AboutCalvert22 is pleased to present Sea Stories, the first UK solo exhibition by Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev (b. 1957). Sea Stories will unveil a series of new and recent works by the artist. All but one piece in the show has never been exhibited before in the UK.
Drawing upon his background in nautical engineering and an early career as a submariner, Ponomarev uses journeys on the sea as a starting point to explore the relationship between illusion and âreality', the utility of art, and the shifting tides of personal and cultural history. The works in this exhibition issue from journeys undertaken by the artist to the North Pole, to the bottom of the ocean and while tracking the 60th latitude of the Atlantic onboard a scientific research ship. His work presents unbelievable stories from his voyages and takes the form of epic aquatic installations and performative engagement with remote seas and arctic terrain.
Sea Stories will mark the UK debut of the major installation Base (2003) which was originally created during a residency at the studio of sculptor Alexander Calder. In this work the artist uses the recurring metaphor of the submarine that carries across his practice. For Ponomarev, the submarine is employed as a symbol that links art to war while also signalling the issue of surface and hidden depths, and the fraught relationship between appearance and disappearance.
Sea Stories will feature a number of drawings, films and photographs documenting actions in far flung corners of the ocean. The film works to be shown in the exhibition will include Heliotropism (2009), created onboard a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic and Maya: A Lost Island (2000), recording a collaboration with the 5th fleet of the Russian Navy.
The exhibition will also unveil a new series of self-portraits by the artist. Deep Water Graphics (2010) was created in the arctic and subsequently distorted by subjection to water-pressure at a depth of up to 4km below sea-level.