Life in a Fairytale. Anniversary exhibition of paintings and etching of Mikhail Gavrichkov
18 October 2013 — 25 November 2013
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Exhibition is dedicated to 50-year anniversary of Daint Petersburg artist Mikhail Gavrichkov and includes paintings and etching. Together they create an authentic and complete artistic world touched up with subtle irony


As a child Mikhail Gavrichkov was captivated by ironic genius of Ernst Theodor Hoffmann. Hoffmann was a cheerful man in love with art and life’s simple pleasures. Thus, he regarded his surroundings with certain sadness and even fastidiousness and much preferred it altered by irony.

Childhood fascination with enigmatic images of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” developed into passion for mysticism and late Romanticism. His diploma work at The Arts Academy was dedicated to Hoffmann’s oeuvre.

In vague and infernal year of 1990 an edition of Hoffmann’s gothic novels illustrated by Gavrichkov was published. Gavrichkov turned out to be an attentive reader and therefore a sensitive and perceptive illustrator. He returned to Hoffmann’s works over and over again throughout his artistic career observing the picturesque reality of 1990s in Russia and working on grotesque ex-libris.

Exhibition includes the artist’s etched illustrations of Hoffmann’s fairy tales and his cutting-edge novel “The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr” which were made for “Vita Nova” publishing house in 2005—2009. The graphics section of the exposition is ruled by sad irony: lonely artists with inflamed consciousness and aggravated sense of beauty are caught in gloomy street labyrinths among ugly and frightening faces of their contemporaries.

Mikhail Gavrichkov learnt Hoffmann’s lessons well and fully experienced the powerful impact of irony. His paintings are dominated by carnival atmosphere and the characters, despite being our contemporaries, are as phantasmagorical as monstrous creatures from the novel. Painfully reacting to the surplus of aggression, the artist creates a cosmic epos about the adventures of boxers who swapped boxing ring to criminal gang activities. Gavrichkov refers to the key imagery and aesthetics of the 90s although his paintings are not socially satirical. Appealing to the household scenes taken from life of the new masters of Russia, the artists accepts them as a part of reality and tries to make sense of the inner workings of their minds. A solitary hero racing through midnight woods on his Land Rover captivates the artist not less than Hoffmann’s Kreisler. Curiosity of Gavrichkov is excited by marginality. He fearlessly peeks behind the curtain of a red wigwam, namely rusty garages in a murky neighbourhood, and discovers with pleasure a bearded woman, a dwarf and a tattooed giant.

Pavel Markaitis


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