A curious retrospective delves into the Russian artist’s dark and complex oeuvre, until now unexplored in Parisian galleries.
Russian artist Eugene Gabritschevsky is shamefully unappreciated in France, and so the Maison Rouge is righting this wrong this summer with an ambitious retrospective of his work. Thoughtfully, excitingly curated, the exhibit is set out both thematically and chronologically, taking the visitors on a journey through the artist’s twistedly complex oeuvre. At times it can be hard viewing – this was a man who spent much of his life in mental health facilities, after all, and dark motifs are prevalent throughout his work. In some pieces, his arid horizons oddly recall Cthulhu (sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft’s mountainous cosmic creature), while the figures in most of his watercolours peer out distrustfully from their frames.
Many of the works are untitled, mysteriously anonymous, leaving the subject matter very much up to the viewer’s own interpretation. Are they sci-fi landscapes peopled with ghostly silhouettes, cannibalistic feasts, or dystopic machines on the verge of crushing flesh and bones? Whatever you get from it, it all makes for a dizzying, nigh on distressing, body of work; Naïve art at its most thrillingly imaginative.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON