Sunday, May 24, 2015

Of Sugar & Spice

“I believe deep down in their hearts, everybody wants to be a prince or princess.
Anna Berezovskaya

The Russian artist Anna Berezovskaya paints wonderlands that allow people to relive the magical and mysterious joys of childhood, a welcome respite from the usual harsh realities that confront us. As she explained to the Hong Kong MagazineWhen I was little, my parents were always busy working so I was left home alone all the time. Being an imaginative kid I loved reading fairy tales and then started creating my own. When I became a painter, those fantasies naturally reflected in my paintings.

Berezovskaya comes from the small town of Jakhroma some 60 kms north of Moscow and from the age of 17 has had to make her own way in the world. As she has said “My parents sent me to art school when I was nine, but they never wanted me to pursue a painting career. I had to be self-supported when I turned 17 though, so I had no choice but to produce paintings and sell as many as I could.

In the ensuing eight years Berezovskaya has become something of a darling in art world commanding prices in the five and six figure range for her work. Work’s that present a fairy tale fantasy. As she told Singapore’s City Nomads “I do not portray real life; instead I portray my own life, my own world. I offer an alternate world and try to get people to believe in it. And my paintings are meant to be timeless.”

But like all good fairytales there is a darker underside, a moral, perhaps, lurking under the surface. As she told the Singapore Art Gallery Guide about her latest exhibition “I still draw on stories that I love from my childhood but in terms of development I realize I have developed and grown and my ideas are becoming more interesting, sharper, more developed. With my new series Edge of the World I wanted to invest the works with a sense of what people value, what is worth doing. I have done this using the style and techniques I have always used, but perhaps with a stronger sense of symbolism and a greater awareness of my own artistic style.”

And then there is the apocryphal story she tells of a painting’s sale. “Once they exhibited a painting of mine of a fat woman staring at a lot of delicious food locked in a cage. A woman came to me and told me she would buy that painting to hang on the wall of her daughter’s bedroom to urge her to go to diet! I had never thought my painting could serve such a practical purpose.

Berezovskaya’s current exhibition Edge of the World is on show a Singapore’s Redsea Gallery until the 14th of June. 

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