Natasha Akhmerova Gallery
PROMENADENGASSE 19   CH-8001 ZURICH   +41 (44) 280 45 45


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ENG DE RUS


GAME ROOM
WORKS IN COLLECTION: 11
OTHER WORKS
WORKS IN COLLECTION: 11
Born in 1975 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland

1955 - 2000
Diploma from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France

1988 - 1993
Diploma from l’Ecole des Beaux Arts, B.V. Logansson in affiliation with l’Académie des Beaux Arts of Russia, Saint-Petersburg, Russia



Natasha Ivanova: The Saga of the Bandits and Angels

Let’s shut the door. In the bluish light of the cell, the bodies are blue, too. Seventeen men are waiting for you. Cramped, despite the huge format of the new triptych “Brothers” devised by Natacha Ivanova. A woman dominates them, imperious, blind and almost naked. They patiently wait in silence for something vague, between prayer and threat.
 
They each form a tableaux vivants, stranger than they are dire. Their tattoos are one-colored. This line made with a razor in Russian jails unites them in one and the same suddenly universal tone, in the same unisex family, prisoner of this underworld. Like the hordes of penitents awaiting the last judgment on a desolate crag in the old masters, artists who were still afraid of the wrath of God.
The portrait is one of Natacha Ivanova’s main themes: she is a painter fiercely in love with grand painting, the history of its pictorial techniques, and its iconographic codes, heir to the fine lessons of the Northern School. Over the years, this young native of St. Petersburg, has lost nothing of her wild imagination, or her hand, which is so confident, daring, and delicate. A marriage of opposites, as in children’s tales, which has already given birth to haunted, melancholic frescoes, filled with “Nurses” (2008) and young men in uniforms, undergoing the discipline of the parade ground “The Soldiers” (2007). Natacha Ivanova sets off on the warpath like a prisoner secretly fighting and expressing herself come what may against the order of things. The artist plunges body and soul into an imposed figure, which she chooses from among the hardest, interprets it very freely, and transfigures it with all its symbolist power.
“What interested me in the ‘Russian criminal tattoos’ listed in two volumes by Danzig Baldaev, is not the glorification of the criminal or the pictorial art lurking in tattoos. It’s the human figure. The body, which becomes language per se, fascinates me”. With her, no fascination with brute force, like David Cronenberg’s ultra-virile killers in Eastern Promises (2007). Gentleness, something languid, and abandonment like the sinner’s between crimes and punishments. A certain pride at existing in the face of, and in spite of, everything, metaphor of youth and freedom. A meaningful nostalgia caught by the direct confrontation between subject and painter. A sense of unfinishedness which gives these Brothers, on the face of it accursed, the ethereal character of angels, those beings akin to people, and yet alien to them.
“A very large format is always an event, a decision, the act which calls for the most courage from an artist. It’s like talking out loud”, says this painter from another time who feels she is “more of a monumental soul than a miniaturist”. She attended classes at the Hermitage School, then at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. This time she has doubled the wager of the large format by imposing upon herself the technique peculiar to icon painters, so as to give these prisoners an unreal flesh, bluish like El Greco’s in some cases, pink and fleshy like Rembrandts in others. Each prisoner was first drawn with very hard brown outlines, detailing each tattoo. Then covered with a dark greenish layer, “so that the flesh then comes out pinker, the way the Renaissance painters liked it”. Making referenced to sacred icons to emphasize the prisoners’ melancholy, depicting bandits the way saints were portrayed, in an entirely coded way, “this is a deliberate contradiction, the most radical way of getting away from stereotypes and anecdotal descriptions”, says the artist of worlds gone astray and stubborn visions, one of the rare brave ones who has not turned her back on the easel in favour of contemporary installations.
From her love for group portraits has come the idea for this triptych, where each body is in motion, where the uniformity of the austerity underscores the identity of each figure, where sensuality springs forth from the squeezed rigor of the whole. Cold, detached sensuality, as in the dream, the shift from one state to another, from life to eternity. In the second triptych, Transition, the superb draped back of the central motif has a slightly menacing beauty which calls to mind the femmes fatales of David Lynch’s films, where the hereafter is always somewhere at hand. The picture, a monumental one, is at once intimate and intimidating through its juxtaposition of different frames and tempos.
The picture is a kind of film still, of the most contemporary sort, but in the tradition of the great Dutch pictures of the guilds and their impeccable dignitaries standing at attention. The first image that struck the painter? A group of women. “Painting is my refuge, more than ever. In it, I can do anything. My prisoners talk about the things in me that are the most raw, the most direct, the most honest and the most cruel, too”. The Ancients would agree.

