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Samuill Marshak
Personal exhibition

03 February — 12 March 2021

Samuill Marshak
Personal exhibition

VLADEY Space will open a personal exhibition of Samuill Marshak, the most enigmatic artist of St. Petersburg.

Samuill Marshak, an artist hiding under the name of the famous children's writer, has a psychological and artistic education. In 2011 he graduated by correspondence fr om the Institute of Psychology of the Russian State Pedagogical University named after A.I. Herzen and only then in 2017 - the painting department of the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Samuill Marshak's artistic method is to deconstruct the traditional academic painting that he studied, which does not deprive his works of coloristic subtlety and compositional thoughtfulness.

The exhibition is divided into two sets of works, or two stories, two incidents. The first presents the author's last series, titled "Garden2," while the second presents the flip side of the "exposition" that pays homage to modernity: the author's study, a staged history of his non-existent personality.

In the "Garden2" series, Samuel Marshak turns to Old Testament subjects reduced to basic elements-symbols. The hopelessness of finding "Paradise before... (mastering culture/language)" does not stop the author. The stubborn desire to find his own voice in a symbolic world, where everyone is doomed to speak with a voice that does not belong to him, turns out to be an intricate weave of features of modernity visible in a mixture of furrows and strokes. Here we see the formal changes to which Marshak's work is subjected: the surface of the canvas becomes loose, blatantly incomplete, keeping its mark like a scar. The process of creating the work approaches the act of writing. 

The extremely laconic, abbreviated titles of the works in the series ("vctm," "pld," "drvo") once again point to the gap between the word and the image, the break with reality in the very act of writing. The infinite variety of the visual collapses into a point - a compressed sign, a cultural archetype that reproduces the consciousness of the beholder.

Can we really experience this sense of antiquity and primordiality today? Or can we only stage it? The tree, the fruit, the skull, the sacrifice, the split of the world into two "landscape-human" plans... A meaningless persistence, an obsessive repetition of the alphabet, a child's counting? Can it, like a magic spell, revive in itself the memories of what was before...? Before we had already seen it all and "knew" it all. Any beginning leads to the discovery of a path to new beginnings. Still, there was a word in the beginning - or maybe a color? How do we describe the experience of green, yellow, blue? In the "garden" we see colors that are muted, delicate, as if flickering through the shroud of a dream or an image of memory. However, these are also colors that dwell in modernity: bright pink, acid yellow... Fundamentally not academic, not picturesque, profane - the colors of children's drawings with felt-tip pens. They tease and tease the seriousness of the theme, creating simultaneously self-ironic and truly sincere space wh ere the author, who has crossed himself with the signature "Samuel Marshak", plays hide-and-seek with us.

Lisa Tsikarishvili