Alexander Savko

SavkoHas had solo exhibitions in Moscow, Berlin (2002) and Vienna (2004). Participated in the Cetinje Biennale (1997) and “Dialogue,” an exhibition of Russian artists in Paris (1989).

Alexander Savko’s latest works contain a collision between the aesthetic of Western television shows and the concept of the “everyday heroism of Soviet man”, an idea used widely in ideological constructions during the Soviet era. According to this concept, every Soviet citizen accomplishes a daily feat of labor by fulfilling his quota or even just by going to work. While mass culture introduced Superman, a man with special abilities, Soviet paintings offer a counterpoint in the heroic, yet run-of-the-mill Everyman. The Soviet aesthetic fought against molds, but more often than not was unsuccessful. Even the highest-ranking nomenclature-pushers were subject to criticism in art for depicting people who were too similar to one another. America’s internationally exported mass culture, on the other hand, is built on the reproduction of molds. The absurdity in Savko’s art hinges on a character from a television series or comic book falling into an isolated and unrepeatable event from a historical painting. In these visions of the past, characters like Superman and Spiderman, who are fixed permanently in the present, create dissonance by their very presence. Savko’s paintings emphasize the contrast between two ideological spheres. He smoothes out the texture and deprives the space of depth. He did the same a few years ago with masterpieces of world painting, replacing Picasso’s visions and Socialist Realist workers with characters from The Simpsons. The past becomes a rich source of scenery for the eternally lasting present. Cartoons never grow old.
Valentin Dyakonov

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