01.03.2019 – 01.04.2019 Hamidrasha Gallery, Tel Aviv, Curator: Avi Lubin /
The works were created during the teaching residency at the Texas University, Austin, Spring 2017, and continued for the next two years at the studio in Israel.
Participants: Anna Lukashevsky / Natalia Zourabova / Olga Kundina
When the New Barbizon group was established in the summer of 2010, we declared: “In our works we return to reality, which for many years did not receive attention in contemporary art and now calls for a new interpretation.” The ideology of the New Barbizon group is leaving the studio and “painting from observation,” in the spirit of the tradition of painting “en plein air” that characterized the Barbizon school in France in the late 19th century.
When we arrived to Texas we were surprised that our preconceptions and stereotypes, those of children that had grown up in the USSR during the Cold War, are actually not so far from the American reality we saw. As usual we started to depict the immediate visual experience to paper – on the one hand, the huge scale of the country and its powerful nature, and on the other hand “the direct and wild capitalism”, “the city of the golden devil”, “the human jungle”, “disingenuous smiles and total alienation” (soviet propaganda expressions and images that our minds will probably keep forever).
As Jean Baudrillard put it in his “America”: “It is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene, poverty and waste, technological futility and aimless violence, and yet I cannot help but feel it has about it something of the dawning of the universe.”
Even while trying to be as straight and pure in perception as we are when painting from observation, in America, one can’t avoid the traps of simulacra. The reality in itself is postmodern and its’ inhabitants are drawing upon preexisting imagery, in order to portray themselves. Our works try to cope with that.
Walking through the exhibition a viewer experiences a kind of deja vu – not only do the images repeat themselves, one also meets corresponding pictures from different painters (works that were made from the same point on plein air, together or separately). Our aim as a group is to emphasize the collective experience on the expense of individualistic cult in contemporary art, which is a logical result of a consumerist approach to it. In this case we went further and gave up any labels on the wall. The viewer is forced “to really look” instead of “knowing”, when he’s having all the context in mind before the first glance on the work itself. The nuances of the differing painting styles allow the deeper discussion about painting and not just the content.
The exhibition is crowded with works of all kind of medias and scales, even after a selection. This is typical for the group: usually a lot of works is made and showed, in contrast of mainstream curatorial decisions – presenting very few works in a large white cube space. Finally, the sculptures from found-in-a-garbage materials and big generalized textile collages add to the whole experience and make it a total installation.
Press about the exhibition (in hebrew):