Valérie Duponchelle (Translated from the French by Simon Pleasance & Fronza Woods)


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2012
San Antonio Collects: Contemporary – Works from important local collections and the Linda Pace Foundation, March 24 – July 1, 2012, San Antonio Museum of Art, USA

2011    
The Saga Of Bandits And Agels, Cueto Project, New York, USA

2008    
The Dear Hunter, Cueto Project, New York, USA

2006    
Wonderland, Galerie Valérie Cueto, Paris, France

2005
Natacha Ivanova Paintings, Jerwood Foundation, London, UK
Museum Alfred Canel, Pont Audemer, France

2004    
Centré d’Art Claude Bessou, Saint Grégoire, France

2003    
Le Grenier à Sel: 11th annual Russian Film Festival, Honfleur, France

2002    
Stephen Walton Fine Art, London, UK
Queens Road Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland

2001    
Modern Gallery, London, UK
Queens Road Gallery, Aberdeen, UK

2000    
Galerie Philippe Frégnac, Paris, France Espace Laurence Graham, London, UK

1999    
Stephen Lacey Gallery, London, UK

1996
Rendez Vous Gallery, Aberdeen, UK



Selected Group Exhibitions

2011       
The Flowers of Evil Still Bloom, Art Museum Helsinki curated by Janne Gallen-Kallela-Siren and Valérie Cueto
Dallas Art Fair, Cueto Project, Dallas, U.S.A

2010       
Les Maitres Fous, Freies Museum, Berlin, Germany
Moscow dans la valise, Les Salaisons, Paris, France
Vuk Vidor and Friends, Galerie Poulsen, Copenhagen
A Midnight Summer Dream, David Colossi, Nicolas Darrot, Natacha Ivanova, Mark Licari, Marko Velk, Vuk Vidor, Cueto Project, New York, USA

2009       
Curator’s Choice, curated by Dr. Rolf Lauter, Swiss Art Institute, Karlsruhe, Germany

2008   
ART BRUSSELS 26th Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels, Belgique

2007
Zeitgeist, Cueto Project, New York, USA
Girls Insights, Galerie Defrost, Paris, France

2006   
Amour, Gloire et Beauté, Salon Jeune Création, Charenton-le-Pont, France

2005   
Salon Jeune Création, Paris, France

2004   
Salon Jeune Création, Paris, France
Paranoïa, Museum of Architecture Choussev, Moscow, Russia

2003   
Paranoïa, Galerie Iragui, Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, Paris, France

2001   
National Portraits Gallery, London, UK
Stephen Lacey Gallery, London, UKArt First Gallery, Summer Show, London, UK
 
1999 Visages et Expressions, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France
Salons des Indépendants, Paris, France
5th Salon International d’Arts Plastiques, Valognes, France


1996   
Biennale de la Villa Medicis, Saint Maur, France
Novembre à Vitry, Biennale de peinture de Vitry sur Seine, France





Selected public and private collections

Thomas Olbricht Collection
Swiss Art Institution
Michael D. Maloney Collection (Texas)
Gloria Thurn von Taxis (Germany)
Ralph Achincloss
Michel Jacquet
Emmanuel Pinto (London)
Bernard Fleury (Paris – Geneva)



Awards

2007    
1st Prize of Painting: Antoine Marrin, Paris, Frankreich

2006    
Grand Prize: 51ème Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge, Frankreich
1st Prize of Painting: Dumas-Miller, Academie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Frankreich

2003    
Grand Prize of Painting: Saint-Grégoire, Saint-Grégoire, Frankreich

2001    
BP Portrait Award, National Portraits Gallery, London, UK

1999
Grand Prix Spécial du Jury: Prix Paul Louis Weiller, Institut de France, Paris, Frankreich
1st Prize: André and Berthe Noufflard, Fondation de France, Paris, Frankreich

1998
1st Prize of Drawing: Pierre David Weill, Institut de France, Paris, Frankreich

1997
1st Prize: Concours Perrier-Jouët des Artistes Contemporains, Paris, Frankreich

1996    
1st Prize: Concours Reflets de Paris, organised by MBA and la Mairie de Paris, Frankreich



Awards
2007    
1st Prize of Painting: Antoine Marrin, Paris, France

2006    
Grand Prize: 51ème Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge, France
1st Prize of Painting: Dumas-Miller, Academie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

2003    
Grand Prize of Painting: Saint-Grégoire, Saint-Grégoire, France

2001    
BP Portrait Award, National Portraits Gallery, London, UK

1999
Grand Prize Special du Jury: Prix Paul Louis Weiller, Institut de France, Paris, France
1st Prize: André and Berthe Noufflard, Fondation de France, Paris, France

1998
1st Prize of Drawing: Pierre David Weill, Institut de France, Paris, France

1997
1st Prize: Concours Perrier-Jouët des Artistes Contemporains, Paris, France

1996    
1st Prize: Concours Reflets de Paris, organised by MBA and la Mairie de Paris, France