Natasha Akhmerova and the Barbarian Art Gallery are pleased to announce the first solo show by Natacha Ivanova in Switzerland. Under the title GAME ROOM the artist exhibits the eponymous quadriptych together with a selection of other large-scale canvases painted between 2008 and 2012.
Natacha Ivanova’s work has a number of strength on different levels. Viewers immediately recognize her uncontestable mastery of color and composition. Further to this the observers acknowledge Ivanova’s thematic development, which is marked by multiple layers of references. Her symbolisms produce a powerful theatricality: Images of animals – as horses, swans, owls and dears – as well as sensual women heroines become the main characters in her pictures.
“I create bold experiments with female sensuality and sexuality, in many respects, my works conveys secret confessions and stories about my life, which is partly why I lend my characters my own qualities and features”.
In Game Room - a neo Soviet painting populated by swans, Nazi snipers, a nurse, an athlete and other referential images - the artist portraits herself in the center of the painting as a sculptural Easter European swimmer holding in her hands a large Nevaliachka, this lead-bottomed Russian doll that rolls right back up when she’s knocked down.
The women portrayed by Natacha generally reveal the contradiction of female nature. They are beautiful and sensual, strong and dangerous, calm and headstrong. Their cold beauty recalls the reversibility of the heroines of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. This relation to modern and contemporary cinema is unveiled also by Natacha’s asymmetrical manner of expression:
“I am free to abandon the classical rules of composition, I have developed an asymmetry inspired by the modern cinema, Andrey Tarkovsky, Alfred Hitchcock and Ingmar Bergman have all had a strong influcence”.
Natacha Ivanova frequently perpetuates a theme throughout a number of canvases. “A very large format is always an event, a decision, the act which calls for the most courage from an artist. It’s like talking out loud”.
More than 50 imitation nurses posed for the amazing Nurses triptych. You can recognize the artist, one of her gallerists, one of her collectors, etc. Each woman is a real portrait, captured live, a lengthy process combining analysis and light, painting and alchemy of encounter. Almost seventy women posed for many long hours in the studio in old Paris. Natasha decided to remove almost thirty of them, “to keep just the most alive, the most personal, and the most beautiful. […] Their [apparent] identity as nurses is more a symbol than a function, a reference to sacrifice and eroticism, to the gift and its mystery”.
As a true portraitist Ivanova restores to the painting medium its most ancient and noble functions. Her complex scenes combine mythological and modern references celebrating the womanhood with all its enigmas.
Natacha Ivanova (*1975 St. Petersburg, lives and works in Geneva) started her first art courses at the age of six at the Hermitage Accademy in St. Petersburg. Later she graduated from the School of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at the NK Gallery in Antwerp in 2013, at the Cueto Project in New York in 2011 and 2008, at the Galerie Valérie Cueto in Paris in 2006, as well as at the Jerwood Foundation in London in 2005.
She has had an impressive price-winning career in France, including the 2006 Académie des Beaux Arts Dumas-Miller Prize and the Special Grand Jury Prize of the Paul-Louis Weller Portrait Competition in 1999. Her works find space in prestigious private and public collections, as at the Thomas Olbricht Collection, The Swiss Art Institution in Mannheim, and the Michael D. Maloney Collection in Texas.
Alessandra Ruggieri De Micheli