Solo exhibition of Vladimir Potapov (Russia)
Tengri Umai Gallery (within ARTBAT FEST 7, Almaty)
03 – 23 Sep
"Vladimir Potapov is a Moscow-based curator and artist working in the genre of contemporary painting, which he uses to speculate about the past and its perception, as well as to expand the concept of painting in the present. His visual language are well staged fragments of almost abstract forms that fall into a sole and recognizable composition, where he explores portraits of people, situations and time. With his work Vladimir achieves sensory and often nostalgic reactions from the audience, who feel it as a barely noticeable dream from the past, which reveals at once the reality and the present.
Tengri Umai Gallery hosts Inside series, the first personal exhibition by Vladimir Potapov in Kazakhstan; the painting of his art works is not only limited to the canon laws such as form, color and composition; moreover it penetrates the sphere of sculpture created with two approaches: plastering over or chopping off. The Inside series was started with the second approach, when the artist saw the depth of flaking paint at an old playground; later he applied this technique to his paintings as he carved a picture out off layers of old paint. He continued the series with inversion of this process, as the layers were plastered over a clean wooden base.
The artist comments on the work process as follows: ‘It can be compared to playing hide-and-seek or roulette or to an attempt to passing through a mine field. All these associations are connected with one key feature – unpredictability. For me it is equal to a mistake, loss of control and even a chaos. It is literally an equation in several variables, such as color of the layer, its thickness and uniformity on the surface, as well as accidental fragments of advertisements and posters. Classical approach assumes that painting is fully under control of the artist and can even be considered his self-portrait; on the contrary in my case there is unpredictability, as it is impossible to figure anything out in advance, you have to correlate each new layer to the previous ones. For me it is like playing chess with coincidence, like an attempt to win over chaos, limit it with borders and give it some contours. It was a revelation to me when I discovered that I loved just letting it go, I wanted to keep on playing.
Another art piece from the work collection by Vladimir Potapov is his Yurt, an 8 meter picture of Kazakh yurt in the steppe, painted on a facade of an apartment building in Aksai-4 district, Almaty. In comparison to the other works it is different in the painting technique, but in fact it is acting on the layers of the past and its connection to the present. "
Vladislav Sludskiy, curator (New-York).