Andrei Ostashov’s “Maiden Watch”
From January 17 to February 12, 2015. The exhibition is closed from February 10, 2015!

The exhibition of sculptures and graphics “Maiden Watch” by Andrei Ostashov will open on January 16, 2015 at 5 p.m. The exhibition will be held from January 17 to February 12, 2015.

DEAR VISITORS,

we would like to inform you that the exhibition will be dismantled earlier (February 10, 2015) due to the preparation of the international exhibition project “The Leonardo da Vinci Inventions” (Australia). The museum is sorry.

The preface to the new creative project “Maiden Watch” of the well-known Belarusian sculptor Andrei Ostashov may be started with precedents from the history of art – the archetypal image of the guardian maiden, the beautiful Amazon, or the warrioress (e.g. the vase painting and sculpture of ancient Greece) has always been part of the European visual arts from time immemorial. Myths about the Amazons inspired Renaissance artists, as well as poets and playwrights of the “Golden Age” of Spanish literature. This topic is also all-important for the Oriental tradition – suffice it to recall the Japanese female ninja who went into history under the poetical name “kunoichi”, i.e. “lethiferous flowers”. The image of a woman armed with a “bow and arrows” is extremely popular today, too. It conquers the space of the art scene from contemporary art to pop cinema, in the heroic fantasy worlds and “girls with guns” movies.

Of course, these examples are unequal; they do not cover all interpretations and associative references presupposed by the title of this exhibition. After all, there is also the most important thing – the author's perspective. Probably due to that we do not see the traditional image of the “predatory Amazon” in Andrei Ostashov's sculptures. In his heroines’ plastique we do not find any threat despite their complete fighting equipment. They are guardians, but the guardians of imagination, the inner game – they are the guardian angels of the author's dreams and phantasy. According to the artist himself, “These are patrol girls; they are on guard, not allowing the callousness and cynicism of humdrum inside; they preserve the world created by imagination where everything is possible, where all is easy and fine, from the external world. The “Maiden Watch” exhibition is about these things. The watch keeps the internal world in purity, the world where I am free and more alive than in the reality in which I live.”

In order to protect this ephemeral private world Andrei Ostashov has created a whole sculptural posse of wonderful female guardians, watchwomen, having returned again to the leitmotif of all his oeuvre - the image of a little girl. Without changing his main theme, the artist has found new forms of expression, having transformed “lovely and playful adorable babies” into teenager who play adult games. The appealing, gentle, and graceful female bodies, absolutely deprived of muscularity are called to perform “serious mission”. That is why the artist boldly adds various military attributes to their figurative design – from weapons and armor to the hyperbolized extended headwear à la Hans Rudolf Giger's fantastique Realism with his famous character “Alien”.

In this project Ostashov acts not only in the role of a sculptor – he also willingly shares his graphic works with the spectator. However, in graphic sheets the artist chooses more elements of children’s games. These sheets draw the spectator’s attention, first of all, due to one’s sincere infatuation with sweet details of childhood – plush toys, dolls, carnival masks, hide-and-seek. In these works, Ostashov sticks to the position of an onlooker, as though spying upon the intricate life of the young ladies. It is proved by the “diary character of drawing”, the agility of the sketched visual impressions, like the records which esch of us makes in pocket-books.

The girls’ troupe is completed with the sculpture “Samurai with the Opium Pipe” as if the author’s personification is in this play called the “Maiden Watch”. Ostashov delivers afull-scale attack literally – he is an author, a director, and a performer. He creates his own world, his own theater, his own mythology.

Thus, it is possible to pinpoint the basic moment of Ostashov’s creativity – theatricality. Deliberateness and hyperbole are not alien to his nature, neither are quotations in the figurative characteristic of his personages; he is not constrained within the topic, style, or plot – the artist creates hiselaborate, intricate world in which he preserves his ability to “regress to childhood”, to create imaginary worlds occupied by princesses, elves and exotic Amazons. All this game plan is not purely factitious. It has its rootedness. Otherwise, how would it be possible to achieve such “nearness” to these characters? Still, the whole postmodernism impulse of the game is important as well. In this sense, the sculptor’s creative activity is organically entered into the mainstream of the common stylistic tendencies of the epoch, in particular, in the context of the so-called «syndrome of playing at art».

It is true that the geography of the artist’s images is wide. Ostashov is interested in Europe, Asia, America, and certainly in mythological worlds. In his “imagined museum” it is easy to find the stylistics and themes of Mannerism, Rococo and Artdeco. However, more than anything Ostashov’s interest in Orientalism is evident. It can be seen in the refined extended silhouettes, in some somnambulistic self-absorption of his personages, and in the free “juggling” of the everyday life’s objects and applied art of the Far East region.

The sculptor does not plunge into “historicism and ethnographism”, but creates original variations on the topic of the “arts history”.

Therefore, Ostashov is probably so attractive for spectators because in his art there is a place of an active co-author, who tries to find ways to interpret his works. Ostashov’s sculptures and drawings bewitch and intrigue; one would like to unriddle and decipher them, to read their plots, characters and images. Their open sensuality, voluptuousness, and attractiveness spur our desire not only to look at them, but also to touch and possess them.

Today Andrei Ostashov is one of the most actual Belarusian sculptors.

 

Ekaterina Izofatova 

Art historian, Senior researcher  

at the Department of scientific and educational work of

the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus

 

 

Biography

Andrei Ostashov (born in 1970, Lida, Belarus).

Professional sculptor, works with stone and bronze; graphic artist; author of art posters and booklets. Lives and works in Minsk.

Education:

1997 – graduated from the Sculpture Department of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts in Minsk; Hennady Muromtsev Studio: graduation work – under the guidance of Alexander Finsky.

Professional activities:

2004–2005 – tutor of drawing at the Architectural Design Department at the State Institute of Social Technologies of Belarusian State University;

1998–2003 – tutor of sculpture and composition in the Minsk State Art College named after Alexey Glebov.

Member of the Belarusian Union of Artists since 1999.

Member of the Bureau of the Sculpture Section of the Belarusian Union of Artists since 2005.

Since 1995 – participant of more than 100 national and international exhibitions, plein airs, and international traineeships; laureate of many art and architectural contests and plein airs.

In 2009 the Andrei Ostashov Gallery was opened in Minsk (Bogdanovich Street, 1).

2013 – retrospective exhibition of sculptures and drawings in St. Michael's Castle of the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia).

In 2013, Andrei Ostashov was awarded in the sphere of art called “Belief” following the results of the 7th Moscow International Festival of Arts “Traditions and Contemporaneity” in the nomination “For the width of conception and the grandness of implementation”.

The artist’s works can be found at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, the Contemporary Fine Arts Museum of Minsk, the Museum of Malaga (Spain), as well as private collections of Belarus, Great Britain, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the USA etc.

 

 

The curator of the exhibition is Olga Arkhipova, leading researcher of the Modern Belarusian Art Department; co-curator is Ekaterina Izofatova, senior researcher of the Department of scientific and educational work.

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