Evgeniya Buravlyova and Yegor Plotnikov. Landscape with a Stranger
Erarta Museum presented a joint exhibition by Evgeniya Buravlyova and Yegor Plotnikov whose artworks explore the human sense of belonging in the world
Evgeniya Buravlyova and Yegor Plotnikov are age-mates and marriage partners who graduated from the class of the legendary Pavel Nikonov at the Surikov Art Institute. The expressionist approach inherited from Nikonov was not the only thing shared by his former students: the class went on to form a kind of an artistic fraternity, frequently exhibiting together, at Erarta among other places.
In her creative evolution, Evgeniya Buravlyova gradually abandoned expressionism. Her dynamic cityscapes gave way to expansive and broody landscapes. ‘If I had to come up with a term for this syndrome, I’d call it the ‘longing for the horizontal,’ reflects the artist. ‘In every big city you feel the crushing pressure of vertical arrangements, both in architecture and in human relations. Every time I visited by parents in Vyatka was like returning to zero settings and restoring the horizontal balance.’
In line with the romanticist tradition, the artist associates herself with nature: every landscape becomes a self-portrait, employing silent misty fields or idyllic blue skies to reflect various melancholy states. Some paintings feature a stranger — the contemporary observer who, instead of relishing the calm, just snaps what he sees with his smartphone camera.
Yegor Plotnikov offers us an entirely different approach to space, deliberately choosing the most mundane locations, something we see several times a day. Picturing the ordinary, the artist ruminates on the value of everyday existence which, after all, is what our life boils down to.
Plotnikov’s painting style is deliberately simple and corresponds to the unassuming nature of his subject matter: in the diffused light so common in these latitudes we see the low horizon of the central Russian plains with their characteristic chrome green vegetation. According to the artist, his interest lies in the points of tension — the ‘fringe zones between human life and nature, the borderline turned into wasteland which is likely to become overgrown someday.’ The places captured by the artist are rather bland: modern people spoiled with constant data streams will soon find them boring, and a regular dirt road curve might trigger a bout of frustration.
A special bond shared by the two artists is their perception of nature which might be described by a quote from Friedrich Schiller: ‘Nature is for us nothing other than voluntary existence; this kind of pleasure in regard to nature is not aesthetical, but rather moral.’ The artists’ preference for the traditional oil on canvas medium, along with their desire to attribute spirit and consciousness to their environment links them to the classicist tradition. At the same time, feeling at home with postmodernism, they are clearly on their way to creating a brand new movement, yet unnamed, but already captured by the duo in one of its principal trends — renunciation of delusional individualism.