Regina Gallery is pleased to present a solo show by Russian artist Victor Alimpiev. The exhibition juxtaposes Alimpiev's practice as a multifaceted artist ' painter, choreographer, filmmaker ' exploring the artist's poetic visual language and his interest in interhuman relationships.
The title 'Several' is taken from the series of paintings but it also refers to the characters in Alimpiev videos, who share the awkward intimacy of a uniform group caught within a communal ritual.
Alimpiev's video works are reminiscent of twentieth century avant-garde theatre with its expressive gestures and diluted language. Thoroughly choreographed but lacking any obvious narrative plot the characters oscillate between a state of fragile human and graceful alien, uncomfortable individual and intimate collective. It is the exploration of this liminal space, within which the distinction between single and collective entity is blurred and becomes meaningless, that forms the nucleus of Alimpiev's work.
In 'Weak Rot Front' (2010) Alimpiev portrays the tension and energy released from human interaction, both corporeal and spiritual. Alimpiev's collectivism is not one which suppresses individual freedom and expression, but empowers the group through the intensity of the performers. The sculptural vigour adopted by the men and women on the screen is potent. Yet the graceful gestures are void of menace or aggression, in a sense 'weak' as the title suggests, but not powerless. They convey an emotive 'sense belonging and brotherhood' which devolves to the viewer but never quite encompasses him.
Alimpiev's dramaturgy is as much about manoeuvring his performers as it is about staging the space, which they inhabit. Like ballet dancers the figures move around, not to tell a story but to explore the physical and social space within which they seem confined. The muted skin-tone colours of the clothes and the abstract spatial environment reinforce the idea of the group as an example of a united and non- hierarchical society. But through the mystification of emotions and gestures and an incomprehensible non-narrative, it becomes clear that the viewer occupies a different space, outside of the collective.
Alimpiev's fascination with poetic compositions, lyrical repetitiveness and the abstraction of gestures transcends his film practice and is omnipresent in his acrylic paintings. Evocative, on a purely visual basis, of certain American Abstract Expressionists such as Rothko, Alimpiev's paintings are created with a calculated precision, meticulously applying layer after layer of paint in order to obtain the desired effect of a shimmering surface thus creating an imaginary spatial depth. Sometimes the organic forms and lines, which break the monotonous surface of the canvas, evoke shadowy images of human silhouettes before disintegrating into an intangible field of colour, creating the paradoxical illusion of motion and inertia.
Yet, Alimpiev is interested less in the concept of distinction, which he says is inherent in the nature of painting, than in the uniformity created through the rhythmic recurrence, the repetition, of shapes.
The viewer is required to take a closer look not in order to spot the difference but to realise the overall homogeny. Like the characters in his videos, who fuse into a single mouldable mass, the individual painting, the distinct form becomes part of a whole.
Victor Alimpiev was born in Moscow in 1973 where he works and lives. His work has enjoyed both national and international recognition with solo shows at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum for Actuele Kunst in Gent and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His work has also been included in several group exhibitions such as 'Modernikon' at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, 'Etats de l'Artifice' at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and '21 RUSSIA' at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev, Ukraine. In 2009 Tate Modern acquired Victor Alimpiev's video 'Sweet Nightingale' and in 2007 the Centre Pompidou included the video 'My Breath' in its collection.