September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Victoria Lomasko at Santa Giulia Museum

2 min read

A full century after the founding of the Soviet Union, the title of dissident Russian artist Victoria Lomasko’s first solo exhibition in Italy—introduced as a part of Brescia’s Peace Pageant—feels significantly apt: It takes braveness to name oneself “The Final Soviet Artist” these days. Whereas artists of her father’s technology scorned Soviet realism, which for them embodied state propaganda, fortysomethings like Lomasko see this extra figurative visible vocabulary as a way of countering the rarefied abstraction of a lot Russian artwork as we speak, which presents little scope for voicing dissent.

Curator Elettra Stamboulis conceived the present as a journey divided up into thematic segments. Autobiographical allusions abound in Lomasko’s oneiric watercolor drawings, that are sharply outlined in black ink and introduced on panels. Motifs just like the snowdrop and the butterfly stand in for the artist, in addition to for each her personal and a later, seemingly carefree technology that’s nonetheless steeped in and dwarfed by the heroic imaginary of the Soviet previous. Within the monumental mural The Altering of Seasons (all works cited 2022), which Lomasko painted whereas in exile following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the artist portrays herself brush in hand, bearing witness to yet one more transformation for her nation—from the “snowdrop technology” to the warmongering and carnage which have give the impression of getting turned again the clock.

Few and much between within the watercolors, textual components determine prominently within the principally (if not solely) black-and-white graphic reportage drawings. These are sometimes accompanied by incisive vignettes, as within the case of the travelogue collection charting the societal adjustments going down within the multifaith and ethnically various former Soviet republics and different far-flung corners of the Russian empire. 5 Steps pairs every in a sequence of large-scale work with a poignant textual content written by the artist. Like 5 acts in a miniature drama or a morality play, they make palpable the lived expertise of “Isolation,” “Escape,” “Exile,” “Disgrace,” and “Humanity.”

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