Maiden Watch appears before spectators in its entire beauty
Personal exhibition of works by famous sculptor Andrey Ostashov opens at National Art Museum of Belarus
The new creative project by well-known Belarusian sculptor Andrey Ostashov, Maiden Watch, inspires comparison with the idea of a powerful Amazonian female warrior, as might be depicted on an Ancient Greek vase. Myths about Amazonians inspired artists in the Renaissance, as well as poets and playwrights of Spain’s ‘Golden Age’ of literature. The theme is also evident in the Eastern traditions, in Japanese female-ninjas: known as ‘kunoichi’ — ‘deadly flowers’. The image of a woman armed with ‘bow and arrows’ continues to be popular today — seen in contemporary art and the cinema, where fantasy and ‘girls with guns’ genres are commonplace.
Exhibits draw attentionOf course, the above mentioned examples don’t 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. The interpretations possible are endless, since Mr. Ostashov’s sculptures do not offer the traditional image of a ‘predatory Amazonian’. There is no shade of threat, despite their warrior garb: they are guards, but guards of the imagination, like guardian angels of the author’s dreams and fantasies. Mr. Ostashov describes them as being beyond the callous cynicism of daily life, exuding peace and simplicity. His Maiden Watch aims to preserve intimacy and purity, and a sense of freedom and vivaciousness.
Andrey has created a whole sculptural brigade of wonderful female guardians in order to protect this ephemeral inner world, having returned again to the keynote of all his oeuvre — the image of a little girl. Without changing his main theme, the artist has found new forms of expression, transforming ‘lovely and playful adorable babies’ into teenagers who play adult games. Touching, gentle, graceful female bodies, without visible muscles, carry out a ‘serious mission’, donning weaponry and armour and extended headdresses. They are even reminiscent of the fantastic realism of Hans Rudolf Giger, who is known for his awe-inspiring ‘Alien’ creations.
In this project Ostashov acts not only in the role of a sculptor — he also willingly shares his graphic works, where the artist chooses more elements of children’s games. These pieces draw the spectator’s attention, first of all, because they hark to the world of childhood: soft toys, carnival masks, and hide-and-seek. He acts as a spectator, spying upon the private games of young ladies, so that we see them as if through a diary of impressions.
Exhibition notable for originality of sculptural imagesThe sculpture ‘Samurai with Opium Pipe’ is like a personification of the author. Ostashov is author, director and actor in this world of theatre and mythology.
In fact, theatricality is pivotal to his creativity and figurative characters, beyond the constraints of any particular theme or style; this intricate ‘second childhood’ of imagined worlds is inhabited by princesses and exotic Amazonians.
Clearly, his personal experience of seeing his daughters grow is invaluable, bringing each character to life. However, there is also a postmodernist influence of ‘game playing’ within his art, and elements from various continents: Europe, Asia, America and, of course, mythological worlds. In his ‘imaginary museum’, we see the stylistics of rococo and Art Deco. His extended silhouettes have refinement and depth, as found in the Far East. It’s no surprise that Andrey Ostashov’s works are so popular, being full of intrigue and charm. We yearn to understand them better, deciphering their plots and images.
About the author
Andrey Ostashov was born in 1970, in Lida, in the Vitebsk Region. He is a professional sculptor, working with stone and bronze, and is also engaged in painting and graphic works, creating posters and booklets.
The Minsk resident is a member of the Belarusian Union of Artists, participating in over 100 national and international exhibitions, open-air forums and international workshops. In 2009, Mr. Ostashov’s gallery opened in Minsk and he has won many artistic and architectural competitions, including holding the Vera Award for ‘Breadth of Concept and Grandiose Embodiment’ — bestowed at the 7th Moscow International Festival of Arts: Traditions and Modernity.
His works are found at the National Art Museum of Belarus, at the Museum of Modern Fine Arts in Minsk, at the Museum of Málaga (Spain), and in various private collections: in Belarus, the UK, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and the USA.
By Victor Mikhailov