Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presents an exhibition by Andrey Shatilov whose works present social issues and nostalgic themes in a surreal and fairytale-like way
- True to life, highly resonant images which often go viral on the Internet
- Signature technique incorporating newspaper and magazine scraps into traditional oil on canvas paintings to accentuate their meaning
- An artist who plays the drums and whose love of music transpires in his pictures
Back in his teenage years, Andrey Shatilov was enthusiastic not only about drawing, but also about playing the drums in the bands he formed with his friends – a talent perhaps not fully appreciated by his fellow residents of a typical five-storey housing block. The artist recalls that his passion for art and music helped him contrive an ideal private world of his own. This is still reflected in his artworks: no matter how serious their subject matter, these paintings always contain an element of surrealism and fairy tale.
At the same time, one has every reason to call Shatilov’s art true to life: its immediacy always resonates with the viewers. His pictures have long since been popular on the Internet. Many will surely recognise the Moscow Prayer painting featured in the exhibition: here, the underground map becomes a halo encircling the head of a weary commuter.
The concept is of paramount importance to the artist – if not abandoned after several weeks in gestation, it turns into a plot which, having accrued countless details, finds its way onto the canvas. Shatilov frequently addresses social issues, building upon the legacy of the Peredvizhniki group and their strong humanistic message. These 19th-century painters objectively portrayed contemporaneous reality and injustices they were witnessing. Andrey Shatilov’s art continues in a somewhat similar vein.
Andrey Shatilov claims to have invented a signature technique that he calls App.Art (short for appliqué art), whereby he scans through newspaper and magazine articles and tears out fragments of text intended to accentuate the visual message. He then proceeds to paste these scraps onto the traditional oil on canvas paintings, just like in Off We Go! (We Are Taking You with Us). Here we see kids preceded by an anonymous leader taking a broken statue of Yuri Gagarin to be repaired. The paper collage in the background contains slogans that emphasise the meaning of the picture. The children have to make adult decisions against the backdrop of the ‘grownups’ engaged in a snow fight or the Sisyphean feat of rolling a gigantic snowball.
Another painting, The Beat-less, sees the artist re-imagine the legendary band amid a distinctly Russian setting reminiscent of his childhood years. After all, his own infatuation with music began with hearing A Hard Day’s Night on record.
The subject of grownup kids and their clash with the present-day reality is a recurring theme for the artist whose narratives are always extremely detailed and fraught with meaning. The exhibition showcases only a fraction of Andrey Shatilov’s works. This highly sought-after artist continues creating new paintings while still occasionally playing the drums.
Andrey Shatilov was born in 1987 in Akhtubinsk, Astrakhan Oblast. In 2006, he graduated from the Pavel Vlasov Astrakhan Art College, and in 2012, from the School of Graphic Design of the Volgograd State Teachers University. The artist was among the winners of the 2023 Erarta Prize.