49.jpg 07.09.2020 - 31.10.2020

Olga Bozhko Every Cook

Just ten years ago, the national identity seemed to have become obsolete. It was awfully
inappropriate to say “I am French” or “I am Russian”. The enthusiasm related to the former glory of
one or other nation vanished when it turned out that all that heritage is absolutely worthless in the
new world, where people are constantly transforming throughout their lives. However, by the end of
the 2010s, a new wave of national identity washed over the world. With no irony or no critical
distance. The previously oppressed nations have risen and inspired at once those who were
anything but expected at this festival of national renascence – the power nations that made the
world shake. We started hearing people say “I am Chinese” and “I am American”. Now it has
become inappropriate – I would say, even impossible – not to identify oneself in any way in the
table of ethnic groups, cultures and state entities. But seriously, we did not return to the 19 th
century. Then why all these national antics? Is it a sort of a global cosplay? Maybe, after all, this
second awakening of nations has some kind of historical relevance, practical worth, or, at worst,
applicability in the national economy? Scientists are arguing, journalists are disputing, emotions are
running high on social networks. They cannot find a clear-cut answer.

And here the pot holder comes to the rescue. It is a simple yet perfectly symbolic object. It protects
hands from the fire when they are engaged in the ancient art of cooking. That is exactly what is
expected from the perfect nation state – to take on the function of protection while citizens are
peacefully doing their business. Peace and quiet. Decorated with the colors of the national flag, as
in Olga Bozhkos project, the pot holder allows you not only to define your identity but also to get
quite definite benefits from it, here and now – day after day. Even with football fan scarves, created
to clearly distinguish no less imaginary identities, this does not work – they are certainly scarves,
yet they are rarely used to keep warm. But Bozhkos pot holder demonstrates a strong and
harmonious union of the symbolic and the practical. You can even take it with you to a
manifestation. Lets imagine: hundreds, thousands of people marching and smiling, waving their
pot holders with, for example, a Chinese flag. It looks like reality. Now imagine the same with
Czech, Danish, Moroccan flags... Unexpected, but quite realistic.

And since, according to the recent events, the national question 1 is here to stay, shall we focus it on
similar areas? At least, it will be useful. In the art of cooking, despite any globalization, the ethnic
trace is strong. We understand well when people talk about Italian, Indian, Japanese cuisine. So let
the kitchen space itself be a national reserve! Just imagine visiting your friends and seeing the potholder with a Georgian flag hanging next to the stove – you can get straight away that within these
four walls there is a culinary consulate of khinkali, phali and khachapuri. Thats good. You can get
a stamp in your passport at the entrance. Meanwhile, the neighbors have a German pot holder and
a queue for sausages in their kitchen. And they pour beer – everything is clear. We just have to
choose which gastronomic tour to go on. Stereotypes in this case even seem to be adorable. And
may no national question with conflicts and claims of the past, no insults to the feelings of ethnic
groups, and definitely no “great power chauvinism”, go beyond the walls of the kitchen!
But I wish it was only about the new nationalism – as the artist shows, everything is much more
serious. Recognizable symbols of the Soviet project are being reconstructed for the tenth time. The
emerging post-Soviet rituals – from official St. George ribbons to protest emblems – are on air.
Every day we are invited to join one or other party which suggests, in particular, the adoption of a
certain set of symbols. A filter (attitude) for a profile picture, a sticker (worldview) on a laptop, a T-
shirt with a slogan (accusation), a graffiti (challenge) on the way home – all this is so ubiquitous
that no flags can compete with this amount of political declarations. You cannot hide, you cannot
run away. The key question is how to live with it. Well, the same way Rimbaud answered and the
same way Olga Bozhko repeats in her project: day after day.

Sergey Guskov


02.09.2019 - 02.11.2019

Natalia Zourabova Red Heat

"We have been friends with the Iragui Gallery for about ten years and I am very pleased to present my paintings there.

I brought landscapes, portraits and interiors from my studio in Israel. All of them have been recently painted with oil, mainly from life (or from sketches from life), which is why the special Middle Eastern light and sharp chiaroscuro are so important in them. Artists will understand me: the absence of half-shades and half-tones requires a special approach.

The themes of my paintings are simple: I usually paint or draw what the eye catches from everyday life, what will surprise and shock me when images “wander” in my head and finally I find myself at the canvas trying to figure out the reality. Such aesthetic challenges are my constant source of inspiration. “Jaffa. Construction” is a painting from the series that I have been painting on the balcony of my apartment for several years. In this series, one can see how a gradually growing new house hides the roofs of the old Arab city.

Or take these two paintings from the “Texas, America” series. One of them portrays a homeless old man on a blue background. I saw him two years ago sitting almost unconscious on Sixth Avenue in Austin. And the other painting shows a typical breakfast of two friends in one of the roadside motels in Texas.

But let me make a small digression and tell you who I am and what is behind this exhibition.

I was born in Moscow in 1975. From 1986 till 1993, I studied painting and drawing at the Moscow Academic Art Lyceum of the Russian Academy of Arts (MAHL RAKh). I graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in 1999 and from the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS) in 2000, and then left first for Germany where I studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, and later for Israel. There I resumed painting.

