29.05.2015 – 14.06.2015
Triumph Gallery, Moscow
Visually, a banknote is not an abstract or figurative image. Paper money comes laden with hidden signs (such as the watermark), different signal elements, while at the same time it depicts landscapes, architectureand portraits of world leaders. . A banknote per se is a visual epic poem, combining in its minute format historical, geographical, cultural, anthropological and social aspects.
This is the very narrative that Andrei Lev covers in his new project Notaphily. His works are based on the emblem of paper money, the ironic pop art approaches and pop culture cliches. Executed in the inimitable original style of the artist, the works remind of the plates used to print money.
The uniformity of the image intrinsic in real money (the recurring plant and animal motifs, the monochrome palette, the structure) is presented here as an approach. All the various conceptual semantics of money are embodied in the form of references to made up toponyms — Banknote of the State of the Petrol River; or attempts to demonstrate another dimension of the Unknown Dollar; or represent allusions to the subject of Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
Andrey Lev says: "Human culture often demonises money and idealises creativity. There may well be compelling reasons for this. However, the magical power of art, just like the magical power of money, can be used for different purposes. I rehabilitate money in the eyes of the muse and transform it into "the cash that conquers evil". Money is, like libido, a driving force of our civilisation. And if one can wax poetically about libido, calling it love, why can’t we do the same thing with the desire for money?"