Comfort Zones, 2023, solo show at the Bookstore Foundation, Amsterdam
supported by Amsterdam Fund for the Arts
photos by Gerhard Vollberg and Andrei Tchernikov


visitor at the show, 2023



Born in Moscow in the former USSR, I moved away when I was a teenager and have lived in many countries since then. I never considered myself Russian in part because of my Jewish heritage. But the war in Ukraine had a huge impact on me and it became impossible to neglect my motherland as I had done before.

At first, I was constantly watching news reports and painted small watercolors of myself, often in dark surreal situations. I also made text works in Russian and English.
Shortly after, I taught a course titled: Identity and Self-Portrait at the Age of Apocalypse at the painting department at the Royal Academy of Art in the Haag. I collected different apocalyptic images for my lectures, among others of destroyed Ukrainian city views and landscapes. These images were almost identical to the scenery from my childhood past: the same (soviet) architecture and nature.

Memories and flashbacks from my birthplace overwhelmed me: the view from my window in Moscow from the 11th floor, our family’s Dacha, and travels with my father. It prompted me to paint large-scale landscapes: war images, stills from the movie Stalker (1979), and other apocalyptic footage. In some works, I inserted my naked figure as a kind of wondering ghost. Mentally, the watercolors of destroyed landscapes bounded me as an individual to the collective trauma.

My method of work tries to magnify the aesthetics of fragility and decay. The show raises questions about belonging and safety in the current times.


installation view



Skul from Naples, 2023, watercolor in paper, 42x30 cm



Zone VI, 2023, watercolor on paper, 100x150 cm



Zone III, 2023, watercolor on paper, 100x150 cm



Self-portrait with Cat and Corpse, 2023, 100x85 cm



Zone IX, 2023, watercolor on paper, 100x150 cm



Zone VIII, 2023, watercolor on paper, 100x150 cm



installation view



Sketch for Zone III, 2023, watercolor, marker and pencil on paper, 21x30 cm, framed



Zone II, 2023, watercolor on paper, 100x150 cm



installation view


Storm Poly, 2023, 106x163 cm, print on ceramic tiles



Momentum, 2023, watercolor, marker and pencil on paper, 100x150 cm



installation view with text works



Dark, Darker, the Darkest, 2022, watercolor, marker and pencil on paper, 42x30 cm


Memory, 2022, watercolor, marker and pencil on paper, 42x30 cm



Wonderer Above the Sea of Death, 2022, watercolor and marker on paper, 21x30 cm, framed











Mark