Katya Florenskaya

florenskayaBorn in 1986. Graduated from the St. Petersburg State University (department of graphic design). Selected group shows: “Things: a corset” (Pro Arte, St. Petersburg, 2004), “Things: a typewriter (Pro Arte, St. Petersburg, 2006), “Kherson En Plein Air” (Mordvinov Estate, Kherson, 2007), “Voronezh En Plein Air” (Kh.L.A.M. Gallery, Voronezh, 2008). Solo show: “Information” (Borei Gallery, St. Petersburg, 2009).

The Spiritual Leaders: Biographies of the Founders of Several Remarkable Communities project

The subjects of the “Spiritual Leaders” paintings are people who founded their own movement or society and gathered a group of followers. This series features six people: Maria Devi Christos, the leader of The Great White Brotherhood; Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan; Wovoka, who founded the Ghost Dance movement among Native Americans; Alexander Nevzorov, who founded Nevzorov Haute Ecole; Herman Wirth, the founder of the Ahnenerbe; and Yukio Mishima, the founder of the Shield Society. Each of them set themselves and their followers spiritual and moral goals as part of an ideology that they presumably considered to be the sole truth. But the idea on which a group is founded — reli­gious, philosophical, scientific or patriotic — is relatively unimportant. What matters is the beauty of its fulfillment: the leader’s sense of destiny, the gathering of followers, writing a book, and the obliga­tory finale — either tragic or triumphant, or both. A spiritual leader of this sort is always a public fig­ure. Their life becomes a myth first and foremost, and not afterwards. For me, these kinds of biogra­phies are first of all a beautiful subject for my paintings. I try not to judge them morally, not to de­nounce them or debunk their myths. On the contrary, I describe these myths in my works.

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