The new exhibition at the Ruarts Foundation brings together two artists in one exhibition space, being conceived as a journey into the sensory world of man, without taboos or restrictions, centred on pure emotion.
Tondo, the option of a round format, is the only thing that unites the artistic utterance of the authors. The tandem alludes to polar views on female beauty and the co-existence of feelings brought within the circle. In portraits created by the man, women’s emotions are conveyed in the classical tradition of romanticized sensuality, in contrast to the understanding of the female artist, whose works have a frighteningly honest, open and comprehending attitude to experiences.
Alan Khatagty is a storyteller using the language of sensations. The titles of Alan’s works are important, directly and literally dictating how the image should be read, or from what angle it should be viewed. For example, ‘July Morning’, ‘Déjà Vu’ and ‘Adagio’ expose situational constructions, distracting viewers from reality and smoothly, in a circle, leading them into imaginary worlds. A cacophony of colour pleasantly excites the spectator, while dramatic contrasts evoke unexpected tenderness. The heroines are vital, their bodies and energetic gestures resemble the archetypal images of goddesses.
Katerina Borodavchenko’s hyperrealistic tondos are quite the opposite. In the modern world, where it is easier to remain silent, and hide behind a soulless emoji icon in correspondence instead of expressing fear, disgust, joy or sadness, Katerina’s works appear as the manifesto of a living person with sincere feelings and passions. Art history provides an example of a tondo apparently close in terms of emotional intensity – Caravaggio’s painting ‘The Head of the Gorgon Medusa’, which in its time became a symbol for breaking the canons of beauty. Katerina’s heroines, her close friends, and she herself, express their emotional state with maximum clarity, unconcerned about their own attractiveness. Such honesty calls into question the ingrained stereotypes in portrayals of women.
The ‘Tondo Tandem’ exhibition features a series of works by Alan Khatagta and Katerina Borodavchenko first shown in 2018 as part of ‘Russia. Realism. XXI Century’, a large-scale group exhibition organized by the Russian Museum, and then in 2023 under the title ‘Laughter, Tears and Dreams’, at the Modern Art Gallery in the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan in Kazan.