In Brief Encounters, Ms. Marina Fedorova saw Paris through the prism of that special and unique charm that has been permeating the image of this city for many decades. During her first trip to France in the summer of 2006, she was able to catch a glimpse of that very Paris that was well known to her from her favourite movies, fashion magazines, music, and posters. It is filled with a delicate aroma of perfume, imbued with open flirtation, inimitable charm, elegant understatement, the art of hint and mysterious looks.
Ms. Fedorova uses only black and white palette for her male characters, whereas the heroines are always accentuated with red. These three colours – black, white, and red – have become the Artist’s calling card, as she has been using their combination over many years. Red dress, red handbag, red lipstick and red nail polish – these recognizable elements of the alluring female image have been constantly migrating from one painting to another.
Throughout this period, Ms. Fedorova has been fascinated by the world of fashion, serving as an intern and working for two famous Russian fashion houses as a fashion illustrator and designer. Her paintings in acrylic resemble drawings on canvas, and text snippets drawn in shorthand (as in Do You Have Any Matches?) serve as important compositional elements. The composition itself is unusual: the focal point shifts in such a way that the characters’ faces or figures appear to be outside the canvas (Asseyez-Vous, Dans la Rue, Ferragamo, He & She). The emphasizing of the randomness and the transience of the captured moment is reminiscent of film stills or casual snapshots. A very personal, but at the same time instantly recognizable image of Paris is created by gracefully broken lines, colour contrasts and the very choice of subject matter – hands touching, conversations at café table, succinct and interspersed with obvious signs of the modern times, like shopping bags bearing the logos of luxury boutiques or slick bar counters. This Paris is home to impeccable French style, a vibrant nightlife, and exciting encounters tinted with the anticipation of love.
Anastasia Karlova, Ph.D.
Curator of the Department of Contemporary Art, State Russian Museum,