Thursday, 10 January 2013

Saatchi Gallery: New Art From Russia

I really enjoyed this exhibition as did not know about many artists from Russia but since going to the Saatchi Gallery over Christmas I discovered artists such as Sergei Vasiliev, Gosha Ostretsov and Vikenti Nilin. There work was very interesting and shows the view what the Soviet Union was like and what the consequence has had on Russia. The Saatchi Gallery split the Gallery into two sections which was the first 10 Galleries was devoted to general Russian art which i am going to mention now and the second one was called 'Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960s-1980s'. The first section of the Gallery is post soviet union where as the second part of the Gallery is art in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991 and Russia was created.
When Entering Gallery 1, you see large photographs on all the walls, spaced out. On the photographs are men with tattoos all over their body. What i first thought was that the artist had used these men as canvases but in actual fact what i learnt was that the men themselves had used themselves as canvas's. Sergei Vasiliev is the artist and he worked as a prison warden. The men in these pictures are prisoners who decided to tattoo themselves with hidden messages against the Soviet regime and they also put what they had done to get into the prison. A fellow worker of Vasilev, Danzig Baldaev, catalogued the tattoos which has allowed for the iconography of the images to be understood more.

In Gallery 3 you come across a concrete stable like building with a chain across every door and when you get closer to the doors of each section you notice that there isn't going to be a pretty pony inside. This work is called Criminal Governement, 2008, and could be seen as a look into the soviet prisons at the time. However Gosha Ostretsov became obsessed by with costume-art and comic-strips. He led him to create latex masks and his work revolves around this. This artwork to him his like a fantasy comic-book world and instead of the civilians getting punished its the government officials which are!

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