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Bernardi Roig, Nastasya F. Barashkova

Exhibition : Thursday 07 January → Saturday 20 February

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday Closed
Rue Saint-Georges, 13 - 1050 Ixelles map

Nastasya F. Baraskhova is the pseudonym of a Russian actress and painter, of undetermined age, closely linked to the underground scene of the so-called Moscow chamber theatre in the 90s. With an indolent but vigorous appearance, engulfed gaze and monomaniac character, she specialised in the interpretation of the monologues of a single character from Russian literature: the great tragic, vicious and virtuous figure, from Dostoevsky's ‘The Idiot’, Nastasya Filippovna. This single character actress is also a single theme painter; a reiterative and obstinate abstraction of vertical stripes, similar thickness, proportions and self-absorbed dimensions, always painted on small-format handmade paper. Obsessive, insistent and of great precision, both on stage and in her painting, she never wanted to show her works to the public. This will be her first exhibition, in dialogue with recent drawings by Bernardi Roig. There was only one non-negotiable condition: the papers must not be framed or have glass in front of them - they must float - opaque and absorbent - on the walls in the space and be presented in a rhythmic and sequential way. This project presents a selection of undated works produced in her studio apartment at the Stroganovsky Proyezd, very close to the Andronikov Monastery in Moscow, where the painter-monk Andrei Rubliev spent the last years of his life. Watercolours and gouaches have absorbed the memory of the formal, self-referential and serial abstraction of the American artists of the sixties. A diaphanous materiality, trembling but exact, that invents a space that is not theoretical, but empirical, and that can feel like a substance of colour, but above all of light. It is the refinement of the experience of a lacerated intimacy in the course of being made. An insistent and disturbing repetition of supports and surfaces; it is no longer enough to know something; it must be repeated. In these decisive abstract images by Nastasya F. Baraskhova, Bernardi Roig saw an anomaly, neither symbolic nor formal but perceptual, that is the image of some curtains that covered a scene with an uncertain ending; he sensed the dialectical tension produced by an image that shelters its opposite in its entrails; an image that shows the impulse of dissatisfaction that beats behind any comfortable surface. Roig proposed making a joint exhibition to the Russian artist to link two apparently antagonistic but highly theatrical visual poetics that fertilise each other: the curtain and the scene behind. The series of drawings and watercolours by Bernardi Roig present in this exhibition, made in the twilight year of 2020, are the attempt at a subcutaneous dialogue with these paintings by Nasatasya F. Barashkova and explore the possibility of giving visual form to a part of literary portrait enclosed in the pages of ‘The Idiot’; that of General Jepantschin Alexandra's daughters, Adelaida and Aglaya, trapped in their liquid carnality. The exhibition is completed by a joint sculpture, the only work made with two heads and four hands: the small portrait of a subject collapsed by excess of reality, P.S. Rogozhin, the executioner of the tragic heroine of ‘The Idiot’. This exhibition shows us the place where an image is camouflaged and the possibility of establishing transversal links of meaning mediated, in this case, by the great tradition of Russian literature. There is no image that is not indebted to another that precedes it. When that debt tightens, the seams of the incestuous memory that crushes artists burst open. It then seems to be the unexpected. If time and relevant authorities allow it, the two artists will be present. Or perhaps just one of them, which may be the same…