Ants never sleep / Vlad Kulkov

Vlad Kulkov

Ants never sleep

21 Sep - 03 Nov 2018

Anna Nova Gallery presents “Ants Never Sleep”, an individual exhibition by Vlad Kulkov. The visitors will see a new series of the artist’s pictures painted in his signature style of biomorphic abstraction. According to the artist’s will, being no stranger to psychedelic wandering and oneiric experiments, weird natural formations appear on his canvases along with chaotic and elemental phenomena, often breaking through into supertemporal metaphysical planes. “Ants Never Sleep” – this is the phrase that got imprinted into the artist’s mind from one of the first intros played on the Russian scientific and educational Discovery channel.

In Vlad Kulkov’s exhibition project, the figure of the ant obtains a new dimension. The audience sees him as some monade, corpuscle, a finest synthesis particle. Such artistic vision has been inspired by Vlad’s previous experience: his interest in Mathematics when he was a kid and his impressions from reading the grotesque novel “Borel’s Wonder” by Yuri Buyda. In his memory palace holding the impressions of the youth, the author discovered thought forms from that novel, which helped to overcome a certain milestone, to learn something elementary and yet important. It was the text of this novel that made the artist assume that every building is like a human skull, and that changing architectural styles is just a cosmetic treatment around its gaping eye pits. To see how this concept, cathartic for Vlad Kulkov, evolves in abstract painting, check his new project.

This is what the artist says about his work on the new project:

“The theory of sets, the topology, probabilities, and true love for microlevels of lives of creatures and immaterial matters merged into a single waterway mouth. Then, all the data and observations mutated and started to flow slowly as a jelly left to fade away in a hot place. However, the image of the real Emile Borel, mainly coming from math equations, gradually began to correspond to or, in other words, to correlate with the vague fictional Borel. The latter performed a graceful self-exclusion experiment or, on the contrary, cardinally outlined the ousia (Editor’s note – substance, essence). I felt supportive of this character rejecting the field of proposed opportunities. I believed his calmness and actions, confused and yet rather explicit, were perfect. I thought some drama of his internal monologue was a little bit too much, though.”

Vlad Kulkov (born in 1986 in Liepaja, Latvia) is a young St. Petersburg artist, whose works can be classified as abstract expressionism. He studied in the Saint Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy of A. L. Stieglitz, and in 2010 he joined the post-education program of the State Russian Museum. 

The artist conducts dynamic exhibition activities all over the world, his new project.and curates projects, too. Since 2006, in search of inspiration, Vlad Kulkov travelled a lot over Central and South America, and to the East, expecting to study some new creative methods. 

Painting is Kulkov’s primary artistic expression media – he paints both on canvas and on paper. His metaphysical clouds curling over the white canvas surface, along with all the demonic silhouettes, masques, and little people – all of it makes the audience think of images appealing to the Creation of the World. His three-meter high canvases take over the audience, twisting them in a whirl of fogs and spirals that look like snakes squirming over the canvas. The artist says that he has turned to abstractionism, being keenly interested in fragility and imminence of the world and wishing to discover more in the essence of the universe. Through substances and mutations he is approaching the vision and sights, both intent and fastidious.

Pavel Gerasimenko, an art critic, provided an extended description for Vlad Kulkov’s painting style, “His large-scale works are all based on the same painting method: with a broad brush he paints a never ending pattern, running and twisting. Kulkov has a fine sense of color, and even now we can call him as a distinguished colorist, which is not a common thing among contemporary emerging artists. Kulkov’s major canvases are more complicated than you initially feel. If you try to divide into layers the running never-ending and yet continuously freezing over matters, you will discover various energies, at least, three diverse temporalities, expressed with different painting methods and visual elements, integrated in his works into a whole.”

Vlad also makes sculptures, sometimes getting so involved into his work that he uses his own body as the sculpting material. For one exhibition, he cut off his hair and transformed it into a part of the sculpture.

Many times he was listed on various ratings of promising artists, in particular, on TOP-100 of Russia’s most promising young artists by The Art Newspaper Russia, as well as the Russian investment artistic rating 49ART, which includes outstanding contemporary artists under 50. His works are represented in collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the Hort Family Collection (New York, USA), and are owned by both Russian and foreign private collectors.