Sergey Sekirin
Keys of Heaven

12 April 2024 — 14 July 2024
  • Sergey Sekirin. Keys of Heaven

Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presents an exhibition by Sergey Sekirin, an artist redefining traditional narratives

  • Modern-day issues viewed through the prism of the Bible stories

  • Signs, symbols, and allegories that the viewers are left on their own to interpret

  • Paintings that encourage us to place ourselves within the context of timeless New Testament subjects


The only way to access Sergey Sekirin’s creative world is by renouncing traditional iconography and ditching the keys to common allegoric ciphers. The viewers are left to navigate the symbolic space unfolding in his paintings on their own, guided solely by their personal experience.

As befits a painter, Sergey is reserved and avoids telling stories behind his pictures or explaining their details. Sometimes these details are meant to invoke a certain painterly effect, although more often than not they convey the artist’s unique, deeply personal vision of a certain traditional narrative. This approach is within everyone’s reach, as myths and scriptures are a gift to mankind allowing us to measure ourselves up to the world.

In his rendering of the New Testament story of the temptation of Christ in the desert which we invariably see through the eyes of Ivan Kramskoy who emphasised the humanity of the Saviour’s dual personhood, Sekirin presents the viewer with a mirror. His Temptation is a portal into the world of free associations and individual sensations – and introspection is hardly ever a pleasure cruise. This is evidenced by Sekirin’s other works projecting the feelings accompanying the states of loneliness, anxiety, and pain.

At the same time, Sekirin gives us hope, as if suggesting that light reaches to every imprisoned spirit and there is always a way out. A religious person would assume that Before Dawn not so much foreshadows the Holy Passion as promises eternal life, while a sceptic is likely to interpret it as a depiction of a man boldly accepting his fate.

In the programme work Keys of Heaven illustrating the crucifixion of Saint Peter being besieged by demons, we see a boat on the horizon. According to traditional iconography, anchor and boat indicate salvation and triumph over death, but Sergey Sekirin interprets them as an allegory of the deadly sin of dejection – refusal to embrace the inward struggle.

The artist offers no readily available answers or interpretations. The paintings featured in the exhibition are the result of many years of hard work in the studio: it is now the viewer’s turn to do a certain amount of work, too.

about the artist

Sergey Sekirin was born in Vladikavkaz on 24 June 1987. After attending the Vladikavkaz Art College from 2002 to 2007, in 2008 he entered the Ilya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in St. Petersburg. Since 2010, he had studied at the Mural Painting Workshop under the instruction of Sergey Repin. In 2012, Sekirin was awarded the Russian Academy of Arts’ Academic Excellence and Repin Prize medals. Having graduated from the Ilya Repin Institute in 2014, he joined the creative workshop for mural painting of the Russian Academy of Arts lead by Vera Mylnikova. Member of the Artists’ Union of St. Petersburg since 2017, in 2022 Sergey was granted a fellowship from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

The artist is a regular participant of municipal, regional, national and international exhibitions, competitions, plein-air events, and other creative initiatives. His works can be found in museum and private collections in Russia and abroad.

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