Katerina Borodavchenko & Maria Garkavenko. Every Garden Speaks of Love

23 December 2020 — 28 March 2021
  • Katerina Borodavchenko & Maria Garkavenko. Every Garden Speaks of Love

Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented a joint exhibition by the St. Petersburg based artists Katerina Borodavchenko & Maria Garkavenko – a painterly ode to gardens, earthly and heavenly

  • Celebration of the Crimean gardens and their exuberant beauty

  • Canvases resembling exotic butterflies

  • Convergence of two independent projects exploring the connection between man and nature


Several years back, the artists whose works are showcased in Every Garden Speaks of Love left St. Petersburg. Maria Garkavenko, who used to conjure up melancholic visions against a backdrop of snow and pitch black winter nights, has now whole-heartedly flung herself into the exuberant beauty of the Crimean gardens. The artist delightedly explores and pictures the southern flora, reflecting the seasonal changes in nature. The resulting images are biologically precise and fully recognisable – with the sole exception of roses always being devoid of thorns. The paintings demonstrate the same decorative approach, with the same springy outlines around intense colour spots, but now her works are full of bright light that has expelled the shadows.

Katerina Borodavchenko is working and raising her kids on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, where many weeping willows grow. The artist finds inspiration in ordered chaos – in the process of natural systems’ self-organisation. Borodavchenko began to explore this phenomenon by depicting huge snowflakes, and later became fascinated by trees and gardens. The artist examines bilateral symmetry found not only in the leaves of the trees, but also in many animals, including humans, with two halves of the whole appearing to be mirroring each other. Katerina applies this same principle to plants. One gets the feeling that her trees are sentient beings broodingly looking at their own reflections. Her canvases are like the wings of exotic butterflies exemplifying bilateral symmetry.

This exhibition is a convergence of two independent projects sharing a common theme. Inspired by the ‘safe’ beauty of the gardens, the artists created an ode to the visual delight inherent in nature. Human endeavours make the chaos recede and transform into the perfect order of a garden, fusing the natural world with the world of men. This profound connection between man and nature is reflected in Maria Garkavenko’s metaphoric title – Every Garden Speaks of Love.

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