REGINA Gallery is presenting an exhibition dedicated to Stas Volyazlovsky, an artist who worked in the style of ‘chanson-art’, a poet of national marginalia, a hero of our time…
REGINA was in collaboration with the artist since 2007 and during that time hosted two of his personal exhibitions in the gallery, published the ‘Chanson Art’ catalogue, on several occasions exhibited the works at international art fairs. The retrospective is composed of more than one hundred works which are representative of the artist’s most creative times between 2002 and 2016. By touching upon forbidden subjects with the help of black humour, Volyazlovsky invented whole stories: ‘lubok comics’ on bed sheets, pillow cases, mattresses, tablecloths, created ‘wall newspapers’, graphics, collages, installations, video works, wrote stories and poems. Volyazlovsky’s artwork is a ‘stream of consciousness’, without filters and squeamishness, a reflection of the world’s craziness, the cruelty and pettiness of human nature, the concentration of everything which gets poured on top of us via media channels - dismembered bodies, pornography, crime, politics, the yellow press. The horrors do not go away, even if we close our eyes. The artist chose a visual language where freedom, simplicity and frankness are possible: naive art, Russian ‘lubkis’ and art of the mentally disturbed.
Volyazlovsky’s authentic style corresponds to the style of the provincial town Kherson, where he lived all his life, and to the style of his entourage (artists and friends). It is all about sincerity, self-mockery, black humour, ludicrous funny cases and rumours. One can write a whole book about actual stories taken from the artist’s life, funny and sad at the same time. A lot of things from everyday life, layered on top of horrors from the ‘big world’, transcended to his works in a grotesque manner.
‘Chanson-art’, which was invented by Stas Volyazlovsky, was for him a way of communicating with with the people, with their hard lives, their fears, their beliefs, their relationship with religion, their thoughts and stories. It’s no accident that the main character of Volyazlovsky’s bestiary is the phallus. It is at the same time an ancient symbol and a frequent provocative image.
Every work that is on display at the exhibition is an open mockery, with fear and disgust. It is a mix of prison romanticism with perversion, of drawings in public toilets with personal diaries, of contemporary folklore with madness. Stas lived for his ideas, never gave up, never compromised, boldly went his own way, without a trace of falsehood.
And now he’s dead.