55.jpg 29.03.2021 - 29.05.2021

Peter Belyi Concrete Revelation

From Melancholia to Ecstasy (and back again)

Those not tainted by art history or religion may be reminded of building sites when they see Peter Belyi’s piles of cement on the wall. The metal bars slanting through them may be all too familiar. How many of our brutal architectural creations appear unfinished. The act of creation can never fully escape that destruction that precedes it and follows it. The act of decay invariably prevails.

Of course, the artist and I are scarred by art history, the weight of all the work that artists have made before, all the thoughts, feelings and dreams they had. So much so that the delayed exhibition Melancholia (now part of Present Continuous) he is showing currently at the Garage, is guided by a map made from Durer’s famous engraving of Melancholia, 1514. It takes one through the ruins of past political icons, Lenin and others in the rubble. Durer’s Apocalypse series also supplied the inspiration for his cement works, but if you follow the melancholic map across Gorky Park to the Iragui Gallery, to look at the frieze of cement clouds on their walls, my first thought is of Bernini not Durer. Certainly the way the metallic lines pierce through the cloud may echo that of Durer, and indeed many earlier Renaissance artists such as Giotto and Gentile da Fabriano, but the ambiguity of Belyi’s heavy but fluffy concrete clouds has more connections with Bernini’s St Teresa in Ecstasy, 1547-52.

‘How do you express God, something which does not exist?’ Belyi asked me rhetorically. For a large amount of artists working for the near monopoly patron for centuries, the Church, this was a critical problem. It would be anachronistic to doubt Bernini’s faith, though certainly he was wild in his youth, but however much he believed in his mid-sixteenth century God, he still had a similar problem to Belyi when it comes to showing something that is transparently not there. There is a parallel history in the way we have depicted the rays of the sun to how we have attempted to create an image for our gods, their angels and their spirits. These merge, or diverge however you wish to see it, in Bernini’s St Teresa and Belyi’s concrete clouds.

From the distance of the pews in the nave of Rome’s Santa Maria della Vittoria, on a sunny day, it is easier to believe in God, than on a cloudy day when one goes and pokes ones nose up Bernini’s niche. The artist has funneled the sun to support his own relatively crude model of its rays. It is all tacked together. From where the believers sit and pray it looks divine. It is helped by one of the best sculptural manifestions of La Petite Mort ever made. Love and religion feed off a very similar, if not the very same, human desire to believe. But if one makes the mistake of analysing the rods holding both Bernini’s and Belyi’s structures together, it as Belyi says ‘easier to believe in concrete than in God.’

Alistair Hicks


Alistair Hicks is the author of the Global Art Compass. He is the curator of Doublethink: Doublevision, an exhibition at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in 2017 that shows artists from around the world reassessing the way we think. Much of his work is aimed at trying to cut through the art politics and artspeak to show how rich and diverse our times are.

For twenty years he was Senior Curator at Deutsche Bank. While at Deutsche Bank his main job was selecting and presenting art to purchase committees. He created the Man Booker Library while he was art advisor to Man Group. Currently he is on the art advisory board of Cliveden Advisory, the Advisory Committee of Unseen Art Fair (Amsterdam) , on the Global Art Advisory Committee of Hana Bank Global HR Center Art Collection and is a contributor and advisor to Russian Art Focus.


11.12.2018 - 11.02.2019

Krista Mölder | Notes on being present

Continuing the international cultural exchange program of our gallery, started two years ago with collaborative projects with Galerie Odile Ouizeman (Paris), Otto Zoo and FL gallery (Milano), narrative projects (London), we're glad to present a new collaboration with Estonian gallery Temnikova & Kasela (Tallinn), marking personal friendship as well as the century of the Republic of Estonia.

Krista Mölder's works focus on universalized space and viewer experience or, to be more specific, on the transference of a personal (and constructed) viewer experience through which the viewer has a chance to identify with the artist’s view and frame of mind. Mölder often works site-specifically, taking the context of a space as one of themes of her allegoric oeuvre.

Krista Mölder’s solo exhibition “Notes on Being Present” at Galerie Iragui is put together based on her photo series of recent years in an active dialogue with the gallery space. Works line up in a new ensemble, a kind of whole, acquiring new meanings and premises: at the level of the image, combinations of images and their dynamic interaction with the exhibition hall. Krista Mölder’s photos are always connected to the topic of presence — being-in-a-given-place, focusing on identifying its potential as well as its structure. The structure here represents both a kind of formal orderliness and the poetic, phenomenological and philosophical essence of space, expressed through the artist’s multi-layered visual language.
Krista Mölder (b. 1972) lives and works in Tallinn (Estonia). She studied photography at the University of Westminster (London), in 2006 she received her MA from the photography department of Estonian Academy of Arts (Tallinn). Mölder has been participating in exhibitions since the mid-2000s, exhibiting her work at solo and group exhibitions in Estonia, Finland, France, UK, Japan and USA.

