for the legendary The Observatory project which took place at a remote observatory in the Republic of Karachay–Cherkessia, the elusive Yekaterinburg street artist Timofey Radya elevates monumental neon into the night sky, reminding us that the stars will always be brighter than us (the auction features 2016 photo They Are Brighter Than Us). In 1992 the International Astronomical Union convened in Rome, Italy, and officially abolished over fifty constellations which they deemed to be no longer valid. This list of the “victims” of unification and standardization forms the basis of Alexandra Paperno’s project represented at the auction with four watercolours (2017) meticulously recreating the maps of the former constellations. The sale will also feature Nicholas the Wonderworker icon, a particularly elegant example of a late 19th century Russian icon. Its gilded background gives a further depth thanks to the light reflected back at the viewer.
The series Waiting for movement (2011) by Mikhail Tolmachev is based on classified gun camera footage which was made available by Wikileaks in 2010, depicting the indiscriminate killing of over a dozen people in Iraq by US-American soldiers. The quadratic, blown-up, blackand-white images are visual fragments of those areas on a military screen, where the soldiers, waiting for movement, identified potential weapons in public space. Untitled photo-triptych (2017) and At Dawn Our Dreams Become Brighter video (2017) by Evgeny Granilshchikov are presented at the auction as one lot. Evgeny transforms his iPhone footage into a film-collage, where video-poetry, documentary and fiction are absorbed and mixed together, creating multilayer associations connected with personal and national histories. In her work titled Endeavour (2010) Taus Makhacheva questions the role of the artist in society. Pushing an immovable boulder to reveal the sunshine hiding behind it proves to be an impossible, herculean task. As the most prominent Lithuanian artist of his generation, Augustas Serapinas’s practice is often aimed at restructuring socially engaged spaces. In the case of his Untitled work (2018) he safeguards local shed structures which are in a state of disuse and neglect due to a mass emigration that Lithuania has experienced since joining the European Union in 2004. The Soviet Empire style was not long-lived. Already by the later 1950s, with the beginning of the “era of industrial construction”, the style became not just unfashionable, but was in fact criticised for “excessive ornamentalism.” Bronze lamp from the 1930s offered for sale is a rare example of this significant approach to design.
By using original seventeenth-century formulae for creating mirror surfaces, Alexandra Sukhareva creates uncontrolled patterns on prepared glass surfaces. One of such works titled Pseudomorphosis (2018) is offered for sale. In his Untitled triptych (2017) Evgeny Antufiev visualizes three different types of light: the natural light shining through his living room window in Moscow; the artificial light radiating onto a football field and the glow of light reflecting off a block of marble in the Moscow subway. The seamless mutation from one physical state into another is a recurrent theme in the artist’s oeuvre, who is opening a large solo exhibition in Palermo coinciding with Manifesta this summer. Yelena Popova creates elaborate paintings, paying special attention to artistic materials. Hand-drawn without using a stencil the Parametric paintings series is based on mathematically accurate compositions (for sale is one Untitled work from 2018). Through sculpture, painting and neon, Levan Mindiashvili focuses on the transitional, “liquid” state of today’s social forms and deals with the fragility of current paradigms and value systems. The auction features his Untitled work from 2017. The American minimalist Dan Flavin is widely recognised as the godfather of light works. In the rare case of Guggenheim Tondo: two works (1994) he made use of circular colourful shapes in the form of two double-sided mezzotints in two colours on handmade paper to convey his interest of dialoguing with the surrounding space.
Mariano Vivanco is one of today’s leading fashion photographers who has been experimenting with portraits, nudes, and flowers all of his life. This delicate diptych, featuring a flower and a model wearing a traditional Russian headdress (Lonely Brain, London, 2015; Russian Hat I, 2011) is a prime example of the intimate and direct style that made him one of the most sought after photographers of his time. Close people (2016) is a monumental installation by Natalia Zintsova consisting of forty-four dismantled elevator panels and a mirror. Human traces, from scratches in the mirror to scribbles on the wooden panels, become testament of the charged social encounter that happens in our daily life. Olga Chernysheva is known as a sensitive and perceptive observer of the daily life in Russia. In Moskva River (2018) the empty landscape prompts a wave of melancholy, evoked by the feeling of pale summer light. Siberia is at the heart of the art produced by Alexey Martins, who grew up in the city of Krasnoyarsk. In the case of the Polar Explorers series (2018), Martins plays with the uniformity of sky and snow, as they blend into one white landscape, in which only small settlements of explorers are recognisable as such. Monumental photographic triptych by the performance artist Andrey Kuzkin (Filled With Illnesses, printed in 2018; Stuck Upside Down № 27, printed in 2018; Tree Growing From a Man, printed in 2018) brings together the documentation of three of his most significant performative works to date. In all three performances the artist’s body takes the central stage as it raises questions about the boundaries between life and arts as well as the human body and nature. Denis Patrakeev’s oeuvre lies in the synthesis of art and science. His monochrome square Passage of the World – 3 (2017) is ruptured by violent horizontal cracks. Through this gesture Patrakeev searches for a new type of mythology: one that brings his art into symbiosis with the elemental forms of nature.