Artist in Focus: Sergey Piskunov

April 27, 2021
Artist in Focus: Sergey Piskunov

'Rose Mask 3' oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm


In our always online world, even the most easily provable fact can be drowned out in the never-ending snarl of alternative facts and badly spelled insults rumbling on the web. When you can’t even confidently state that the world is round without risking an argument, it’s safe to say that reality isn’t what it used to be. It takes the crystalline focus of hyperrealism cuts through this seething background noise of life in the 21st century. In the works of Ukrainian born hyperrealist Sergey Piskunov’s however, he playfully and deliberately explores the dichotomy between our exterior and interior realities; blurring them together until they are impossible to separate. Piskunov’s paintings come across as postcards of his internal life: both strikingly realised snapshots of the world around us and puckish glimpses into the state of his soul.


 'The Special One' oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm


A classic example is his oil on canvas work The Special One. Rather than a romantic vision (or indeed a portrait of a certain infamous ex-Chelsea manager) Piskunov has assembled a small mountain of stuffed black plastic refuse sacks. Their bulging, gorged forms seem to have as much in common with the swollen bellies of reptiles as humble polyethylene. Perched triumphantly in the centre is a single golden sack; a pearl in this man-made oyster. The humped gargoyle mass of the sacks seems to suggest a single hulking entity as much as abandoned refuse, with the lone golden sack popping up with a cheeky vivacity. This typical of Piskunov’s approach: evocative and suggestive, rooted in reality but subtly surreal.


'Silver Balloon with Tape' oil on canvas, 140 x 140 cm


In Silver Balloon with Tape, he presents the balloon of the title as a bulging heart, pushing through dangling fragile tape like a marathon runner erupting through the finish line. The delicate lilac background belies the thrusting energy of the piece, which has a sense of barely constrained motion. Much like The Special One, there is the same hypnotic undertow to the painting’s reality, a patchwork of the sensual and symbolic as rooted through Piskunov’s own disguised viewpoint. As a result, Silver Balloon with Tape feels as weightless as its subject, possessed of a nimbleness that moves as fast as thought.


'Golden Mask 3' oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm


Golden Mask, by contrast, features a human model – her lips delicately parted and her face festooned with slivers of gold like some fantastic warpaint. Despite the presence of life, Golden Mask is even more dreamlike than the previously discussed works, with his model’s face veiled in deep black shadows that feel as otherworldly as the far cosmos. In each of his paintings Piskunov finds new territory to explore in the hinterlands between the mind and real space, leaving a breadcrumb trail as elegantly plotted as his brushwork. His work is fashioned with an exactness that many would aspire to all of its own, but it’s the hidden paths and suggestions of a private symbolism that elevates his art even higher. All art is a conversation between artist and observer but with Piskunov’s work he manages to conjure a world both dreamlike and grounded and all of his own.

- Max Feldman 


 'Yellow Balloon with Tape' oil on canvas, 140 x 140 cm


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