Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sergei Chepik retrospective.

Plios, 1985
I had an incredibly fun evening last night at an exhibition that I urge you to see.  Sergei Chepik is one of modern Russia's finest painters and, three years after his death, this retrospective is a wonderful way to see a large portion of his work in one place.  The show is free and the gallery space is gorgeous.

His inspirations are disparate; from his love for Paris (he became a French citizen for the last few decades of his life) to circus scenes, landscape and the way we see dreams.  His series on the Pont Neuf were perhaps my highlight of the show, twisted city scapes in vibrant colour, though I also found myself going back repeatedly to 'Plios' (right) as something in the the colours and tranquility of this early work hit a chord.

Often he would insert himself into his paintings, the way he depicts himself in scenes from the nightmarish to the everyday is fascinating. 

Self portrait with Petrushka, 1989
Some works left me conflicted, 'Dream of Kings' (below) was a perspective on our British Royal family that was at once sympathetic and deeply critical.  Whether it was raising the point that the weight of the crown must weigh doubly on the heads of the royals, or a comment on the excessive and dangerous nature of such power imbued in one family is left to the viewer.  
The Angel of Notre Dame, 2008

The exhibition, taking place from this evening at the Mall Galleries (   is being run by the Catto Gallery (, a rather fantastic gallery in Hampstead with whom we may soon be collaborating. It runs until the 13th of February, so if you find yourself in central London then do pop in and let us know your thoughts and favourites.

The show is curated in broadly chronological fashion, and it is wonderful to see the evolution of an artist that is so hard to categorise into any particular school.  

Fascinating evening, one aided no doubt by great company, champagne and canapes - though very naughty of me to drink on a 'school night'...

Let there be light, 1997

Dream of Kings, 2003

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