Anna Nova Gallery was founded by Anna Barinova in 2005, and is currently one of the leading galleries in Russia. The gallery actively supports original and innovative interdisciplinary art practices, producing research-based projects and large-scale installations. In the past few years the gallery has expanded its activities and now aims to discover and promote young artists who work with urgent cultural issues and challenges that our society faces today.
Many of these artists are interested in scientific research and their practice stems naturally from contemporary technological developments. They operate on the global scale,pursuing nomadic lives of contemporary agents of culture, introducing local contexts into the international cultural environment.
In order to boost the growing art scene in Russia, in 2006 the gallery initiated Nova Art Contest, the aim of which is to discover and support the younger generation of artists. In different years the Contest Jury consisted of influential art professionals, such as Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (art director of Documenta 13), Joanna De Vos (independent curator), Sylvain Levy (founder of the DSL collection), Steven Sacks (founder of bitforms gallery, NY), Lev Manovich (professor of Cultural Analytics) and Catherine Becker (independent curator).
The works of the gallery artists feature in the collections of Centre Nacional d’Artet de Culture Georges Pompidou (Paris, France), Museum of Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid, Spain), MHKA (Antwerp, Belgium), Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia),State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow, Russia), French National Association ofContemporary Art (Paris, France), Ruya Foundation For Contemporary Culture (Iraq).
Valery Katsuba (1965) - an artist who works with photography, video, performance and writes stories. His most famous photographic series ‘Phiscultura’ (2006), ‘The Model: Classic and Contemporary’ (2018), ‘The Seasons. My Friends’ (2005) are created as narratives based on the classical traditions of art and literature, and on historical research. To create such photographic series the artist works (as the director, choreographer or trainer) with models - athletes, dancers, actors, workers or friends.
Valery Katsuba’s photographic projects focus on representations of the human body, revealing its aesthetic potential. By depicting the naked, muscular and athletic bodies of athletes, circus artists and ballerinas, the photographer demonstrates that the classical canons of beauty, which have been claimed in ancient art, remain relevant. As an artist Valery Katsubu is also interested in the intimacy of humans and the space around them.
Artist’s works are presented in the museum collections of the National Centre of Art and Culture of Georges Pompidou in Paris, the State Russian Museum, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the State Museum of Contemporary Art 2 de Mayo in Madrid, Print Photography Promocion Association of Seoul, Multimedia Art Museum, French National Association of Modern Art.
Thе influence of art academies defines the content of this artwork by Valery Katsuba. In Katsuba’s photographs, everything from the pose of the models to the arrangement of the lighting and the ‘staging’ – a theatrical narrative approach bringing everything to life – is influenced by the paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance and the Romanticism, yet is set in the Neoclassical interiors of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.
The hero of this photographic portrait is a Ballet dancer. Her pose manifests the very highest development of human physical potential. Her figure gives physical expression to the eternal values of harmony, order, beauty, courage and strength.
Valery Katsuba’s works demonstrate the relevance to art today of depictions of perfection in the human body, in search of the pleasure to be gained through grace and harmonic equilibrium of mind and body, while encapsulating that admiration of youth that never fades in any period. The concept of the model as the archetype of ideal proportions in the Classical body is reworked and applied anew, always bearing in mind the many differences between cultures, stereotypes and cultural models.
In 1999, while working in the St. Petersburg Archive of Cinematic and Photographic Documents, Valery was looking at photographs of daily life in St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century. The staff there directed him to some photos of sports societies that existed in pre-revolutionary Russian times. He had naively imagined that fitness centres and gyms were a phenomenon of our time. However, as early as the 1880s Dr Vladislav Kraevsky’s system of “Muscle Development with the Help of Weights" was being widely practiced in St Petersburg. The doctor was convinced that a person creates his/her own health and beauty, and that this is achievable with the help of physical exercise using weights. St. Petersburg’s first "fitness club" opened in 1885. By the end of the 19th century the city had over 100 sports societies.
Examining the faces of those physical fitness enthusiasts from the distant past, Valery came under the influence of their charm. In taking these themes into his photography, artist was interested to understand that charm. Those girls from the past seem very contemporary; not in terms of the way girls marked their waistline, but in their patent desire to be worthy heroes of their time.
