The Museum of Moscow and Triumph Gallery present Neon, the exhibition of paintings by Alexander Yakut, featuring the latest works of the famed Moscow artist and curator. Dark, dimly lit depictions of suburbs—highways, fields and railway crossings—are full of the signature internal glow. This explains the name chosen for the exhibition.
With this show, the artist breaks a long, almost ten-year break. The exhibition comprises about 20 works, where some have been completed only recently and will be displayed for the first time.
The paintings focus on urban outskirts, the suburban reality—a phenomenon that has shaped the lives of a huge number of Moscow locals and immigrants. The image of suburban life, as represented in the works by Alexander Yakut, is far removed from the dreamy image of a single-family house with a front garden—Yakut’s suburbanism is determined by a network of empty highways, railroad crossings, high fences.
The artist, who himself has long preferred to live outside the city limits, shows that the space of the suburbs is not an alternative to the modern metropolis but its dark double, a lonely space devoid of vitality, light or joy. His suburbs resemble the “dark side of the moon” or rather the dark side of Moscow with its focus on super-centralization and super-consumption.
The artist's ideas have informed the structure of the show. The exhibition layout is an elongated dark space. The artist intends it to be associated with his favorite image from David Lynch—the highway at night. As the viewer goes along the length of this “highway,” to the right they will see pulpits with the artworks, popping up along the way as if born out of darkness.
The curator Evgeniya Kikodze comments: “The spirit of our museum resonates with the questions that Alexander Yakut poses in his work. On the one hand, he is actively investigating hyper-centralization, but on the other, he is looking into the problematic sidelining of everything and that does not in any way—education, prestige, standard of living—comply with the trappings of the luxurious capital. Whereas sociologists conceptualize this problem simply as the gap between the environment standard in the urban core and in its suburbs, the artist gives us the whole, unabridged 3D picture of “another life,” with clear leanings towards mysticism and suspense that make his paintings somewhat cinematographic. An important expressive tool in this series is the rhythm of repetitive story elements. This trait makes the series closer to poetry or music, in particular dark ambient. The differentiating feature of Alexander Yakut’s work in the modern cultural context is his amazing coloring and the mysterious dark glow, which infuses his stories with an otherworldly vibe and lends the works an amazing gloomy charm.”