Amanita: Russian Alphabet
At Dadiani Fine Art
Book Launch: 29th September 2016
Exhibition: 29th September until 30th November
The Russian Alphabet Colouring Book marks the first publication of Russian artist Amanita. Suitable for all ages, his fantastical images form a unique world – they are like modern variations of illustrated manuscripts, packed full with elements of Soviet and post-Soviet cultures.
The book also works as an introduction to the Russian alphabet. Every drawing depicts a word beginning with each letter from the Cyrillic alphabet, also shown in English, giving a light-hearted guide as to how the letters look and sound.
The subjects of his illustrations are wide ranging – from political leaders: Lenin, Gorbachev; to inanimate objects: Tupolev aircraft, Sputnik; via Tsars, cosmonauts and Constructivism – these classic Soviet themes are interwoven from one page to the next, all rendered in an abundance of detail. His amazing and skillful images define a previously unimagined graphic landscape that takes the humble colouring book into a new dimension.
‘Amanita’s work is mesmerising, not only for his phenomenal craftsmanship with ink, but also for its wry political humour in the vast context of Soviet history.’
– Thomas Heatherwick
Alexander Erashov was born in Ermak, Kazakhstan in 1972. His pseudonym is Fly Agaric, or Amanita in Latin. This is an allusion to the invariable black/white/red palette of his artworks, their poignant sarcasm, and their tendency to stand out against a background made up of other artists.
Amanita’s graphic sheets recall an academic treaty about the order of the universe: he forms his own world, creating his encyclopaedia from a mixture of European and Asian cultures and their transformations in the Soviet and post-Soviet spaces. The artist strives to locate as many images, links, and allusions as possible on a single sheet to provoke the viewer into generating multiple associations. The abundance of detail demands long scrutiny and sequential decoding. Amanita’s sheets are arranged in long series, in which every work is densely filled with characters, objects and ornaments.
Amanita’s faultless craftsmanship stuns and delights viewers; his capacity for outstanding endurance is remindful of medieval manuscript illustrators. It takes him many weeks of extremely skilful and patient work to finish every graphic piece. There are no mistakes or inaccuracies: it almost seems like Amanita follows a very definite plan which has already taken shape in his mind. Civilisation and barbarism, grace and brutality, the fantastic and the real are all interwoven here; it is a world rife with anachronisms and cunning associations.
Please visit the website for more information.