Far Away from Home is a story in pictures. The main character is a sailor who once had a house, a native land and love. Love that he could not keep, love that became like a shipwreck. Thereafter for many years life tosses the sailor onto foreign shores. In this vast world the sailor thinks that somewhere there in the distance he will find his true happiness, his home. As he swims from one bank to the other, however, he begins to realize that his journey, filled with the temptations of unknown lands, is in fact an ordeal. In his wanderings he gets to know many lands and many people whose aspirations start to remind him of those of his native land. He arrives at an understanding of the unity and integrity of the world and hope is born. The sailor’s escape from himself eventually starts to become a road towards himself, a road home.
Uldus Bakhtiozina (1986) as an artist combines such activities as art and fashion photography, film direction, theatre costume and stage designing and social activism. Uldus is a member of the Royal Society of Arts in London, the first Russian speaker in the history of TED and a finalist of 11th Arte Laguna Art Prize. Vogue Italia has called Uldus The Best Young Fashion Photographer and in 2014 she was named one of the strongest women of 2014 according to BBC.
Uldus Bakhtiozina is a photographer who doesn’t work with daily life, and neither is a documentary photographer in a general sense. She documents dreams and life as they could be, as she fancies them. Her visual language inspired by Russian folklore and fairy tales features fantasy and escapism. Uldus Bakhtiozina introduces herself as a Tatar Baroque ambassador. It is not a school or a real tradition but self-irony, as Uldus is half Tatar. She claims Tatar Baroque represents something impulsive, bold, energetic, and even belligerent.
Her works are held in the collections of the Faberge Museum (Saint Petersburg), the Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture (Iraq) and numerous private collections.
CIRCUS 17 presents a new take on what happened in the Russian Empire in 1917 during the February and the October Revolutions in Russia, as well as on politics in general and revolution as social fact. Using the techniques of classical Greek tragedy, retrospective and visionary art, artist Uldus Bakhtiozina approaches the revolution as a circus performance typical for the early 20th century. Uldus warns the spectators against indifference and herd mentality. Transferring her images to monochrome, the artist emphasises four powers: the red one that represents revolutionaries, the white one that personifies the white movement, the golden one that stands for religion, and the beige one, almost colorless, incarnating indifference of the major part of the society. Every color takes up its faith and truth, and none of the shades can’t be removed from this palette.
This photo series started in 2014 and kept running through 2016, combining different stories, inspired by Russian folklore and dark side of fairy tales, tightly bound with pagan culture and religious beliefs of ancient Slavs. Relying on the studies of the fairy tales origin, the background of their characters and her own experience, Uldus hyperbolizes their visual images in the medium-format film portraits. To the characters she adds highly detailed costumes of her own design, revising their nature and giving them a new lease of life in the modern world. Thus each frame becomes the superposition of all the processes and it has a unique view of the lost and forgotten in the constant flow of time.
The goal pursued by the photographer in her artwork is to create the feeling that fairy tales live next to us and exist in an inseparable connection with the modern world. That is why the images of the heroes depicted by the artist, on the one hand, are references to russian folklore, but, on the other hand, they follow the laws of the present.
Most of kokoshniks, masks and outfits are made by the artist as well as photographs. None of the works had been digitally manipulated.
This artwork is a still from Uldus Bakhtiozina's debut feature film Tzarevna Scaling. The project is an authorial fiction film. The director, screenwriter, costume artist and producer is stated by Uldus.
In English it’s called Tzarevna Scaling, but its Russian title is A Fisherman’s Daughter. It’s an autobiographical title — her father worked as a fisherman, so Uldus is a fisherman’s daughter herself. But it is a proper fairytale, in which the protagonist learns that being a princess, or a tzarevna in Russian, is actually a very hard job.
Inherently simple in its form, the film in its essence is an exercise in Slavic folklore, Russian folk tale tropes, archetypes and morphology, Christianity, cultural history of Russia, of her social consciousness, their standing and integration within the “modern world” and “modern conscious."
Artwork combines these folk motifs; fairytales have darker sides and all of these grey areas: characters that are supposed to be “bad” but do good things and vice versa. It also might be escapism from routine and the gloomy St. Petersburg weather. It’s an endless source of inspiration. Thus, the work may be perceived by ways of its folk tale narrative only — horizontally, or followed along the spiral of the study into periods of Slavic culture and mythology.