Musing on Movement. Exhibition by Alexei Ezhov
Erarta Museum is proud to present the fantastic world of the St. Petersburg artist Alexei Ezhov
Paintings inhabited by bizarre creatures
Thrilling game of surrealism
Mechanized elephants, rhinoceroses, fish and other inhabitants of Ezhov's “bestiary”
The works by Alexei Ezhov immerse the viewer into a fantasy world, resembling the illustrations to fairy tales from his childhood. At first glance, inhabited by freakish creatures, the depicted spaces can cause bewilderment. The stylistics of the works recalls the artistic language of surrealism. However, the use of this term in relation to Alexei Ezhov is problematic. The narrative nature of his works and inherent rich colours remind of the aesthetics of popular folk art. The abundance of allusions to the old masters, complexity of compositions and amazing “omnivory” allow him to combine the most unexpected images in one space and reveal his contemporary artist's world view: any liberties are allowed, any absurdity is appreciated. Mentioning of surrealism in connection with Ezhov's works seems superficial: the artist's strategy should be rather called a naive play in surrealism. However, the attempts to fit his works in a certain trend are doomed to fail: it means that we should try to plunge into the atmosphere of his paintings instead. Indeed, Alexei Ezhov is far from the talks about the relevance of art trends. He is not engaged in development of complicated intellectual concepts. He prefers pure formal searches to the problems of contemporary art.
The artist's paintings are reminiscent of a mysterious bestiary containing descriptions of strange creatures. Among them there are birds and insects, camels and rhinoceroses... In his unreal paintings the fish metamorphose into ships that are waiting to sail off to some distant islands. The repeated image of ark echoes the metaphor of bestiary, and like the Old Testament vessel preserves the author's fairytale creatures.
The inhabitants of this wonder world have frozen in melancholic contemplation of the surrounding towers and trees, impassively watching the elephants or rhinoceroses, which flesh is fusing with the details of mechanisms enabling them to move. The works by Ezhov are not lacking in specific humor. His characters are “mechanized”: the fish move by the wheels sprouting from their bodies; the same devices have boats carrying the arks of bizarre shapes. The fantastic animals coexist with people living around some strange constructions — hybrids of living organisms and mechanisms. Woven together, they seem to ingrow into the very space. The world represented by the artist freezes on the spot, musing and hoping for the viewer to come.