Manya Alexeeva’s Black Squirrel at the State Hermitage Museum’s Youth Educational Centre (painting)
On 12 March a black squirrel visited the Youth Centre Exhibition Hall. That is what the famous and multifaceted St. Petersburg artist, Marina (Manya) Alexeeva, calls her project.
For Manya the main subject of her work is the private, personal, feminine, bucolic and pastoral. The artist tears away from the stream of consciousness a fragment of her thoughts and, like a thrifty squirrel, hoards them on canvas. She collects randomly, but not without purpose, polyptych, shuffling pictures which trigger associations for the author and audience. The black and white canvasses by Alexeeva are reminiscent of puzzle, where pictograms – flowers, household items, fragments of world famous paintings, people’s faces are immortalized, accidentally and fleetingly, but nonetheless important and valuable. From these the author creates her own chamber of secrets – a distinctive memorial to her private life. Consciously restricting her field of activity and refusing to use colours in her painting, Manya confesses that she is experimenting: you see, if your hands are tied, you understand what can be done with feet.
Manya Alexeeva is one of the key figures of the St. Petersburg artistic scene; she is not only a famous artist, but also the owner of a non-commercial gallery Selskaya Zhizn (Village Life), and the publisher of a journal of the same name. In the 90s she worked with a group ‘I Love You, Life’ and worked with installations. After the collapse of the group in 1993 she worked independently slowly moving towards the sentimentalism of beauty and softness. She has taken part in Russian and international projects. Personal exhibitions of the artist have taken place in St. Petersburg and Berlin.
On 12 March at the exposition, Manya revealed the secrets of her mastery in a talk with visitors and described the concept of the project and answered students’ questions.
Marina Alexeeva’s work can be viewed 12 – 23 March in the Exhibition Hall of the Youth Educational Centre: