Events

Events

 

"Bestiary" – from shape to image

The Bestiary-2008 Moscow Animalist Exhibition has got underway in the Darwin Museum. Freakish beasts are in the spotlight.  Artists lead us to the epoch of the Middle Age.

At this epoch special books called bestiaries were created to describe the beasts of the medieval tales and fantasies.
 
This year, 67 artists participated in the exhibition. Works of the most outstanding animalists of the modern times – Alexey Tsvetkov and Alexander Belashov - take the central stage in the exhibition.
 
Alexey Tsvetkov is called "the master of the wood", as he keeps this material live in his works. That is why his beasties look so alive and very Russian, thanks to the artist’s Russian background: Alexey grown up and absorbed the spirit of a Russian village.
 
Alexander Belashov’s bestiary is a meditative and idyllic world, where animals feel quiet and in harmony. "Beguschiye Drofy" (Running Bustards), "Teterev" (Blackcocks), "Snegiri. Zima" (Bullfinches. Winter)… The artist says his paintings are Gobelin-like and have relief. Without emphasizing the lines, he turns shapes into inwrought figures. 
 
Today, animalists use diverse techniques – wood, painting, graphics, ceramics, glass, metal, stone and batik. Pyotr Khokhlovkin uses ceramics to make a series of portraits of bats, but he also works with bronze ("Khameleon"). Ramil Sherifzyanov chose bronze to make the In-Yan Octopus.
 
Olga Karelitz’s Dragon embodied a symbolic image in the plastic of coal-clay.   
 
Works by Vladimir Chibisov are the guidebook for animalist characters of the modern times and the mastery of stone-cutting. "The June Beetle" is made of two materials – colored marble and bronze. Thanks to the artist’s good graces, a simple material such as limestone is dissolved in complicated images of a porcupine and an ant-bear. 
 
Today’s animalist art keeps traditional approaches in portraying. But, of course, aside from "anatomic" reproduction of the animals’ looks and habits, it displays non-classical handling of the genre, which is peculiar for the art of young artists. They want to say that freaking beasts are not necessarily the Centaurs, the Pegasus or the Firebird. One can find a freaky thing in a domestic cat or in an aquarium fish.    
 
The sculpture beasts of Yekaterina Yakovleva are not simple images; her bronze-made animals are the beasts of character ("The Dog") and even have human faces ("The Cat", "The Italian Greyhound").
Young artists often go into experimenting while creating their bestiaries. Step by step, the modernist style comes into the traditional animalist art. Yakovleva, in her work entitled "The Beefeater", easily combines "the bestiarity" with pop art, while another you sculptor Olga Khan mixes up animalism with styled avant-garde ("The Mosquitoes").
 
Using various shapes, techniques and styles, the artists of Bestiary-2008 bring us back to the epoch of paleolith, the origin of the animalist genre, when the art’s key image was the animal.  Today, it is also in the spotlight, although other style approaches are used now, for each of us may have his own bestiary, where lizards neighbor with angels and centaurs live side by side with hornbills.