City. A Group Exhibition
Erarta Museum presented an exhibition inviting the viewer to look at the contemporary city from refreshingly varied angles
More than 30 works by artists representing seven different regions of the country
Visualisation of the ‘game trails’ of the 21st-century urbanite
Visions of St. Petersburg and other cities – picture perfect and otherwise
Contemporary art explores the city from unpredictably different perspectives. By painting the city, the artists visualise something ingrained deep in our subconscious: the ‘game trails’ we take on our daily commute without realising what we see on the way, the aesthetic environment that surrounds us. The exhibition features more than 30 works from Erarta’s permanent collection by artists living in St. Petersburg, Tula, Perm, Kursk, Stavropol, Lipetsk, and Krasnodar. Showcased alongside each other, they reflect the museum’s aim to gain a better understanding of and insight into the daily life in different regions across the country.
The urban landscapes painted by contemporary artists highlight the differences in their worldviews. Anything goes here: an admiring regard for the past alongside indifference to the present, as well as childlike and spontaneous being in the moment. We see glass curtain walls expanding the boundaries of reality, encounter visions of St. Petersburg – picture perfect and otherwise, and face the transformation of the archetypal notion of home. We witness village houses and small and cosy shared courtyards give way to desolate grassless patches surrounded by greyish and moulted-looking nine-storey structures, often with a school building at the centre – the scenery observed through the window by the larger part of our population while growing up.
Joseph Brodsky said in his interview to Solomon Volkov: ‘. . . In Petersburg there is this enigma, and it truly does influence your soul, shapes it. A person who grew up there or at least spent his youth there, it’s hard to mix him up with other people, or so it seems to me.’ One can’t help wondering what the poet would think of the contemporary metropolitan environment, had he lived to see the modern-day rebuilding of Moscow or urban densification of St. Petersburg. Just to what extent this environment influences our consciousness and memory is an issue still little investigated by both scientists and artists. The City exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect on the role of the urban space in our individual lives.