Valery Koshlyakov (sticky art, sticky tape art, Art or Death)
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    Valery Koshlyakov


    One of the most succeful Russian artists Valery Koshlyakov was born in 1962 in Salsk (Rostov region). He studied in Rostov M. Grekov art college. Then he has begun to interest in realistic painting. After graduating from the college Koshlyakov began to work as decorator in the local theater of musical comedy and had an acquantance to artist Avdey Ter-Oganyan. He introduced him to the works of the Western avant-garde. In 1988th Koshlyakov became a member of the artistic association "Art or Death". Avdey Ter-Oganyan was its leader and the assocoation also included artists Alexey Sigutin, Yuri Shabelnikov, Nikolay Konstantinov, Vasily Slepchenko, poet Miroslav Nemiroff, musician Sergei Timofeyev, etc.

    Valery Koshlyakov, Dispute, 2001, Private collection

    The first exhibition of the group took place on March, 1988th in Taganrog. There were avant-garde paintings and the show finished with a kind of scandal. Just the well known Rostov’s art historian and collector Alexander Tokarev helped them. He managed to explain what is interesting in their strange pictures. The second exhibition of the Association was entitled "Bugbear" and was held in a few months in the cooperative... toilet. Shortly after "toilet exhibition" artists moved to Moscow. "Art or Death" association lasted until 1991th. Exhibitions were being organized in the gallery which Avdey Ter-Oganyan started in artists squat in Trekhprudny Lane. Their actions and performances became increasingly radicalized.

    On the contrary Valery Koshlyakov is one of the most "quiet" members of the group "Art or Death». Before moving to Moscow he painted on canvas but in the early ninties found the perfect material for his works - packaging carton. Unique technique of the artist is a combination of  "poor" materials with an exalted theme. Koshlyakov became famous due to the majestic "canvases" with the image of architectural and sculptural monuments of various empires. He wrote the Roman buildings, Greek statues, Gothic cathedrals, government buildings of the Stalin era...

    Valery Koshlyakov, Worker and Collective Farm, 1995, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, Emblem, 2006, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, Assumption Cathedral, 1997, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, Embankment, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, A Boy, 2000, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, Heroe's Head, 1991

    But the pictures by Koshlyakov don’t seem so brave as the photographs in guidebooks. Torn cardboard and flows of paint give the effect of unreality. And famous buildings in Koshlyakov’s works are similar to the long-abandoned ruins. But even in this state they are mythical creatures. Additionally Koshlyakov write his monuments almost in real size. In 2003 one of these projects was submitted to Russia's pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale.

    Valery Koshlyakov can be called a classic post-modernist. He creates spectacular fantasies of classical art. His large-scale paintings are a kind of "portraits" of the great architectural monuments of Greece and Rome, the legacy of the Renaissance and the ideal "compositions" of constructivism. Parthenon and the Colosseum, the frescoes of Pompeii, the interiors of Gothic cathedrals, Constructivism and the Stalinist Moscow are his «noble sitters». He can "dive" in the cultural space of any period of art history and then mark on the canvas concise formula of time.
    Elena Selina
    art historian, the director of XL gallery, Moscow

    Works by Valery Koshlyakov are mainly noncommercial, many of its projects are site-specific, that is intended just for the certain space. His materials live too short. To create his paintings he often uses the cardboard boxes, found in a garbage can. Another favorite artist material is sticky tape. In 2000th Koshlyakov presented installation "Izba" in Marat Gelman's gallery, where all the interior details have been "painted" with colored tape on the wall. And in 2003th there was an exhibition in the gallery "Regina". Then the artist made the reproductions of famous paintings with sticky tape.

    Valery Koshlyakov, Sticky Tape, 2004, Private collection

    Valery Koshlyakov, Sticky Tape, 2004, Private collection

    In 2001th, the Schusev Museum of Architecture exhibited three-dimensional objects by Koshlyakov. There were booths made with painted cardboard. In mysterious ways they look like elements of ancient, classical, baroque, avant-garde architecture. In 2005th, the State Russian Museum was made another exhibition by the artist, titled "Clothes of space. Ikonuses». According to Koshlyakov «Ikonuses» contain the idea of looking for "personal church", the place just for one person.

    Picture sources:,

    22 Mar 10 | Views: 9748 | Tags: Avdey Ter-Oganyan, Valery Koshlyakov

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