Erarta Museum presented an exhibition by the St. Petersburg-based artist Andrey Popov whose cartoon drawings blend exquisite irony with philosophical musings on everyday life
Andrey Popov belongs to the new generation of satirists: it is hard to pinpoint his artworks as cartoons per se. It is rather more likely that he has created a genre of his own — that of a visual parable containing an element of amusing absurdity, or a gag. The artist believes that it is this absurdity that links his art to caricature, which in turn is not necessarily funny, but at times can be melodramatic or even tragic.
Andrey Popov received no formal artistic training, obtaining a degree in engineering instead. Probably this is the reason behind his unique ability to observe the reality through a microscope and a telescope alike: scrutinizing the minutest details, he nevertheless manages to see and capture the entire picture. This technique has in fact a long-standing tradition, but finds the most evident parallels in Chekhov’s canonical short stories with their brilliantly profound depiction of the whole spectrum of Russian life in any simple everyday scene. Andrey Popov’s philosophical parables have universal appeal and require no captions (this is, by the way, the reason why there are no labels at this show).
The exhibition features selected works from Andrey Popov’s various series striving towards the same noble goal — to make the world a better place. The exhibition title reflects the artist’s wish to distance himself from the tradition of the sharply grotesque, socially charged Soviet caricature. Apparently, he wants us to pause and take time for reflection, recalling with a smile Stephen Hawking’s words that ‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.’
Andrey Popov was born in 1970 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
Having graduated from the A.F. Mozhaysky Military Space Engineering Institute in 1992, he became a professional cartoonist in 1997. For a period of 10 years Andrey Popov was the contributing illustrator for Delovoy Peterburg newspaper and AST, Vita-Press, Vector, Eksmo, Alpina Publisher and other publishing houses. He is a member of the St. Petersburg Creative Union of Artists.
Over the past three years the artist has had numerous solo exhibitions in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Samara, Poltava (Ukraine), Warsaw, Legnica and Sławno (Poland), as well as in the European Cartoon Center (Belgium).