"Black is, optically speaking, the colour which reflects the least light ; but when it catches the light on a thousand tiny ridges, you get the impression of a colour going from dark grey to quite light grey. And the areas of grey or black produced in this way have a very special quality which appeals to me and fascinates me. It's a very different quality from the one you get in the traditional way, by mixing colours, and it has something unique and irreplaceable about it..." Pierre Soulages
Hamish Morrison Galerie is delighted to present an exhibition by the Russian artist Andrey Klassen in the gallery's office space. This is Klassen's first solo show with the gallery.
Klassen is one of the most exciting recent graduates to come out of Dresden's HfBK. Klassen works exclusively in ink on paper, and has already established a reputation for having a remarkable control over his chosen medium. But it's the marriage between his incredible technique and his clever narratives that really sets him apart from his peers.
Andrey Klassen creates a distinctive, dramatic world. Many of his images seem to evoke the cityscapes of post-Communist Russia: empty playgrounds with tenement blocks looming behind them, or derelict and broken streets with factory chimneys belching inky smoke in the near-distance. But there is something unsettlingly generic about them too - they could be locations in any post-industrial city. In other works, he plays more surreal games, as the spirits of people and animals haunt lonely figures late at night. And then there are rural, frozen landscapes through which anonymous men struggle. The men seem vaguely militaristic, accompanied by dogs and occasionally carrying guns, their hoods raised to hide their faces.
But while they could be soldiers, they could just as easily be hunters or explorers.
Whichever the figure it is inhabiting this world of Klassen's paintings, it is usually that of a shadow. These shadows often present only the bare essentials, a reduced silhouette with an outer boundary as the sole defining information. The undefined inner and the clearly defined outline takes on a mysterious effect. The shadow profile seems to hold some evidence for the immutability of an individual person, country or environment. In a way, the fixing of a silhouette retains the memory of those now absent.
Klassen's images seem to evoke his own background, growing up on the far edge of the Soviet Union as it collapsed. But they also hint at a shared European experience - a continent of broken landscapes, eerie stories and faceless winter ghosts.
Andrey Klassen was born in Irkutsk, Russia in 1984. From 2005 to 2010 he studied at Dresden's Hochschule für Bildende Künste, and recently completed his Masters under Professor Ralf Kerbach. In 2009, he received the DAAD Prize for outstanding achievement by an international student. He has already exhibited extensively in his native Russia, including a solo museum exhibition in Irkutsk in 2007. He lives and works in Dresden.
The gallery will be closed for the Christmas period from the 23rd Jan to the 4th of January.