A trip to France inspired Ms. Marina Fedorova to create a new series wherein her immediate impressions of the journey were combined with photorealistic experiments and an unexpected turn to fictional imagery. The project also sees the first appearance of the open space imagery which will soon completely capture the Artist’s attention (see Cosmodreams series of 2019).
In The Munich Pinakothek, a flying saucer is seen suspended in mid-air against the backdrop of an ordinary European town. It is modeled on the Futuro house designed by the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1965–1967. Originally conceived as portable chalets for ski resorts, the design happened to be in full tune with the futuristic mood of the 1960s and 1970s, leading to over 100 such structures being built in Europe. Many of these ‘flying saucers’ already vanished, others were left deserted, and some ended up in museum collections (one of them was recently acquired by the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich).
In the painting by Ms. Fedorova, the Futuro is stripped of its steel pipe supports, literally soaring in the air. For the first time, the Artist centers her work on a clearly imaginary subject. The atmosphere of the painting is imbued with a sense of the unreal. The Artist plays with overlapping images, creating a painted collage. The same theme is further developed in Beetles, which shows a Volkswagen Beetle – the symbol of the free-spirited hippie culture – flying in the air and a girl in a reddress walking along the sidewalk, alluding to the imaginary world of children’s dreams.
In Villa (2018), the woman is looking at a surreal landscape seemingly stood on its side: the image of the house with a swimming pool is rotated 90 degrees. Apart from cinematic references (to Christopher Nolan’s films), it is also an homage to the works of the British pop artist David Hockney. The foregrounding of photographic optics is elevated to the status of a signature technique in this series: just like the American photorealists (Ralph Goings, Robert Bechtle, and others), Ms. Fedorova avoids subjectivity, quoting photographs in her paintings and inviting the viewers to ponder on the mechanisms of perception.
Several canvases (Season, Villa (2017)) are self-portraits, in which the Artist depicts herself with her back to the viewer amid modern interiors. Surrounded by greenery, she is shown in a state of serene contemplation. Summer landscapes featuring female characters (Self-Portrait, Lilies of the Valley) radiate the same peaceful mood. Trees, flowers, the river and the dense foliage create a feeling of harmony and calm. The motif of the road, later to be developed in the next project East of the Sun (2018), also appears here for the first time. The Road once again transports the viewer into a world of visual illusions: a sun-dappled highway is reflected in the sky as if in a mirror. This is the time for new soul-searching and new creative experiments that laid the groundwork for the next stage of Ms. Fedorova’s artistic journey. Waiting ahead are images of natural grandeur and space travel.
Anastasia Karlova, Ph.D.
Curator of the Department of Contemporary Art, State Russian Museum,