RELEVANT ANTIQUITIES

Erarta Galleries of Contemporary Art, Saint-Petersburg. 2010

In the works of Vladimir Semenskiy, mythological subjects are combined to appear with new qualities.These appear when the artist states something that was known not to him alone but to everyone, and for a very long time. They re-appear – refreshed – when theartist shows us something we already knew and we begin to remember what was in Botticelli's Venus, Rembrandt’s Danae, and Serov’s Europe. Now we remember what happened to them, and it’s a strange sensation, a bit funny and scary at once, like contemplating a drunken woman; especially as, at the same time, it feels like floating on the surface ofthe waves and kneeling on the shore. There is a sense of disjointedness, as if the old lady had nothing more to say about beauty or love or pain; or how life has broken her. Through today's pictures, we become aware of the spirit of the old gods and how they continue to live and change. All of these ideas lead to along conversation, undertaken not to discover and prove something new, not to explain them in modern language, but rather to continue their profound reticence. This connection to those meanings lives only, it seems, thanks to art. I really liked the Minotaur, because of the highly instructive colors – Greek terra-cotta and blood-filled bull's eyes – in which he seems to see his reflection. In these works, there is uncharacteristic emotional depth for contemporary art, and a bitterly ironic tone that make their history especially lively.

Sasha Balashov
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