09.11.2018 - 05.12.2018

Arkady Nasonov | Minus One

Grey light or journey with eyes closed
Travel, hypochondriac, in order to be cured of your hypochondria!
Travel, misanthrope, in order to love humanity a little!

“Letters of a Russian Traveler” by N. Karamzin

These days last year I came back from an Arctic trip. Speaking with pathos (in the original sense of the word intended by the ancient Greeks), and perhaps that is the way to make announcements about these kind of things – this journey divided my life into “before” and “after”. I cannot say that this was the first and only experience that divided my life but it definitely was one of those. And it is not even about the impressions left in the memory and in the figures but rather about the special state which I had not experienced before. Besides, I had never sailed for so long and so far from the shore. Once I sailed a yacht from the center of Germany to the north of Holland. But the voyage lasted less than three days, we moored to get some sleep, and, in addition, I was a steersman so I had responsibilities and no time to reflect... And here... A year ago, on board the icebreaker Somov, I wrote the following:  

“A monotonous horizon and grey northern fluffy light immerses me, like a person suffering from a meteoropathy, in an almost fetal state. It is similar to the same light that is called Dharmakãya in Tibetan Buddhism – the light that concentrates attention in the corridor of the afterlife world in order not to be distracted by bright temptations of illusions. The light of Luminous Emptiness. This grey light and the infinite ocean space behind the stern help me to focus and finish my script. The closer we get to the pole, the more I turn to my inner self. Like the icebreaker entering the eternal ice zone, I enter the memory zone that I have never investigated before. I died on the shore, and now my afterlife begins... We are moving towards the zero point, to absolute whiteness, purity and emptiness. Two poles. If we pretend that these are two poles of human consciousness, then for me the global Antarctica becomes a rational left hemisphere and the Russian Arctic is the irrational right one. And as I approach this pole, I begin to experience states that I have not known before... The grey haze of the sky wraps me up like a fluffy plaid blanked. I feel like an astronaut in an insulating bath. With a minimum of external stimuli, the brain produces more and more ideas.”

I could not identify this state in any way and correlate it with any past psychedelic experiences. There were comfort zones, absolute disorder, euphoria and despondency altogether. The only thing that was absent in this new state was me. All this time I was lying in my cabin, half asleep and writing down multi-episode dreams. I sent my own duplicate to attend the lunches in the main cabin or to disembark on another Arctic island, or even to draw at the desk. At collective dinners the consciousness of this duplicate could not support lively and healthy discussion of experienced polar explorers, let alone track the thread and the meaning of their conversation. I felt like a thermophilic spy in the midst of obsessive frost men. Oh! How many times have I regretted going on this trip! I regretted it every day but then obviously a fantastic sunset reflected in the northern ice, disembarkation on another island to see walruses and polar bears, double circular rainbows or northern lights got me distracted from self-pity.

One day we disembarked on Bennett Island where a memorial cross was installed in honour of Kolchak who visited the island in 1903 in search of traces of the expedition of De Toll who, in his turn, visited this place in order to discover the phantom island – Sannikov Land. We reached the island by helicopter. A strong wind was knocking down. While the spirits of De Long's expedition were hovering over my companions, the other spirits were hovering and dancing over me... The wind blew prickly snow into my jacket's hood, and suddenly I (or rather, what I sent to the island instead of myself) distinctly heard under the hood a Purcell's melody. And it was not remembering a song or humming it but hearing it! Then something distracted me. The cold and the wind... And somehow I forgot about it. It should be noted that the baroque music is associated deep in my subconscious (and not just mine – those who know, they will understand) with a feeling of cold, freezing or anesthesia. It is still a mystery how this passionate (according to European tradition) music is connected with insensitivity... The poles are closing. Icy passion…

Later, I remembered the incident on the island, and it struck me! What melody do you think I heard there? It was the Cold Song or the Aria of the Cold Genius from “King Arthur” (!!!), which was marvelously performed by the great Klaus Nomi... On the island I heard only an instrumental version without a vocal, the so-called backing track. It was me who served as a backing track at that time…

I began to analyze my state, especially the mechanism of “humming the Cold Song” on the most northern Arctic island, and tried to establish a diagnosis. The closest thing to this state happened to be the syndrome of the psychic automatism. I got rid immediately of this syndrome, called the Kandinsky-Clérambault syndrome, once I made a step from the icebreaker to the mainland. There, however, a new syndrome was waiting for me but I will tell you about it some other time...

