Yaroslav Gerzhedovich. Delightful Details
Erarta Museum presented an exhibition by the prominent St. Petersburg based artist Yaroslav Gerzhedovich whose artworks transport the viewer to the crossroads of the worlds
Paintings resembling ancient Greek puzzle boxes
A maze of exquisite details, each intrinsically valuable and animated
Beauty of decay amalgamated with Baroque splendour
Yaroslav Gerzhedovich’s creations are somewhat reminiscent of the sileni described in Plato’s Symposium – the Ancient Greek caskets shaped like hirsute creatures brandishing a reed pipe or a flute. Their grotesque appearance was intended to trick the strangers: the real value of a silenus could only be appreciated by those who knew how to open it. Inside these beastlike cases, the Greeks would keep golden figurines of gods. Perhaps the modern viewer not strange to digital art and the dark fantasy genre will not initially notice anything unusual about Gerzhedovich’s works. The trained eye of a person scrolling through Instagram on a daily basis will ‘swipe’ through them all in seconds. But as soon as you pose for a while in front of any one of them, the joy of recognition will give way to the genuine interest of encountering the unknown. Every detail rendered by the artist is intrinsically valuable and animated, be it the exquisite ornament on the rugged cuirass, the Gothic pentacle in a tangle of branches, or a tiny chapel nearly blending with the horizon. Scrutinising these intricate trivia, the viewer gets drawn into something like deciphering a secret code – the mysterious biography of things and their owners.
The exhibition at Erarta showcases two dozen works created by the artist over the past 15 years. Their shared hallmarks – lots of minute details and painterly precision, frequent depiction of landscapes featuring a distant horizon, and a small scale of works – reveal the elements of the artist’s signature style, informed by the oeuvre of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and other great masters of the Northern Renaissance. The beauty of decay, one of the key recurring motifs, takes on the form of ruins, cracks, torn fabrics, and ashes appearing alongside baroque splendour.
For all its material palpability of detail, Yaroslav Gerzhedovich’s art shuns artificial plots that would confine viewer experience within strict limits. The unities of time and place are equally nonexistent here. Yaroslav’s artworks spin tales of the crossroads of the worlds where exhausted knights converse with Gothic smugglers and lone wanderers meet deities in human shape. The whimsical box only waits to be opened. It is not hard to encounter amazing stories, at once impossible and uncompromisingly real, – all it takes is a look inside. Determination and attentiveness are the two things needed on this journey – the rest can be left to imagination.