Van O

Moscow artist-photographer, Van O, combines a few gears, motors, wires, springs, glassware, and gizmos, adds a few lobsters, pork chops, doll babies, skeletons, snakes, and plant life, stirs in parts of beautiful women and an occasional handsome man, and washes everything in cyan or sepia to create still life images. An inventory of the contents of one of his simpler creations could easily run to pages of items, and the process of assembling his scenes can require months of work. In the end, though, it is Van O's extraordinary skill as a craftsman and composer, his art and magic, that brings order and life to the tumult. There is always a fine finish and a settled sense of rightness to each of these artworks.  There is no visual racket among the disparate elements, no noisy clash of colors; each image appears to be a photojournalistic message made to document and report on life in a very, very strange world.   

"I came to contemporary art from show business — at the beginning of this century I decorated parties in a strip club.  From this work, I accumulated a lot of different materials, including wallpaper with realistic depictions of predators — a panther, a tiger and a wolf.  They served as the inspirations for the creation of the "Predators" triptych, in which the heroes alternately try on the role of a predator and a victim. It seems to me that it's sometimes useful to remind the homo that he may not be the very last link in the food chain — to rid him of excessive pride."