Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented an exhibition of cartoon art by Andrey Popov blending philosophical musings on the decisive turns of history with a tinge of goodhearted irony
Visual aphorisms free of unnecessary details
Reality observed by the artist through a microscope and a telescope at once
Pieces representative of their creator’s trademark genre of visual parable containing an element of absurd drollery
This is Andrey Popov’s second exhibition at Erarta: the first one took place in 2019. Many viewers will recognise these images – indeed, the artist’s cartoons are widely circulated on the Internet, typically anonymously. It is through such shows as this one that their authorship becomes known.
It would probably be unfair to classify Andrey Popov’s works as cartoons per se. The artist has staked out a genre of his own – a visual parable containing an element of absurd drollery or grotesque. He 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. Popov seems to observe the reality through a microscope and a telescope at once: scrutinising its minute details, he nevertheless manages to see and capture the entire picture.
Andrey Popov’s philosophic parables are universal. The artist never adds titles or captions, hence there are no labels: everyone will or will not read their own meanings into the pictures. Among the works on display is the artist’s self-portrait which will subsequently be added to the museum’s permanent collection and showcased in our portrait staircase. Although the exhibition at Erarta Museum features prints of Andrey Popov’s artworks, all originals are drawn or painted by hand in either pastel, watercolour, oil or acrylic.
The title of the exhibition could be interpreted as an allusion to the many sharp turns that the history of mankind has taken over the past few years: some of them are clearly reflected in the artworks. One of the most poignant pieces shows heart-shaped autumn leaves mercilessly blown by the cold wind and pierced through by the spires of a wrought iron fence. Dating back to the high point of the pandemic, it is still relevant today.
Andrey 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, and Samara (Russia), Warsaw, Legnica and Sławno (Poland), Kruishoutem (Belgium), and Haifa (Israel).