February 21 - April 15, 2013

Tenderness or shreds of the juicy meat stuck in the mincer screw. The two-meter screw is hovering in the darkness as the giant space ship from fantastic action movie. The artist paints in fine details the marble veins, twisted tendons and the moon shine of the steel. Tenderness means Hiroshima.

Innocence or the huge bull’s head. The skin is stripped of. The muscles and fat layers are depicted in details. The eye rolled in horror. The blooded horn. And the blue meat processing factory stamp over the bull’s cheek. There is date in the middle. Innocence means the fresh thing.

The guts are shining as nacre in this theatre of flesh; the clotted blood is growing purple, the fat bundles and tangled blood vessels are falling out of the unripped breast bone. Painting is swarming with meat and pluck. What do this meat performance and these monumental pictures dramatize? Are we the honored guests of the anatomical theatre where Dr. Tulp’s successor will now let us into the secrets of body structure? Or should we refuse the over-literal rendering and discover the abstraction texture in these compositions with the flayed carcasses and entrails? Or maybe the artist depicts the soup set specially to disclose for us the mysteries of the world cuisine backstage? Will we understand the idea of minced meat before it will be stewed in eviscerated peppers; are we going to understand the idea of a rabbit before it will be baked in sour cream?

Six scenes from meat life – neither about the first nor the second – though playing the saturate painting show. They are not still lives with table pleasures, or the homage to Rembrandt because of admiring his canvas with carcass, it’s not also paying tribute to Chardin, who immortalized ray and rabbit. The genre of these works is pop-art-mediated. Igor Pestov makes the pictures which are inferior to posters and banners. This painting meets the competition of media-industry and the question is not only about competition between the old mastery of painter and contemporary visual technologies. The painter will always hold his opinion since machinery will not replace the exquisite author’s style.

The expressive naturalism of the artist, who is armed with media-viewing system, is presented in formulas of existential aesthetic allegories. Meat life – is a parable. According to the artist’s concept, all this range of the meat shop hardened in galactic darkness, narrates us about the war of everybody against everyone, struggle between males, the eternal sado-maso love-hate and the rest misfortunes of the human soul. The famous dramas, which characters of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Strinberg, Nekrasov or Sacher-Masoch passed through are staged in the theatre of the flesh . This list – just the chain of associations, not the record of sources which inspired the artist. There is only the sky of silent universe from “A space odyssey” around the minced meat; the moral law is inside us. Painting by Igor Pestov – existential proposition, self-purification, self-overcoming. He loves to compare his paintings with minor accord – strong, solemn and courageous.

Vegetarians, please, do not disturb.

Stanislav Savitsky