You will realize that St. Petersburg is not gray, but rather colorful
You will find out what “lyrical expressionism” is
You will see something familiar in Andrei Semenov’s touching characters
The artist invites the viewer to immerse into the phantasmagoric atmosphere of his hometown, walk along it streets and courtyards, and experience the unsophisticated poetics of the late Soviet epoch.
Human memories are usually vague and blurred, but Leningrad of Andrei Semenov is filled with bright tones and lively details.
The works are painted in active colors, with strong brush strokes and exaggerated plastic. Contrasting colors create a special expressionist vibe.
Semenov’s characters resemble caricatures, not cruel and tragic, but nostalgic and lyrical.
His simple heroes — homeless people, overgrown scandalmongers in “Versailles” fur hats, and men in a bathhouse — look quite comfortable on the canvas. They are happy with small things — a shot of vodka, a mug of beer, a cheap cigarette, the latest news and a boat trip along the channels.
The author does not “scourges” his heroes for their mundane, sometimes pathetic joy. He kindly smiles and understands their human weaknesses.
A common subject in Andrei Semenov’s paintings is city dwellers and dense impersonal crowd. The salient features of each personality are made just with a few strokes. Sometimes there is Rembrandt van Rijn in the St. Petersburg crowd... Sometimes a sophisticated viewer will see there a symbolic flying fish. However, the characters are percept not as mystical revelations, but as fairy tales, folklore, and mixture of fantasy and reality.
Born in Leningrad and living in St. Petersburg, the artist could not help soaking up the beauty of his hometown. Streets, firewalls and courtyards of the Northern capital became protagonists of Semenov’s works. The representation of urban landscapes is broad and diverse. The color spots turn austere architecture into a mild, as if molded, picturesque mass.
Besides Leningrad the exhibition features landscapes of charming villages, lovely gardens and even the outer cosmic space.
Having brilliant academic education, Andrei Semenov uses techniques of expressionist and naive art, conveying his “national Leningrad identity”, personal nostalgia, admiration and love for life, which are worth seeing. The exhibition “Back in Leningrad” will run at Erarta Museum until 16 January.