Alexey Kondakov stretches the notion that art is timeless. In his uncanny Art History in Contemporary Life series (previously), Kondakov plucks figures from neoclassical and romantic paintings and places them into modern settings, blurring era, style, and medium.
Kondakov primarily works with backgrounds he’s photographed throughout his native Kyiv and other European cities including Berlin, Milan, and Naples. Often laden with graffiti and modern conveniences like electric stovetops and vehicles, the harsh, urban settings counter the soft, angelic characteristics of the Old Masters. In one work, the spirited trio in Ferdinand Leeke’s “Fleeing Nymphs” dashes across a misty street, while another depicts Alexandre Cabanel’s “Desdemona” sitting unamused with two empty cocktails on the table in front of her.
Given Russia’s ongoing war within his home country, the artist has been working more slowly the last few years, although he released a book collecting his pieces titled An Imaginary Adventure in 2021. “After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, it took about half of the year to bring myself back to work, and it took about a year to return to a normal working flow. Now I am full of hopes and ideas,” he says.
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