Wanderers. Solo Exhibition by Peter Konnikov
The Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to present a solo show by the famous St. Petersburg artist Peter Konnikov
One of the few Peter Konnikov’s solo shows
Combination of lyricism and monumental painting
Works with the title “Paintings of the Year”
Journey to the world of dreams and dense silence
Peter Konnikov is a self-consistent, introspective master, who has almost excluded himself from the bustle of bohemian life. He perceives painting not as a recipe for success, but as a self-sufficient activity that has both goals and meanings. It is not really a journey from one point to another, but a feeling and a process. And the artist protects this perception and his own poetics. He rarely and very selectively participates in exhibitions, as if he is afraid to ruin his internal settings.
Peter Konnikov’s main characters are wanderers and birds. However, his wanderers exist not in physical space and time, but in metaphorical ones, where “half-conscious” and “half-asleep” states are combined with existential anxiety and complicated searches for the original nature of reality and being.
This world of dreams and condensed silence, where the characters have frozen as flies in amber, expresses the eternal feelings of loneliness, anxiety, hope, expectation, sorrow and affection.
The structure of the show defines several topics. The main one gives the name to the whole exhibition. All of us are wanderers on the road of human life. We walk in the direction of some unknown horizon, where we’ll either meet the eternity or disintegrate into atoms. Maybe it’s not the movement of physical bodies, but the cautious somnambulistic movement of souls immersed in dreams and looking for the true reality. Dreams are also one of the indicative topics and tunes of the show.
Konnikov depicts souls either anthropomorphically or as half-birds. Mayakovsky once wrote: “… we are all, to some extent, horses.” Konnikov sees himself more as a bird. Bird is a metaphorical stage of human incorporeity when the soul goes to heaven. Birds are one of the principal subjects brought up by the artist.
Several images of Pierrot in the exhibition may seem a tribute to the cultural tradition, but according to the author's idea Pierrot is not a hero of commedia dell'arte. “This is a sad story of love, mutual understanding, and expectation of something beautiful, which in fact is unlikely to happen.” The features of Pierrot reveal the self-portrait of the artist.
Not often but quite regularly Konnikov addresses mythological and biblical subjects: Susanna, the Abduction of Europe, the flight into Egypt and others. These are not paraphrases of classical themes, but personal reading, generating new meanings and expressing them in the language of contemporary painting. There is a place both for irony and deep sincere emotions.
Despite the seemingly timeless state in Konnikov’s paintings, the time is present as a separate topic. It is finite and infinite, personal, and passing; it covers the metaphysical reality and the confusion of a man who is trying to find out what time is on his personal dial. The artist solves these inescapable and personal problems as the universal ones. He doesn’t try to entertain the viewer with pleasant decorative wittiness, or suppress him with aggressive perfection. He is not a noisy type of artist, but thoughtful, conveying his dream images through some kind of humble anxiety and endless nostalgia.
The works by Peter Konnikov harmoniously unite lyrical nature and monumental painting.
Three times, in 1995, 2004 and 2008, the artist was awarded the diploma of Best Painting of the Year of the Manege Exhibition Hall. The show at Erarta Museum features two of these works: “Christmas” and “Danae”.
Konnikov’s works are presented in numerous Russian and foreign collections, including the State Russian Museum and the Museum of St. Petersburg Art (20th–21st centuries).