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The best artists have arrived at Expoforum from every corner of Russia

Last Friday, 14 February, the flashy and flamboyant opening ceremony of the ‘Ponaehali!’ international graphic art fair was held at the Expoforum convention and exhibition centre.

The organisers took an ironic and astonishingly creative approach to the opening: guests were met with real Perm lads asking, “What’s this rubbish?”, Georgians with wine and street traders with posikunchik pastries in newspaper.

The exhibition brought together more than 460 artists from 18 countries and 56 Russian cities, who displayed their best art pieces to be judged by visitors. On display were a wide variation of styles, beginning with familiar classical paintings and sculptures and ending with performances and installations. This is a wonderfully positive event uniting talented creators!

Guests were met with a unique alley of paintings called ‘200 Views of Nevsky’, installed in the run up to the opening, on 6 February, in a special outside area. The result was an original portrait of Nevsky Prospekt, reflected in a single, shared creative impulse: 200 views of the city’s main artery, 200 interpretations of the familiar avenue.

But the fair really does have a lot to see, and every piece will have an audience. ‘Red Corridor’ came to Expoforum from Belarus. Its concept is at once simple and, in its own way, complex. The artists have taken their so-called “artist’s case” outside the country. Its contents are, in fact, “very important” and if it is left unsupervised, it will cause suspicion – that’s Belorussian conceptualism for you.

In 1998, Sergei Pogosyan graduated from Terlamezyan Yerevan State College of Arts and began his artistic journey. According to the artist himself, his works have no particular direction. “My style is entirely personal, it’s difficult to give it a name, it has been developed over time. I am always surprised when art experts try to divide artists into categories and styles,” the painter explained.

An exhibit under the general title ‘Ukrainian File No. 1’ was the central exhibition. It contains the works of Ukrainian artists from the personal collections of the famous Russian collector and gallerist Marat Gelman.

Larisa Radevich, the painter and graphic artist, has brought her paintings to St. Petersburg for the first time. She paints her whole conscious life and, though this may seem unusual now, is the chairwoman of a classical school of realism. Her works are so naturalistic that it is practically impossible to tell them apart from photographs.

There are innumerable unique works and styles at the exhibition. For example, the technique for artificially aging cards, called ‘stressing’.

Yury Latukhin from Arkhangelsk makes his art using the ‘maslomakros’ technique, which was first developed eight years ago. This technique involves working with oil paints and a painting knife and large amounts of paint.

The ‘Flood’ exhibition is a joint project by Andrei Makarevich and expressionist artist Sasha Galitsky in the ‘free’ genre. All the works in it were made accompanied by music, jokes and philosophical conversations. Makarevich’s second project, ‘Five o’kot’, is a painting of a tea set, made in cooperation with the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

St. Petersburg artist, Philip Kozak, presented at the event the most vibrant works from his gallery, which must be mentioned as part of modern artistic life. “Of course we are not part of the classical school. My style, for example, is my own language, sometimes even with decorative elements,” the artist stated.

Gennady Alekhnovich primarily paints floral images and beautiful women. The former are reminiscent of France, where the artist lived for several years, while the latter reflect inner beauty, tenderness and attractiveness. All the artist’s works are made with soft tones. “I still want and plan to start working with red or black tones and monochrome, but for the time being I’m still drawn to soft colour scales,” the artist stated.

All works are available for purchase. Prices range from 1,000 to 1,000,000 roubles per lot.

You can visit the ‘Ponaehali!’ art salon up to and including the 23 February in pavilion G of the Expoforum convention and exhibition centre.

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New dates will be announced later
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