Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center
25.04.2012 – 15.05.2012
In his new project the artist is exploring earth as a part of geometry in the modern perspective on urbanism and human nature. Human aggression turns earth into abstract geometry. "The project unites earthly, geological resources (metals, silver, gold) in the concept of a modern city, and glazing as a technique represents a view from above and distance", - states Anton Logov. Post-landscape works include only abstract elements as opposed to works of landscape painters and artist of previous epochs (Matisse, Rousseau, Turner, Bruegel). Installation on the terrace was created in cooperation with architect Maksym Stasko and uses non-functional elements of the space.
The article about the project by Borys Filonenko
No artist is a monad locked in oneself. Even classic authors relied on predecessors and even argued with them at times. All the more - a contemporary author, who has millennia culture on his shoulders. Every artist has his or her own list of favorites - Anton Logov's currently consists of five "positions". These are paintings from the middle of the XVI to early XX century that interested the author on different stages of his artistic biography. He found the existential and the social, coloring and space, detail and nature in them, and this way let himself argue with them quietly, despite their textbook authority. Finally, our artist managed to discover each classic's moment of abstraction seen differently...
Anton Logov is a young artist and Ya Gallery's regular author, works with landscape that is a problematic genre in modern art. Its non-traditional examples are now frequently presented and juxtaposed to contemporary painting, though the majority of them belongs to classic art, that can only be articulated as its forerunner. Despite the fact that contemporary art itself is going through a great crisis. No, from the outside everything looks decently, and the professional level of "performance" of traditional landscapes can sometimes be interpreted as imitations of "old times", which - and this is also symptomatic - becomes a subject of a loud discovery. But genre's "new breath" was already over, it seems, in the middle of the last century, and from then on it has been powered by prolonging simulacra that deal exclusively with art's commercial life. It is not that contemporary art generally despises landscape - it naturally fits its marvelous installations (remember, for example, Jennifer Bartlett's or Anselm Kiefer's works), not to mention photographic installations like Sophie Calle's. But its sovereign existence was put under a threat, and its solemn suicide was committed on the territory of hyperrealism. The greatest achievement of post-war landscape paining was Georg Baselitz's 1969 work "Forest", where the basics of the genre were literally turned upside down. Though the artist did this to all the objects that he got his hands on... The genre that once inspired romantics and expressionists today became degenerative - a genre-accompaniment, if not a genre-"pusher".
So a need arose - of a new reading of old accomplishments and exploring new "reality zones" that do not emerge on a empty place - they are performed by artists of the XXI century. However, unlike the old times, the cornerstone of this new reading/exploration is unambiguity that requires a separate comment. Thus, Anton Logov's works, though possess an abstractionist direction, are performed with some sort of a trick, a hint, a "blind spot" at the next corner. "Ozone Hole" - that's how the artist entitled one of his previous cycles, and do you know that 96 % of the Universe consists of them and the like and mysterious - and not familiar molecular "holes"?? As author claims himself, his canvases - are post-landscape, for the majority of these works were inspired by the surrounding reality, though cannot be its literal representation. They are, on one hand, "landscape states", and, on the other - imaginary reflections of emergence of the Universe, though performed in his personal, "Logov's", grim and restrained manner, and not in major intonation, characteristic of, say, Terrence Malick's works. Combining archaic with urbanism is, in reality, a profound and unhealthy manifestation of "Ukrainian and Kyiv situation" where wholeness is absent, but can unexpectedly be found in artwork. These are landscapes, as seen from the height of space - this is the simplest interpretation of "Helio" - yet only one of the possible. Presented works create an impression of an Apocalypse, given also the threatening ecological situation in the world, and as an answer to the question of what painting "after Chernobyl" might be like. Solely formal pursuits, through which "voices of existence" eventually broke, are important for the artist. The pursuits lead to a series of curious finds, some of them are worth of a separate commentary.
The first one is unconstrained and borderline "TV-show-ness", limited in elements of accounting. In other words, the majority of works from the new cycle create diptychs, triptychs, or even tetraptychs - irrevocable, but at times not very noticeable behind the outlines - this is the new format, artistically legitimized by the artist in series "Invasion" in 2010. Sometimes the works resemble a storyboard of some unseen film "from the lives of clouds", and sometimes simply caress the eye with color contrasts, as a rule, only in one part of the polyptych, which abolishes the suddenly emerging suspicion in self-sufficient decoration. At times one painting continues another, proves what has not been proved before, and at times - turns the perspective at 180 degrees. Having become close, paintings talk, argue, object to each other... Say, gray, navy and blue, though don't contradict one another, still are not harmonious additions. Such numb dialogues, as in video installations, create the body of expression in almost every Antov Logov's work.
The second find of the series is determined by demonstrative orderliness of texture, common in classical painting, and now - suspicious, if we aren't dealing with deliberate exaggeration. In order to "sharpen the method", author sticks a foreign texture of painted enamel in the corner of one of the works: black on black, as if deriving from a powerful primary source - and, thanks to this, a transition to a "new quality". This way, "vibration" of the canvas is achieved not with vulgar pastosity, but with subtle (noticeable not in every lighting) differentiation of various space zones, among which the one described - is another version of the "ozone hole", finally contrite and brought to a "common denominator".
In the series of large-scale canvases we observe an asymmetric hypostasis "Geo-Helio" - paradox and predictable at the same time. At a first glance, we see examples of sophisticated, and long tested late geometric abstraction, that transformed monad asceticism into a wholly decorative "maculation", inherent to, particularly, works of Ellsworth Kelly or Barnett Newman. However, in reality, figures in Logov's paintings are consequential of borderline generalization of reality's concrete zones and bringing them to the state of "lapidary extract", and not "escape" from it, as practiced by abstractionists. Urban motif is traced in several artist's series, especially highlighted in the "Great Construction", 2010, where photography ironically treated with paint is turned into painting.
"Geo-urbanism" is a landscape not only according to the title. As a genre, it has to follow the process of societal development, which is not always encouraging art. "The Earth turns into geometry", - bitterly states the author. However paradoxically, attempts to ignore this evolution (familiar motif of "ivory tower" - however, rather natural in literature than in painting) provide the same result. Only in one case abstraction is a means of escapism, in other - a tragic deprivation of "element of absence" - like in lapidary figures' outlines on Anton Logov's canvases. It is like Borges's "Don Quijote", rewritten by Pierre Menard.
INSTALLATION ON THE TERRACE
Installation on the terrace of Ya Gallery was created in cooperation with architect Maksym Stasko, is the third and essential part of Anton Logov's exhibition project.
This exit outside the boundaries of gallery space concludes the representation of non-traditional landscape forms and starts direct "natural" implementation of landscape itself, or "installation in space". Magic triangle is outlined with colored ropes, objects that have long lost their functional purpose (burnt poles, empty barn) and therefore stood around in the middle of the yard, as if "waiting for employment", provided now by the contemporary author - become bases for angles. And though the phrase seems sarcastic - but let's look at it from the outside, like we observe a just-created object, that unites firm materiality (concrete coordination of element was required for creating a space installation) and literally "aerial" abstraction. With its mannerism it animates surrounding material landscape - and creates a landscape, though ephemeral, yet own.