Gafur Mendagaliev, St. Petersburg
Gafur Mendagaliev graduated from the Art School of Astrakhan in 1983 and continued his studies at the craftsmen studios of A.V. Kondratjev and A.P. Zaitsev. During his career, he has built an impressive record of solo and group shows worldwide.
St. Petersburg is an excellent example of Mendagaliev’s matured style; the dark colors (usually cool), the buildings that seem to fade into one another, the black outlines, and the defiant brushstrokes are all familiar characteristics of his work. Here we also see Mendagaliev’s tendency to depict significant location with a purposeful hint of melancholy.
St.Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and is known for its vibrant culture, brilliant architecture, and booming industry; yet, here we witness none of that. Instead, the great structures for which the city is known now loom over the viewer almost menacingly. Mendagaliev brings the tip of the tallest peer to the absolute edge of the painting to emphasize their enormity. They are also fenced in by buildings making them feel even more distant and unapproachable. Though the subject of this painting is man-made, it evokes a similar sensation as that experienced when looking at a painting of an expansive forest; it is the sublime realization of how insignificantly small you are in comparison to the world around you, and in this understanding you feel both terror and awe.