Retreating in Dreams: Contemporary Artists
Illuminate a Vision of a Better Future
In the midst of recent upheavals in the world, contemporary artists seek refuge by retreating from harsh realities and delving into the realm of dreams. In this sanctuary, they envision alternative realities, brimming with hope and possibility. Their artistic projects embody a vibrant and fertile creative energy, expressed through captivating paintings, intricate mosaics, thought-provoking installations, and community-focused eco-art initiatives.
What initially sprouted as mere dreams and artistic expressions has the potential to transcend into reality. Let us immerse ourselves in these captivating visions and contemplate the profound emotions that would accompany life in such a world.

Anna Kalugina graduated with honors from Moscow State University of Art and Industrial Design of Stroganov, specializing in Monumental-Decorative Painting. Her graduation project showcased her mastery of the mosaic technique. Primarily utilizing mosaic and dry pastel, Anna's artworks also incorporate natural stone, glass, and dry pigment for pastel. This technique holds a nostalgic significance for her, reminiscent of her childhood spent collecting stones and climbing high in swaying tree branches.
Anna's large-scale abstract works, such as "Shell" and "Branches," evoke a sense of childlike wonder and timelessness in viewers. By employing the mosaic technique, the artist embraces simplicity, focusing solely on essential elements and omitting unnecessary details. This approach invites viewers to reconnect with their own childhood perspectives, when the world was perceived without complexity or superfluity.
Anastasia Mokhova's installations explore the intriguing concept of deep memory and the authenticity of our recollections from childhood. Research suggests that our brains don't simply recreate memories, but rather reconstruct them based on emotional imprints rather than objective reality. Upon careful examination, the fragmented and conditional nature of these memories evokes an eerie effect on our consciousness, prompting us to question their veracity. Were things truly as we remember them, or did we perceive them through the movie-like lens or affected by external influences?

Derealization, a phenomenon that challenges the authenticity of real-life experiences, serves as a central theme within Mokhova's installations. Her aim is to replicate the effect experienced by individuals with this syndrome, instilling doubt about the reality of even the most fundamental childhood memories. The installations themselves act as "portals" into new ways of perception, their distinct shapes resembling the familiar portals we encounter in popular culture. By inviting her viewers to detach from reality and question it, the artist suggests that the portals of human perception can be reinvented.

Ruben Sogomonian explores the potential of childhood memories for improving our future through video art. In his work, "The Person Who is Not," there may be an initial impression of darkness and hopelessness, but it contains a seed of radical transformation and hope.

Sogomonian suggests that the disturbing events in the world may, to some extent, stem from collective childhood trauma. Rather than masking this reality, he invites viewers to experience the desperation, loneliness, and hopelessness of a child growing up in the post-Soviet Union countries during the tumultuous 1990s.
Through careful casting and the use of lighting and sound, Sogomonian skillfully conveys the psychological impact of his art. Facial expressions and chiaroscuro lighting intensify the emotions associated with trauma, while unsettling sounds evoke a visceral response. These techniques immerse viewers in the depicted struggles, fostering empathy and introspection.

By confronting the desolation of childhood experiences, Sogomonian prompts society to acknowledge the profound influence of collective trauma on our present reality. He advocates for openly addressing and integrating these memories, offering a path towards healing and transformation.

"The Person Who is Not" becomes a catalyst for change, inspiring hope for a future where individuals and societies confront their past traumas, fostering resilience and empathy. Sogomonian's video art serves as a reminder that even amidst darkness, there is potential for profound growth and a brighter future.
Alisa Ruzavina's project, "Well of Possibilities," held at the Barbican Art Centre in 2022, created a captivating and immersive experience for visitors. Through fabric art hangings and digitally printed wall hangings representing the elements, the installation enveloped participants in a multisensory exploration of the natural world.
The soft sculptures, accompanied by guided meditations, offered visitors a moment of introspection and connection to the elemental forces. The elemental embodiment cards provided a tangible tool for individuals to delve deeper into their own relationship with the environment and their place within it.
Alisa Ruzavina's "Well of Possibilities" aimed to transcend traditional notions of art by inviting active participation and creating a shared experience that resonated on both emotional and intellectual levels. By engaging visitors in rituals and sensory encounters, the project sought to foster a profound transformation of collective consciousness, promoting a heightened awareness of our interconnected existence and the potential for positive change.

Ksenia Kalchenko is a visual artist and curator, who received her education at the British Higher School of Art & Design. She actively engages in participatory art practices, creating installations and curating large-scale open-air art experiences.

Ksenia left an indelible mark on the art scene with her exceptional collaboration at the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve in 2018. As part of a dynamic team of designers, Ksenia spearheaded numerous projects that brought forth captivating installations and art objects. These remarkable creations adorned festivals, concerts, theatre performances, and exhibitions held within the sprawling Tsaritsyno Park, captivating the imagination of the visitor and immersing them in a large-scale vision of a better future. Ksenia's artistic vision extended beyond physical installations, as she also played a crucial role in curating the art published in various print and web materials released by the museum. Ksenia's discerning eye and commitment to quality ensured that the artistic representations aligned perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the events. Her contributions not only elevated the visual appeal but also created a cohesive narrative that resonated with visitors, enriching their experience
Elena Esaulova's E2J jewellery brand, along with her other renowned lines such as Lenaginarium and HLEB, captures the essence of dreaming and envisioning a brighter future. Drawing inspiration from the heritage of Victorian jewellers, each piece embodies a delicate balance between historical symbolism and contemporary artistry. These creations transport wearers into a realm where imagination knows no bounds.

Elena's exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail have garnered recognition from both fashion critics and art curators alike. Her jewellery has been showcased in prestigious venues, including The State Hermitage Museum. Moreover, Elena's creations can be found in exclusive jewellery boutiques across Russia, where her pieces enchant and inspire discerning individuals seeking unique and meaningful adornments.

Through innovative locking mechanisms, Elena's jewellery goes beyond mere aesthetics. These mechanisms allow wearers to effortlessly adapt and personalize their accessories, creating unique combinations that reflect their individual style, mood, and occasion. This transformative nature of her designs resonates with the collective longing for progress and personal growth. Elena's adaptable and versatile pieces reflect the inherent desire to shape and reinvent one's own path, empowering wearers to express their true selves and actively contribute to the realization of a brighter and more hopeful world.

Aaron Taylor