In 2011, in Tel Aviv, I and five other artists born in the former USSR (Zoya Cherkasskaya, Olga Kundina, Anna Lukashevskaya, Asya Lukin) founded the New Barbizon group. The name of the group refers to the Barbizon School of Painting which was established in France in the 19th century. The artists of the Barbizon School made landscape painting an independent subject for pictures. While the French Barbizon gathered to paint from life in the Fontainebleau forest, the New Barbizon group took to the streets of the modern city. Thus, the social aspect came forward in our paintings. Over the years, the group has got followers and admirers in Israel and other countries. I hope that the Russian audience will soon get to know the works of the New Barbizon."

Natalia Zourabova

07.06.2019 - 15.07.2019

Alexey Tregubov Does the space change when it is being watched?

The third exhibition of Alexey Tregubov at the gallery turns into a laboratory room where the experiment that poses a number of questions for the audience takes place. Where does the object end and begin? What is beyond its limit? How does the object move? What is time? Does the space change when it is being watched?

Alexey Tregubov considers experiments with the reverse perspective of space as the starting point of his artistic life – he started them when he was still at the Moscow Art School in Memory of Year 1905. Continuing his professional education at the Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute, he brings together the experience of non-linear understanding of space and the study of the influence of image on architecture. Working in the theater, the artist proceeds to the experimental study of stage space – the one that emerges as the result of relationship between the stage and the audience. Simultaneously, he opens a gallery of contemporary art “Room” in the theater where he states the main idea of his work: “space as the key to understanding the artist”. The artist subsequently develops this idea in his museum projects as an architect and curator. The solo exhibition at Galerie Iragui is a concentration of the experience of various spatial sensations. The author uses a circle – like an eye pupil, a slot in space and in time – as a basis for his artistic method. By mixing different phases of movement in the same plane through circle patterns, using round mirrors through which a reflection of the gallery's dimensions can be seen, the artist offers to the viewer a special key to understanding the exhibition space.The first experiments with motion photo-fixation conducted by Eadweard Muybridge in the 1880s–90s became an impetus for this work. They became the last forerunner of real cinematography. The artist's desire to stop time, to go back to images created over a hundred years ago and to re-interpret them, pushes him to re-interpret the classical art technique of “oil on canvas”. A mirror surface in the spatial experiment as a tool for reflecting something else – something unknown and painfully familiar at the same time – refers us to the photo-fixation of space and objects.

11.04.2019 - 01.06.2019

Linda Carrara Madonna delle rocce

The title of Linda Carrara's project, "Madonna of the rocks", refers to the works of Leonardo da Vinci, which become a starting point for studying morphology of the landscape of Adda river. The artist envelops the rocky shores with a frottage hatching that reveals the shape and softens its contours, giving the impression of a Renaissance "sfumato". In the works of Linda historical and artistic memory of native landscapes, which were once captured by Leonardo, becomes visible and tangible, and therefore even more ambiguous. The artistic practice of Linda, which fluctuates on the line between painting and sculpture, natural and synthetic, is built around this concept. 

Linda Carrara was born in Bergamo. She graduated from the Brera Fine Arts Academy in Milan, then continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Gent. Linda has also received the Terna Award for the work of Outer Space (2015), which explores light as a means of painting. The artist lives and works in Brussels and Milan.

14.02.2019 - 06.04.2019

Xenia Dranysh | Pink Punk Opera

A girl’s room is a separate world of self-expression where, having forgotten about four walls and being only in the company of your own reflection in a wall mirror, pocket mirror or on the iPhone screen with a webcam turned on, you can play most of your leading roles. Just use your own body and change your image by dressing up as the main tool for excitement and self-inspiration!

Here I am – a lead female dramatic character who experiences a great sadness, and here I am – a passionate lady who is longing to finally see her boyfriend, here I am – a queen, here I am – a funny foolish girl, here I am – a decisive person who is gonna accomplish the impossible, and here I am – miserable, looking in the mirror, trying to get a clue or comprehend where a mistake was made, here I am beautiful, with the eyes that can tell everything and lead the crowd. We explore ourselves. Thus, over the many years grimacing in front of the mirror, we acquire new skills, become more plastic and able to express ourselves; we discover ourselves for ourselves, both outside and inside. We learn from ourselves, or rather from our own reflection, which, on the one hand, is us, and on the other hand, is not quite us, but the rays of lights falling perpendicular on a smooth surface.

We see ourselves in the mirrors and webcams of our iPhones, laptops, and (for some reason) we believe our eyes. Daily selfies taken with a phone as well as social networks let us be whoever we want. Our possibilities are truly endless. Today you are your own director, your own actor, your own film crew, whoever you want. Someone perceives it as a game and entertainment, and someone – as the truth and reality. I prefer playing a lead role in my life, and right now it is the role in Pink Punk Opera. Therefore, I will sing my diary notes, dress up in different clothes and dance in the dreams of my imagination, taking it all on camera and laughing at myself, bringing together the seemingly incompatible images and words, allowing myself to be absurd and punk-pink.

Xenia Dranysh

December 2018