Madness can be sad, it can be joyful, it can be constructive.
For a long time, due to respectable reasons (visiting the Islamic State, falling, breaking, staying in the hospital, a little laziness), I postponed my story about a rather unusual and interesting artist. However, after the day with the Photoworld.bg in Kiril Stanoev‘s studio, I braced myself and finished what I started, because I think that the two artists have something in common in their handwriting. And this Russian became somehow more understandable and close to me. Yes, the photographer I want to show you is Russian.
Living in a fictional world is a diagnosis, but making your creative ideas happen in a fictional country, in a fictional time, with fictional characters is a style that distinguishes the bright handwriting of the photographer Petr Lovigin.
Petr Lovigin was born between the Moscow Olympics and Brezhnev’s death in 1981 in the city of Yaroslavl. In 2004, he graduated in architecture and bought himself a camera. Already with his first photographs, he began to create his fictional world, which a year later he called “CostaRica”.
In his Costa Rica, giraffes walk by the Church of the Immaculate Conception, grandmothers play soccer by the ocean, Saddam Hussein loves teddy bears, Woody Allen multiplies on the playground in the city park, and Mother Teresa in kindergarten.
Obviously, no one expects anything from me in a photo, and I don’t owe anyone anything. Therefore, without going into frames, I just photograph my life, with everything that comes before my eyes and thus fill my paintings.
, Lovigin defines his creative credo.
Lovigin says that he often makes photo montages because, as he himself says, in order to bring real giraffes to the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary, he will have to spend all his savings. In addition, even technically it is sometimes impossible to combine some things that are in his pictures. But if imagination outstrips your capabilities, why not make friends with technology?, concludes Lovigin.
In most of his projects, the Russian photographer mixes things that at first glance are incompatible. This is primarily the aesthetics of contrast. The more aggressive the things it combines, the more interesting the resulting picture. Caucasian choir and Orthodox church, exotic African animals and nature around Yaroslavl. In addition, the main characters are either iconic figures or completely unknown people.
When I create such mixes in my kitchen, I see that different things go together harmoniously, and sometimes even look better together than individually.
Takeshi Kitano and other icons
One of Lovigin’s emblematic projects is entitled “TakeshiKitano and other icons”, and the idea for it was born the day Lovigin became the owner of 100 masks of the famous director, his favorite. Then I think about what this image would look like if it was repeated over and over.
“I came to my old school in Yaroslavl and the principal gave me 15 minutes in class. I gave the masks to the children. The faces were 30 by 40 cm – this is the standard size of a human head. It turned out very grotesque on the children’s bodies,” says the first step from his big project Lovigin.
Subsequently, he expanded the images and made the whole series.
Springboard is the Moscow Photo Biennale
In 2008, Lovigin was noticed and invited to participate in the Moscow Photo Biennale with three projects at the same time – “Ordinary Movement”, “Jamaica” and “TakeshiKitano and other icons”. This springboard allows Lovigin to exhibit in China (Festival in Pingao), in Paris (PassagedeRetz), in Israel (Museum of Art in Ashdod), in Istanbul and Thessaloniki. Received multiple publications in the pages of the French LeMonde.
In December 2009, his first book “Costarica-soul”, based on the photographer’s online blog, was published, and in May 2012, his second book “Planet Lovigin”, about his travels in Russia and Georgia, was published.
From 2010 to 2017, he visited about a hundred countries, including the DPRK, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Senegal and others.
Lives in Moscow and Porto (Portugal). Since 2016, he has also been involved in video, has his own YouTube channel “PetenkaPlanet”, and also creates in the genre of “primitive animation”.
Author: Krasimira Pastirova