Nikita Kravtsov's solo exhibition at SHELEST.hotel from 11 December, curated by The Naked Room. Visit the complex and contemplate selected works created over the past 12 years of the artist's practice.
Nikita has been living in Paris since 2015, but his practice remains connected with the Ukrainian political agenda and artistic environment. 2022—2023 have been marked by the artist's cultural diplomacy: Kravtsov created dozens of iconic images that became symbols of mass actions in support of Ukraine around the world. And his murals communicate with citizens daily in the public spaces of Cairo, Paris and Nairobi.
Thus, in Nikita Kravtsova's work New russian Fairytale, created using the patchwork & collage technique in 2023, the texture of familiar textiles becomes the backdrop of a new violent history. A nesting doll—a typical symbol of russia—with a black card suit of spades becomes a messenger of grief and change wherever the russian presence is revealed. The established ideas about the everyday life around us are destroyed, nature burns and even fairytale characters die.
In his other work, Island in the Black Sea, Kravtsov allegorically depicts russia's military & strategic campaign in Crimea since 1992. Although Crimea is a peninsula within Ukraine with the status of an autonomous republic, russia has been amassing military forces there for years under the cover of the Black Sea Fleet, which helped to seize power at a critical moment. In the painting created in 2014 Crimea is surrounded by military equipment, cut off from the land, drifting towards the russian federation. But this unjust plot, like a dream, has to end. And the peninsula will be even more firmly united with the territory of a free Ukraine.
In the Prayer for the Cup triptych, the artist portrayed Jesus in an unexpected manner, revealing his human nature as opposed to the divine one. Usually, Jesus is depicted looking up to heaven with a peaceful face, while Nikita's work shows his fear of being wrapped in a shroud. Facing this cloth, he must make a choice between an earthly life with Maria Magdalena or marching to Calvary, joining the figure symbolically holding the crown of thorns.
For his earlier series of works Kilogram created in 2011, Nikita painted a photographic portrait of different potatoes the artist had bought beforehand. By naming each of them after famous people who changed the history of the world, Kravtsov aimed to show our similarities, proving the equality of everyone's abilities in the endeavour to leave a mark.
SHELEST.hotel: Damba Kyyivsʹkoho Vodoskhovyshcha, Khotyanivka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, 07360