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Volume 26 of contemporary art magazine ARTisSpectrum

In Eduard Anikonov's paintings, man, machine and landscape meet in a world where industry and humanity become almost indistinguishable. Anikonov grew up in Magnitogorsk, a city that is a center of Russia's iron industry, and while factories and workers figure prominently in his images, the works are far from being straightforwardly realistic documents. His paintings give that machine-driven world a highly personal spin, projecting a personal mythology onto the brutal landscapes of smokestacks and laborers that he depicts. "Industrial space is a territory that is full of meanings and history," the artist says, adding that one of his main goals is to express a "new myth, new reality, new perception of the habitual industrial environment."

Anikonov creates that new perception by infusing his paintings with a sense of mystery, turning both industrial machinery and human beings into slightly blurred objects, placing them in highly abstract environments. A hulking machine will be placed next to a flat field of color with writing scrawled onto it, or an image of a worker at rest will seem to sink into its thickly painted background. In all of his images, there is a strong feeling of interplay between abstraction and representation. The viewer never loses touch with the world that Anikonov's paintings depict, but that world is transformed as well, contained with the artist’s unique vision.

That vision extends to the distinctive palette that Anikonov employs. Often using just muted browns and grays, he knows exactly when to throw other shades into the mix to get the effects he wants. Glowing swirls of yellow will vividly make the idea of fire come alive against a dark background. Bright blue will unexpectedly appear to depict shadows, while reds communicate the feeling of both sunlight and industrial heat to the viewer. That expressive use of color contributes to an artistic universe that continually offers up visual surprises, giving us what the artist calls a "chance of real involvement, a new emotional experience."

Read original: Link in page Edward in magazine ARTisSpectrum vol.26