Arkady Nasonov

01.09.2018 - 03.11.2018

Irina Petrakova | Come and Hide Here

The solo exhibition of Irina Petrakova in Galerie Iragui continues the long-standing
collaboration of our gallery with the artist. Sculptures and embroideries of Petrakova were
exhibited at the group show of 2014 “Sixth sense you have, or what?” curated by Konstantin
Bokhorov. In 2016, Irina’s multimedia project Apotrebin was part of the pharmakon
exhibition (curator Boris Klyushnikov).
We are very happy to open a new exhibition season with Irinas solo show which is entirely
made up of graphics. The project has been curated by Anatoly Osmolovsky.

“The first work of Irina Petrakova, which I saw and which immediately impressed me, was a
drawn chair. It was a simple chair, but it was unusually drawn – it could hardly be seen
through the solid “hatching wall”. It was the result of the thickening of the hatching as if it
came to fruition out of it. At the same time this work was very mysterious, it wounded the
perception and frightened with some kind of hidden unobvious threat. The chair, perceived in
the artistic context as a sign of the reflexive art of the idea-conceptualism, acquired some
distinct intonations of a horror movie, terror and deep depression.
“The hatching wall” became Irina’s main artistic method. But you have to understand that
Irina's graphics results from withdrawal rather than from addition which means that “the
hatching wall” kind of has been existing originally, and the artist withdraws from this “wall’
its parts and makes certain objects visible. The principle is very sculptural. It is well-known
that the art of sculpture is the art of withdrawal; this has been the law when working with
stone, but when working with clay, the artist also mostly uses the withdrawal of its extra
The art of graphics, of course, is built in the opposite way. When we want to draw something,
we add. Line, hatch, blot...
But in Petrakova’s works, the “darkness” exists from the beginning, and in order to draw
something, one has to get rid of a part of this darkness.
The exhibition makes this method visible. This is not a collection of some random series but
a whole statement. We see how a figurative image is born from the wall of hatching, from the

The title “Come and hide here” is intriguing and somewhat mocking – being offered to hide
in the darkness, you are not even aware of who you are hiding with in this darkness”.

Anatoly Osmolovsky 


24.05.2018 - 15.07.2018

Nikita Alexeev | Welcome to Paradise, under the Golden Skies

The world in which we reside is like a junction station from which the rails and sleepers point in extremely varied directions. To Machu Picchu, and to Chattanooga, and to the First, Second and Third Rome, and to the unrecognized Transdniester Republic, and to Paris-New-York-Sidney-Tokyo-Milan, and to simply Delhi, and to New Delhi, and to Nothing, Arizona, and to Mecca, and to the Moon. Or even further. 

We sit at the station, chewing tobacco and gum, cracking seeds and spitting out the husks all around us. From time to time, a husky voice announces: “The train to Monaco leaves at 28.96 with the binario No. 007. The train to Cambre-La Madeleine is delayed. It will leave from Platform One at 03.03 on the 17th of Marvember of Year Zero of the Common Era. Please prepare your tickets and identity documentation, and inform the security service of any luggage that does not belong to you.”

Today, I don’t want to go to Chattanooga, I have no reason to go to Monaco, and even Nothing, Arizona doesn’t attract me. Although it would be tempting, of course, to become the fourth inhabitant of Nothing. And I don’t need Madeleine cakes until the day after tomorrow, when the tea bags run out.

No, I want to go to heaven. To where the birds in angelic accord chirp, caw, wail and sing. Where the heavens reign over the world, penetrated by a golden light of good favor. I won’t accept anything less. But here the husky voice announces: “Passenger Alexeev, your ticket to heaven has been annulled, as you have a poor credit history. Collect your bags from the left luggage room, you are expected in Office No. Zero.”

I hope that everything will turn out better for you. Think in advance about how not to end up in Office No. Zero at the junction station waiting for your transport.

Nikita Alexeev

16.03.2018 - 16.05.2018

Alexander Vinogradov | Città Ideale

Galerie Iragui presents, “Città Ideale”, the first solo exhibition of celebrated Russian painter Alexander Vinogradov at the gallery. The exhibition takes cue from the eponymous unattributed Renaissance paintings, as a blueprint for the shift from the medieval town to the modern city: geometric patterns, abstract criteria and scientific approaches, often riddled with utopian tension. For Vinogradov, born and raised in the Moscow of the second half of the twentieth century, this ideal city is the new Moscow: A city that was destroyed and re-built for the monumental architecture of the future, and the Great Utopia.


