Contemporary Russian Underground Art: Kopeikin Meets London
The exhibition of a renowned Russian artist Nikolai Kopeikin is a rare opportunity for Londoners to encounter the art of contemporary Russian underground. Kopeikin is one of the founders of the “artistic sect” “KOLKHUi” (“The Magic Artists”) based in St. Petersburg. The artist has held ten personal exhibitions and participated in a number of international exhibitions. His works can be found in galleries and private collections in Russia, various European countries and Japan.
One would be rather wrong-footed in attempting to pin down what kind of artistic tradition Kopeikin follows. His visual vocabulary and artistic strategies are not directly borrowed from any single tradition, they rather follow a “straight-talking” and unambiguous principle: “I paint what I can” and not “I paint what you want me to paint”. Likewise, as the artist himself says, his works do not attempt to invoke the sense of justice, to change the social order or to fight social vices; rather, painting is his way of “having a good time” and good time it is indeed.
Kopeikin’s art is, as Alexander Borovsky puts it, an act of “visual killing of the sacred cows” accompanied by laughter and a certain degree of ruthlessness. He caricatures the heroes from the Russian folk and tales, plays on the themes of alcoholism and Russian supposed bear-like rudeness, lampoons marital relations. Neither Pushkin, nor Dostoevsky - the sacred cows of the Russian literature - are exempt from becoming the characters in Kopeikin’s carnival. His colours are bright and his humour is sharp.
Some of his most famous works will be exhibited at Pushkin House: “Bitva snegovikov I uglevikov” (“The Battle of Snowmen and Coalmen”), “U Vas Mozg Raka”, “Pribytie Inostrannogo Gostya” (“The Arrival of a Guest from Overseas”), “Zasidelsya” (“Sitting Late”), “Bombardirovshchiki”, (“Bombers”) and “Pushkin in London”.
The exhibition lasts till the 5th of July.
For more info: www.pushkinhouse.org/en/events/kopeikin-meets-london
Text by Daria PlatonovaShareThis