Sputnik Gallery presents an exhibition by Anton Litvin, The Shining. In all its brevity, the project brings together all the main intentions of the artist. The photographs in this series depict the reflection of a solar flare in the domes of Orthodox churches in Moscow taken extremely close up.
Litvin translates these images, a subject typical of banal and amateur paintings, into the sphere of contemporary art. According to Byzantine tradition, a church dome should be onion-shaped and gold-plated, so that when touched by the sun, it reflects it, giving off an ethereal shining that is intended to represent the light of Jesus. In this series of photographs, the domes’ distinct form is outside the frame, but does not disappear; it comes through in the reflection of light and color. The project could be viewed as a compassionate gesture to the national spirit, because these church domes are one of the most important symbols of Russia, but have become a cliché, perhaps more commonplace than nesting matryoshka dolls. Thus, by zooming in and shifting the focus away from the shape of the dome, creating images reminiscent of abstract expressionist paintings, like those of Rothko, one of Litvin’s favorite artists, he brings us back to the original point, the authenticity and purpose of the domes. There is another interesting observation to make. In modern-day Moscow, instead of pure gold leaf, many church domes are covered with new cheaper, yet strong alloys. Litvin successfully raises the question of genuineness, authenticity and simulation, but leaves it up to the viewer to answer that question.
Anton Litvin currently lives and works in Moscow, Russia. He has been widely exhibited in Russia and throughout Europe in both solo, group and performance shows. As noted, he represented Russia in the 2005 Venice Biennale as a member of the ESCAPE program, and was featured in Kandinsky Prize exhibitions in Moscow and London. Last fall, he organized and curated Moscow’s Universam Art Fair that coincided with Art Moskva. His work is part of many private collections throughout the world.