Oleg Kostenko (born in 1978), Andrey Geraschenko (born in 1975), Dariya Bryukhanova (born in 1983)
"Eroticism and physicality" was chosen as a theme for their half-traditional and half- contemporary works. The theme was extended through the parallel of childhood and adolescence. Two of "KGB" works presented on this exhibition were previously exhibited at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art within the group exhibition "Stability" opened on September 1 in 2011.
"Tesserae", KGB, 2014
KGB art group consists of Oleg Kostenko, Andrey Gerashenko and Daria Bryukhanova, the muralists, graduated from The Saint Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy, named after A. von Stieglitz. Despite the absence of the social request for monumental propaganda, they've managed to open a thriving mosaic workshop that restores former luxury of apartment buildings and decorates new temples with the strict images of archangels.
The name of the group stands for the first letters of the artists' surnames. At the same time the KGB abbreviation points to the genetic affinity of mosaics and official aesthetics of the fallen into oblivion country. The "Tesserae" series started in 2010, after 14 years of practice, and debuted on September 1, at the "Stability" exhibition of young artists in Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art. "Stability" included works by the muralists seeking for application of their skills in the situation of ideological vacuum of the first decade of the 00's. The development of communication media virtually destroyed the idea of broadcasting ideas and values by placing art works in public spaces. While the leading art schools are still training specialists, capable to paint a firewall or to create a giant mosaic for a subway vestibule. Draw on the genre memory, KGB made a series of mosaics, allegorically depicting country's natural resources. Oil, gas and coal came out in a form of divine beauty of young girls, embodying future of the rapidly developed state. Then, such ironic statement of contemporary art was barely heard. The artists captivated the audience not with the original combination of glossy aesthetics of the past and present, but with consummate craftsmanship and skills. This was what they decided to focus on in order to return with the complete project three years later.
Tessera is a Latin word for a mosaic module. A cube of marble or colored glass is a prototype of a square pixel, the underlain of the moribund raster graphics. The artists work in a difficult technique of Roman mosaics, laying the cubes of smalt on top of winding pattern lines. The works amaze with their elegant combinations of materials and colors. These shiny and iridescent mosaics make you forget that they are made in ancient technique; and the idyllic subjects make them look like the fragments of some unknown civilization. Perhaps somewhere on other planet such panels adorn the toy shops and summer camp swimming pools. While working on the project, the artists were watching their own children play and thinking of their own childhood happy moments. These emotions and memories are set forever between the mosaic glass and the stone. A smalt cube just like a pixel performs one of the fundamental functions of art: storage and transmission of information in a graceful and immortal form. After all it is thanks to the mosaics of the overwhelmed by dust and ashes Pompeii, we have an idea of how Alexander the Great looked like, and that the Romans used sharp-eared dogs as their home guards.
The lyrical "Tesserae" series by KGB is an artistic presentation of the memories and feelings familiar to everyone. Either misty recollection or clear remembrance: winter dreams, lazy awakenings, a potty-chair, a favorite toy, a passion to dress up and copying the adults. Following the etymology of the word "mosaic", the artists dedicated their time-consuming works to the muses, having depicted them as girls, playing in the sea of flowers. Oleg Kostenko, Andrey Gerashenko and Daria Bryukhanova focused on the subject that really inspires them, offering the viewers to make a retrospective journey into their own childhood, idealized by their memory.