23 NOVEMBER 2012 – 15 JANUARY 2013 OPENING: THURSDAY 22 NOVEMBER, 6-8 PM
Regina Gallery is pleased to present Everything is for Sale, a solo show by Alexey Kallima (b. 1969). The show includes a new series of large scale paintings and a site-specific installation created especially for the exhibition. It is the first solo show by the artist in the UK.
As one of Russia's most prolific and influential artists, Kallima's highly developed canvases and works on paper derive from a technique many centuries old, yet his descriptions of the people and situations around him are deeply rooted in contemporary experience. Everything is for Sale is his latest series, and typically concentrates on one aspect of life in his hometown of Moscow.
The works in the exhibition focus upon the phenomenon of kiosks, or 'Kioski', common to Eastern Europe and a particular feature of the Russian capital. In Kallima's apparently straightforward depictions, he faithfully reproduces the displays found in the most municipal areas of the city - outside train stations and lined in underground rows in the passages of subways and underpass walkways. Life-size stacks of cigarettes, drinks cartons, DVDs, cheap watches and brand-free clothing pile up to form ready-made compositions which recall the grid structures of minimal art, as well as containing a particularly familiar presence to those inhabitants for whom this sight is a daily occurrence.
Throughout Kallima's paintings and installations the perception and experience of the viewer is always the central focus. How does the viewer respond to these images and how does the viewer feel in the condition of viewing art? - these are questions that take centre stage. For Everything is for Sale the works have an internal dialogue, between the commercial nature of their display, versus the transformation of their subject matter into artworks, and the materiality of their very controlled, seemingly fluid and quickly-rendered execution.
Kallima's style is somewhere between comic-book illustration and the grand narrative history paintings of a much earlier age. In the past, because of his use of highly politicised subject-matter, he has occasionally been referred to as the Russian Goya. His works often include large figure groups, such as the crowd-scene 'Rain Theorem' (2009) in which lights and the sound of a crowd cheering were only switched on for a few moments when the spectator entered the installation, or the monumental series 'Chechen Women's Team of Parachute Jumping and Its Virtual Fans' (2008) which imagined the unlikely formation of a skydivers troupe in the Southern regions of Russia.
Kallima's friend, and fellow artist Valery Chtak, has written of the new series: "Artists usually tend to know more about their work than the audience: he knows some secret meaning, an even more interesting approach. In the recent series Kallima does just the opposite. What the author saw in the subject, is what we observe. Nothing is concealed; there is no mystery. Although... this is slightly imprecise. In fact, the work of the viewer is to look at the object, which is snatched from its usual place and to understand the 'ordinary-ness' of the ordinary: the ordinary concentration of paint; the ordinary concentration of signs. The author does not tell us to think about these things. He says "Look at them. Look at them at the exhibition, look at them on the streets, buy a tomato". This, of course, the author also remains silent about, but you later begin to want to stop and look at the shelves with their bottles of vodka after seeing their painted image exactly because of their painted-ness. No moralism, heroism or bravado."
Alexey Kallima was born in Grozny, Chechnya, and currently lives and works in Moscow. His work has been the subject of numerous solo shows including 'Chechen Women's Team of Parachute Jumping' at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York (2008) and 'Just a Minute' at The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2004). Recent group exhibitions include 'Contrepoint' at the Louvre in Paris (2010), 'Thaw' at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York (2008) and three editions of the Moscow Biennial (2005, 2007, 2011). Kallima has also represented Russia at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and 2009. In 2006 he was awarded the prize for the best visual art work in the 'Innovation' State Competition for Contemporary Arts in Moscow. 'Everything is for Sale' is showing concurrently with the artist's solo presentation 'Rain Theorem' at Regina Gallery, Moscow.
OPENING HOURS: TUESDAY-SATURDAY 10AM-6PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PRESS ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: TIBA@REGINAGALLERY.COM, +44 207 636 7768