October 3, 2010 - Calvert 22 Gallery - Alexander Ponomarev: Sea Stories
October 3, 2010

Alexander Ponomarev: Sea Stories

Alexander Ponomarev, “Maya: A Lost Island,” 2005.
Film Still Action in collaboration with the 5th fleet of the Russian Navy, Barents Sea Film.*

Alexander Ponomarev
Sea Stories

6 October – 21 November 2010

Calvert 22
22 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP
Opening Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm; Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Contact: +44 (0) 20 7613 2141| info [​at​] calvert22.org
Nearest Tube: Old St / Liverpool St

Calvert 22 is proud to present Sea Stories, the first UK solo exhibition by highly regarded Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev. Curated by Nadim Samman, Sea Stories will unveil a series of new and recent works by the artist, most of which have never been exhibited before in the UK.

Drawing upon a background in nautical engineering and an early career as a submariner, Ponomarev uses his sea voyages as a starting point to explore relationships between illusion and reality, technology and art, mythology and documentary as a way of understanding the shifting tides of personal and cultural history particularly relevant to a contemporary Russian experience.

His work often takes the form of epic aquatic installations but he also produces smaller more intimate pieces, often placing himself within the frame so that the scale and context of the ocean is magnified.

The works in Sea Stories are born from some of the many oceanic journeys undertaken by the artist including expeditions to the North Pole, deep sea submarining and the tracking of the 60th latitude of the Atlantic whilst onboard a scientific research ship.

A centrepiece of the exhibition is the UK debut of the impressive installation piece Base (2003). Originally created during a residency at the studio of sculptor Alexander Calder, a nine-metres-long horizontal tube filled with water forms a tunnel for the movement of a black submarine. In this work the artist reprises the recurring metaphor of the submarine that populates his practice. For Ponomarev, the submarine is employed as a symbol that links art to war, while also signalling the issue of surface and hidden depths, and the fraught relationship between appearance and disappearance.

Sea Stories also features moving image works, drawings and photographs documenting further artistic adventures inspired by the ocean. Films presented include Maya: A Lost Island (2000), which documents a collaboration with the 5th fleet of the Russian Navy, who were persuaded to lay a smokescreen in front of the island of Sedioyatyl, thus causing its entire landmass gradually to disappear and become momentarily invisible. The exhibition also unveils a new series of self-portraits by the artist. Deep Water Graphics (2010) was created in the arctic and the images were gradually distorted by subjection to water-pressure at depths of up to 4km below sea-level.

Alexander Ponomarev, graduated from the USSR Nautical Engineering College in 1979 following a period at Oriel Art School. He then spent several decades working for the Russian navy, before concentrating on art full time. In 2007, he was named an Officier des Arts et des Lettres by France’s Minister of Culture.

Recent solo exhibitions include:
‘Subtiziano’, collateral event at the 53rd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale/ Biennale di Venezia (2009); ‘Faire Surface’, MNMN (Monaco National Musee Nouveau); Culture Project, New York; Punto di vista Nina Lumer, Milan (all 2008); ‘Verticale parallele’ Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere; National Center of Contemporary Art, Festival d’Automne, Paris; 52nd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale / Biennale di Venezia; ‘Secret Fairway’ special project of the 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; ‘In the Garden of Wolf Packs’, installation in the Tuilleries Fountain, Louvre, Paris (all 2007); Multimedia Complex of Actual Arts, in conjunction with the 1st Moscow Biennale (2005); ‘Alexander Ponomarev,’ TNT Center, Bordeaux, France (2004).

CALVERT 22 is the UK’s only not for profit foundation dedicated to the presentation of contemporary Art and Culture from Russian and Eastern Europe.

*Image above:
Courtesy of Alexander Ponomarev.

Calvert 22 Gallery
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