The Game of Flowers introduces the audience to a series of works by young St. Petersburg artist Ksenia Sashina. The paintings combine the use of the author’s technique, which involves a combination of a two-dimensional pictorial image and three-dimensional objects, in the role of which are compositions composed of decorative flowers.
Characters that attract the artist’s attention are beautiful young people in everyday life situations. She seems to be peeping through the keyhole: a man impatiently tearing off his necktie’s neck movement, or a mischievous girl, conveniently sitting with a can of Coca-Cola in her hand. However, the heroes by no means avoid the artist’s impetuous look, and their ideally verified poses testify rather to their readiness to appear before an invisible “lens”. Having caught the mood of the depicted scene, Xenia puts it on the canvas, not striving for completeness and deliberate completeness of the work. The pictorial basis of her paintings resembles a sketch, in which, having revealed the main thing, the artist does not strive to work out minor details.
In the works, volumetric flowers come to the fore, “sprouting” in the place of the faces of the depicted characters. The compositions that the author uses in his work are created from natural silk and brought from China and Europe. Interest in this material is not accidental: a few years ago, Ksenia graduated from the department of artistic textiles at the Stieglitz Academy.
Initially, to painting, after a while she tried to combine the picturesque image with objects. The choice fell on the flowers. The artist explains the use of this image of her fascination with fragile and defenseless plants that strive to prick with sharp thorns; symbolizing tenderness, they attract with aggressive coloring, often indicative of poison hiding in elegant stalks. Lush, luxurious bouquets are made up of different colors, folding into a harmonious composition, and often replace the faces of the depicted characters. The contradictory nature of the visual image used by the artist points to the complexity and ambiguity of human nature. Hiding real faces behind armfuls of beautiful flowers, Sashina’s heroes seem to be hiding from the hostility of the surrounding world. Flowers turn into masks – glossy images of the Instagram era, having so little in common with reality.
Life inside society dictates a set of conditions to modern man, demanding from him a demonstration of success, beauty and invulnerability. Criticizing the established order, Xenia refers to images of animals that are not bound by similar conventions. Huge awkward elephants, with spontaneity, of which a person can only dream, play with lush armfuls, holding them with plastic trunks. Without the need for masks, they can afford luxury, which is often inaccessible to people, to trust the world outward without trusting to accept its retrospective gaze.
Contrasting the animal to man, the artist draws the attention of viewers to the exciting topic of dependence on the approval of society, the desire to receive which sometimes becomes an obsession and a source of internal dissatisfaction.
Reflecting on the problems of society, Xenia, in the first place, is experimenting with form. Following the current trend, it explores the boundaries of modern painting, which is in search of new paths of development. The exposition in the Erarta Museum was the first personal project of the artist, whose works are in numerous private collections. “The game of colors” is the result of several years of intense creative activity and concentrates in itself the range of ideas and artistic problems of interest to the author. Presenting the interim result of her experiments to the viewer, the artist continues to actively work on new works, exploring unusual techniques and new painting genres.