Still lives in the spirit of Arcimboldo
Solo exhibition of sculptures by Alexander Lavrov
The exhibition of the Nizhny Novgorod artist Alexander Lavrov presents wooden sculptures from the cycle of the same name, ironically illustrating the aphorism of the ancient healer Hippocrates: "You are what you eat." The gallery space houses a self-portrait, as well as compositions of sculptural objects connected by a common plot.

The artist once again turned to the heritage of the masters of the past, perhaps choosing one of the most "modern" masters. The work of the 16th century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo became the source of inspiration for the Nizhny Novgorod author. Mainly, his legacy includes specific anthropomorphic compositions of objects, fruits and flowers. His most famous work is "Portrait of Emperor Rudolf II in the Image of Vertumnus".

Arcimboldo's work is attributed to the mannerism style, which is mentioned as a consequence of the crisis of the ideas of the Renaissance, when the authors deviated somewhat from antique models and ideas of humanism, turned to mystical interpretations of plots, complicated compositions, numerous decorative details, distorted proportions of figures, and other features of "decline ". Archimboldo went further from the harmonies of the Renaissance man than other Mannerists. He completely removed his body from the canvas, leaving the illusion of a person, personifying him through symbolic elements. It is difficult to say exactly where he got this technique, most often they talk about the influence of the aesthetics of the Kunstkamera and the genre of allegories. Archimboldo's works were highly valued by his contemporaries, but his style did not stand out in school or direction, the author was forgotten for many years. In the 1930s, the Italian painter was rediscovered to the world community and enthusiastically proclaimed by the circle of surrealists the forerunner of the trend.

Alexander Lavrov, playing with the classics, moves away from the designation of the symbolism of each element of the illusion, choosing purely products as elements, highlighting the dehumanizing technique itself. In the interpretation of the Nizhny Novgorod author, the plot of the Italian master from an allegory developed into a series of surrealist metaphors related to food and eating, such as the processes of mastering, exchange and perception of meanings and values. Thus, the reliefs depict people in jackets, whose heads are filled with food, and between them there are sculptures of cheeses, pieces of meat and fruits, deliberately picturesque and voluminous, as if descended from Dutch still lifes. It is characteristic that the figures of people are little painted, like wooden shutters that have dried up. After all, they are not active heroes here, but bowls full of symbolic products that fill their existence. These compositions serve as a metaphor for enjoying life, which is inexhaustible in its pleasures. In a self-portrait made of bread, this motif is ironically played up, referring to a folk proverb.


Alexander Lavrov (born in 1962). A well-known Nizhny Novgorod artist working in a wide range of techniques from painting and graphics to objects and media. Participant of many collective and personal exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Nominee for the Kandinsky Prize 2009 and 2010 Participant of Manifesto 10. Selected author's projects: "18th century" (1996), "Bunnies and Elvis" (2006), "Televisions" (2008), "Handkerchiefs" (2011), "Gas" (2010), "Soft Russian porn "(2012)," Souvenirs "(2014)," Cabinet of Ivan Kulibin "(2014)" New Adventures of Dunno (2015), "Leninlevitation" (2017).


Photos by GEO.PRO
Photos by magazine Sobaka. Nizhny Novgorod
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