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Pasha Babenko “Poetry of simple life”

Starting May 23, the Les Gallery is showing an exhibition of Krasnodar artist Pasha Babenko. A legendary personality of South-Russian bohemia of 1970-1990s, Babenko became a unique specialist in contemporary still life painting. His canvases descend from the Avant-garde and Symbolic traditions, combining artistic, personal and philosophical aspects. Also the author's poems are a great addition to the display.

Born in 1946 in Kuban, Pavel Babenko now lives and works in Krasnodar. The artist signs his paintings quite simply: "Pasha", and introduces himself even more simply - "Pasha, the king of Russian still life painting." After Pasha graduated from the department of Graphic Arts, he went into informal painting and became one of the offensive personalities of contemporary art. In spite of his reputation, he really became a master of still life painting. During the past few decades, Pavel has taken part in many Russia-wide exhibitions and had personal projects within Krasnodar region. Through this project, the LES gallery wants to introduce a painter of great originality to the Moscow public, as well as to specialists and collectors. What was going to be at the picture show was a secret to the last minute: Pasha had been working on new paintings and they were first to be seen only at the preview - this was the painter's personal choice, the approach of probably one of the most significant modern painters of this genre.

Babenko's artistry is both typical and atypical for contemporary art at the same time. Still life paintings in the tradition of Modernism, Impressionism and even Symbolism provide quite an appropriate 'mixture' for today's contemporary art. At the same time Pasha always sticks to his Kuban roots, whereas contemporary art clearly tends to globalization. Pasha's works are through and through saturated with 'unpopular' folk motives, and still they spark enduring interest among professionals and a general audience. Babenko is a legend of Krasnodar bohemia, but épatage is not at the top of his artistic activity at all. His works are a complicated fusion of the traditional and the untraditional, the universal and the personal. The still life paintings are inhabited by such familiar and precious things as rye brick-bread, golden onions, pieces of grease ('salo'), clay pots, bottles with 'vodka', 'wine' and even 'absolute alcohol' written on them. However, there is a whirlwind of colorful elements too, with an almost edible variety of shades and patterns. His manner of execution is sufficient enough to enjoy the painting. You can see totally unexpected images which were not ornate at all. A black thorn wreath, bread, wine, fish - these symbolic objects together turn a 'delicious', aesthetic Babenko's canvas into a work of an old genre - vanitas (thoughts about life and death).

"The world as a sheer still life painting" is a precise definition of Babenko's artistic approach. He combines his personal world view, some ethnic colour, and philosophical and symbolic compositions of mood into one piece. All this makes Pasha's works a bit difficult to understand and in some ways unusual for our modern perception.

This is the painter's first project to be displayed at the LES gallery. The content is not restricted to the paintings only: being a man of many talents, Pasha writes poetry, which will be fully integrated into the exhibition.

*You can specify the final date of the exhibition by contacting us on the site or by phone.