Soviet Mandala

Frolov Gallery is delighted to highlight the “Soviet Mandala” project by Anatoly Gankevich. The exhibition opens on the 14th of February 2014 at the Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art (Red Hall) where the unified art space will be shaped by paintings, an object, video and audio installations of the artist.

The Tibetian word for “mandala” literally translates into “area that encloses a center”. The project of Anatoly Gankevich reflects the artist’s view on the Soviet past. It is the so-called “flashback” where nostalgia and irony are inseparable. The author is focusing on the values of a Soviet person, which are embodied in particular forms and symbols. There are vivid “carpets” and a Byzantine cross made of the cut-glass vases that used to decorate the cupboards and the wall cabinets in the flats of wealthy Soviet families. The objects are complemented with audio and video series that deepen the subject-matter space of the project. The exposition is constructed in such a way that every viewer inevitably becomes a member of the creative process: carrying out a kind of a “sacred procession”, a visitor creates his or her own “Soviet Mandala” world through the art meditation.

Ten basic paintings of the exposition represent carpet patterns which are not just oil painted on canvas but have a mosaic structure that reminds a viewer of a Byzantine-Christian tradition. From the early 1990s on, Anatoly Gankevich creates his paintings in his own mosaic-imitation technique. A complex combination of textures and messages of the artworks is a specific feature of the artist.

Anatoly Gankevich about the project: “Cut-glass ware and carpets, two Soviet gems, are used as a material for the creation of two essential elements of the Soviet world – the Center that carries a shape and a meaning, and the Mandala that surrounds it.”

Dmitry Smolev about the project: “By the 1970s of the last century the community sense of the Soviet people had practically been cemented not by the Communist rhetoric, but by those ’simple little pleasures of the middle class’ which were formerly so furiously fought against by the Bolshevik revolutionaries.”

Virtual tour of the “Soviet Mandala” exposition