Lilac Ladies

September 19, 2018

Sergey Bondarev creates his works with complete disregard for the conventions of the academic art that he studied in its entirety throughout 13 years of schooling. Interconnected composition, deformed anatomical features, reinforced expressiveness of basic elements, that are typical of his works, remind of a dream or a hallucination and send back to neo impressionism and surrealism. Through his technique Bondarev reveals his profound feelings, gives freedom to the color that plays predominant role regardless of the subject of his work. In his new series, Sergey unconsciously embraces the lilac palette. 

Lilac, as well as all the shades of purple, are hard to find in nature, most commonly they are seen in flora. Our subconsciousness perceives them as something extravagant, pretentious, unnatural. They often provoke mixed emotions, from awe to strong rejection, but rarely leave indifferent. “Purple, lilac and mauve are the main colors of irony and self-irony. This color is best suited to portray the aim of my works – to provoke the broadest range of feelings and emotions: wake up, shake up, calm down and make absorb it like a sponge. With its strong inner power, lilac appears tender and soft, a perfect depiction of how opposites come together in harmony. Such balancing between high and low, masculine and feminine, ugly and beautiful, refined and vulgar is a recurrent theme of my works”.

Some might perceive Lilac Ladies as feminist. It seems possible to accurately put each work on a scale based on how radically it promotes socio-political equality. However, it’s a mere illusion. The main characters of Bondarev’s paintings, i.e. the ladies, are not real people, but rather belong to the artist’s universe.  

Sergey Bondarev’s first solo exhibition in Moscow showcases his paintings, hand embroidered textile panels and an artist’s video installation. Gregory Orekhov’s sculptures, carved specifically for the Lilac Ladies exhibition, further reinforce the idea of seeking balance. Gregory’s quartz obelisks appear to defy the laws of gravity and form an incredible pyramid which shows that balance is, after all, possible. The archetypal shape of an ovoid is likely to prompt many intellectual associations and diverse interpretations, from Christian allusions to philosophical ideas on substance and form.