Friday, 7 October 2011


A definite highlight of our Far Eastern European extravaganza was discovering the quirky work of Mikhail Karasik in the Avant-Garde Museum, St. Petersburg. Karasik is a leading exponent of the Russian 'artist book' movement - creating unique handmade books that combine literature, art and design in low print runs (usually less than 20). Karasik utilises graphic imagery and pop-style colours often fused with lithographs created in his own studio. The books are pieces of unique, idiosyncratic art (each edition slightly varied) yet also literary texts to be read. 

The Avant-Garde show featured large prints of the artist's work, each piece immediately suggesting a recognisably 'Russian' aesthetic. Karasik's early 20th c constructivist and futurist influences are obvious, however his treatment is far more humorous, the colour palette softer and lighter. His sepia and pastel tones modernise the stark, aggressive gravity of the communist reds and blacks of Constructivist Alexander Rodchenko's style. Karasik uses iconic Russian imagery in a playful, absurd way - Red Square's creepy Lenin Mausoleum given a vibrant pink sky, while Lenin and a bearded crony are given a summer holiday vibe as they chillax in a beautiful garden.

See more of Karasik's brilliant work here.

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