Ivan Gorshkov

° 1986

Works in Voronezh (RU), lives in Voronezh (RU).

Ivan Gorshkov is a representative of the ‘Voronezh wave’ and a co-founder of the Voronezh Centre for Contemporary Art. The artist defines his own style as ‘half-abstract expressionism’. Gorshkov's plastic language is visually close to the European tradition of depicting the formless (which can be found in the works of artists associated with art informel or Louise Bourgeois or Sarah Lucas), but while in the European practice this formlessness is a way to work with (post-war) trauma, identity and gender issues, Gorshkov sees it as rather comical and embedded in an urban context: colourful metal objects with wood and textile elements – multi-layered, with complex fluid forms, appealing to touch – are perceived as reminders of an industrial space like an abandoned factory or a squatter settlement or a garage turned into a storage place for unwanted things. Ivan’s sculptures appear to claim a certain ‘quintessence’ of the local environment. With all the roughness and apparent anti-metaphorism of forms the artist manages to convey specific local features through working with mythology: here an urban setting intertwines with a fictional biography of a character (King of the Forest, 2012, Crystal Boots, 2015). The names of Gorshkov’s works contain references to folklore motives for a reason: as the artist Ilya Dolgov put it in his lecture ‘Oh, Those Voronezh Story Tellers!’, the members of the ‘Voronezh wave’ share a common penchant for fairy tales and the ability to create them in any artistic gesture or endeavour or exhibition. Despite the use of fairly traditional sculpture materials, the artist’s objects are evocative of a digital environment with its glitches and failures, which is also quite explicitly implied in the artist’s paintings (Field of Wonders, 2016). (Olga Deryugina)

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