In the era of the digital revolution, the theme of corporeality has acquired particular relevance. The more time people spend online, the more preoccupied they are with their body: they go on diets, have plastic surgery, and fight aging. We are looking for new answers to an eternal question: how does the body influence perception of self in the world? Does the body dictate destiny, as Freud taught, or, on the contrary, is the primary element the “software”. Gridchinhall Gallery is presenting the work of five artists who belong to different generations and work in different formats. What connects them all is their interest in the theme of corporeality.
Adam and Eve (1994) is a monumental diptych, a duet by Oleg Maslov and Viktor Kuznetsov. Like other members of the Petersburg New Academy, they play in high style, trying to perceive features of a lost classical ideal in the unheroic bodies of their contemporaries. The diptych has been remarkably well preserved, which is unusual for art of the 1990s. It was kept for more than 20 years in Holland, returning to its homeland just recently. And just in time: today the phenomenon of the New Academy has attained the status of an undeniable achievement of Russian art, and every rare work that finds itself on the market is highly valued by collectors.
Tamara Zinovieva’s graphic “bodies” (2010s) are the result of spontaneous automatic drawing. Her education was in art history, but it is as if she forgets it while working, her hands randomly creating biological prototypes – colonies of stem cells from which bodies form. An enormous vital force is encapsulated in the “bubbles of earth”; they are a trigger for viewers’ imaginations.
For renowned sculptor Nina Zhilinskaya (1926-1995), the material membrane was a mold for spiritual essence. A student of Aleksandr Deyneka, her whole life was spent contending, in his absence, with the bodily certainty of her teacher’s images. Her art is much closer to a Russian icon than to the Soviet context of the 1960s to the 1980s in which she lived. Her sculptures have broken proportions, are in uncomfortable poses, and appear as if their skin has been flayed. Zhilinskaya thus conveys the dramatic essence of existence.
Artist Anya Zhelud’s ceramic pieces are complex life forms reduced to a molecule, bodies hidden in a stone. Her works look like ancient totemic sculptures, symbols of masculine and feminine. One wants to touch them – it is art for tactile sensations and experiences. The artist follows the Japanese tradition of taking pleasure in simplicity and valuing naturalness.
This exhibition in the Gridchinhall Gallery is intended for the modern individual. The works invite viewers to return from the virtual world into the real one, to perceive themselves here and now.