21 x 29.7 cm
Gouache on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Hans and Wilma Stutz Foundation
Street Art. House No. 1
Thanks to a donation by the Hans and Wilma Stutz Foundation in Herisau, Switzerland, in 2015, the Museum Haus Konstruktiv now owns five works on paper by Andrei Prolettski (born 1963 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia). Prolettski also donated a sketch book to the museum as a gift. The small collection of works by this contemporary artist – who was born in Siberia and attended the Surikov School of Art in his hometown, and who works with drawings and paintings – is exemplary in regard to one of the key goals of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv: Exploring the influence of Constructivist and Concrete Art’s legacy on contemporary art today. Although Prolettski is always on the move, always looking – he has traveled to India, Vietnam, and Africa; has lived in Germany, Switzerland, and France; and has explored Pop and Minimal Art, as well as the Russian avant-garde – his work still displays a striking similarity to the Russian pioneers of Constructivist and Concrete Art. This likeness does not merely stem from his embracing the clear formal language of geometry, but is rather the result of his taking constructivist orders and charging them with symbolic and universal meaning that goes far beyond art. The French curator and author David Rosenberg writes that “all art in Prolettski’s eyes is the attempt to find the relationship between our world and other parallel worlds, or between our dimension and other related dimensions.” He adds that the artist has “a clear interest in esotericism and occultism,” and that he is “steeped in classical culture and is fascinated by ancient religions, the art of the pyramids […] the cathedrals, […] alchemy and freemasonry.” The idea of a spiritual realm, a truth hidden behind things that takes the form of art, is something Prolettski shares with Kasimir Malevich, the painter of the famous “Black Square.”
While the fact that Andrei Prolettski’s grandfather was an architect and his father a chemical engineer may be partly responsible for his pictures’ revealing an affinity with modernist industrial architecture, this is not the only reason. For one, his representations (sometimes planimetric, sometimes axonometric) of austere architectural structures enable him to transform a geometrical order (which he often drafts on scale paper) into a playing field of chromatic variations. Second, his black-and-white works like “Manhattan” and “Operation Room” revolve around the creation of moments of visual ambiguity (similar to Josef Albers’ “Structural Constellations” series of works from 1949 on). By breaking up the two-dimensionality of the picture surface, he opens up different spaces that extend beyond our everyday visual experience.
Andrei Prolettski’s works have been displayed in many group exhibitions, including in shows in Brussels, Moscow, New York, and Zurich.