At the heart of the exhibition, major unfinished and unrealized architectural projects from the Soviet period, are showcased by the artist in a new series of drawings, depicting present day's Moscow with its capitalist shock-culture, but in an alternative utopian future. The “Città Ideale” project is complemented with two painterly gestures: The abstraction of images in the course of a journey in between different cities in Russia, and some works from the earlier series, depicting modern life in Italy, in high socialist realist style, almost passing a satirical examination on late capitalist culture.


After several decades living and working in Moscow as a part of the Dubossarsky Vinogradov duo, the artist relocated to Italy, and painting solo, where distance from the tumultuous everyday life of the city, has become an inward gaze: The reconstruction of a future ideal Moscow, is also deconstruction. All memory has already become partly fiction, situated in the indeterminate space between utopia and propaganda. Vinogradov's roots in figuration, also reveal paradox: Running against the conceptualism of the 1990s, is it possible to depict reality at all without its boundaries collapsing?


At moments, the reconstruction of the city is not only historical-physical but also emotional-psychic, how could the destiny of this city be changed or averted? In 1927, Walter Benjamin traveled to revolutionary Moscow, and jotted down a diary of his impressions of urban life under the conditions of modernity -monumental architecture beyond human scale, a 19th century dream from which 'we must awake'. A dialogue on Benjamin's text leads to unexpected archaeological findings on the  field of the future, understanding the tension of utopia as a longing for a remote, infinite, ever-recurring past.    


Arie Amaya-Akkermans 


11.01.2018 - 10.03.2018

Wild Flowers (wildness is contextual!) – Volume II (grow flowers!)

Galerie Iragui is pleased to present Wild Flowers (wildness is contextual!) - volume II (Grow Flowers!) curated by Carlos Noronha Feio. The exhibition brings together work by thirteen international artists from different generations who work in a number of different
mediums. Each work chosen by Noronha Feio for the show examines the motif of the

This exhibition has its origins in Noronha Feio's interest in flora as a representation of
power. On the surface of the show, the naïve and sentimental aesthetic value of the
flower presents itself as a deceptive cover over the deeper conceptual research that the
works truly look into. For example, Marte Eknæs’ video Rainbow Rose, 2012, shows an alternative use for 3D modeling software that was until recently primarily used by the military. Neil Haas’ blind sculptural painting presents us with flowers as counterbalance to his studies of young male streetwise forms of masculinity. Harm van den Dorpel’s work is not touched by his hand, it is rather produced as a consequence of software, algorithms, van den Dorpel devises. Albuquerque Mendes presents what is perhaps the most classical work in the exhibition, a canvas of sunflowers from a series titled The Silly Paintings, where Mendes alludes to the work of other artists, through subtle variations in the mode of painting the elements of the composition in each work of the series. The title of Volume II of this exhibition is in itself an allusion to the beautifully crafted ambiguity of Poem about Flowers by Soviet nonconformist Genrikh Sapgir (1928-1999).

At galerie Iragui, Noronha Feio’s Wild Flowers present several artists that require no local introduction: Olga Chernysheva, Nikita Alexeev, Georgy Litichevsky, and the younger Ilya Dolgov are house hold names that in this exhibition are contrasted with artists such as Lulou Margarine, Daniel van Straalen and Dan Mitchell.

This is an exhibition that has flowers as its core, as its leitmotif, a recurring visual that plays with beauty to present the artists different identities, subjectivities and interests. 

Artist list

Nikita Alexeev (b. 1953 lives and works in Moscow, Russia)
Olga Chernysheva (b.1962 lives and works in Moscow, Russia)
Ilya Dolgov (b. 1984 lives and works in Kronshtadt, Russia)
Harm van den Dorpel (b. 1981 lives and works in Berlin)
Marte Eknæs (b. 1978 lives and works in Norway)
João Ferro Martins (b.1979 lives and works in Lisbon, PT)
Neil Haas (b. 1971 lives and works London, UK)
Georgy Litichevsky (b. 1956 lives and works in Moscow, Russia and Berlin, Germany)
Lulou Margarine (b. 1984 lives and works in New York, USA)
Albuquerque Mendes (b.1953 lives and works in Porto, PT)
Dan Mitchell (b.1966 lives and works in London, UK)
Carlos Noronha Feio (b. 1981 lives and works in London, UK and Lisbon, PT)
Daniel van Straalen (b. 1987 lives and works in The Hague, Netherlands)