Secret Garden 'Vivaio'

November 25 — December 24, 2022 Art Design Human Studio

Co-curated by  Anzhela Popova , Tatiana Antonova

November 25 - December 24, 2022

Man creates parks and gardens and cultivates new plant species. We are constantly modifying the landscape around us, trying to decorate our lives or bring a piece of alienated nature into it. Despite this, the garden remains a place artificially created and regulated by human hands. The 'Secret Garden of Vivaio' exhibition invites you to take a stroll in the midst of contemporary art and nature.

The tradition of gardening has been known since ancient times. The exhibition follows the principle of a private Roman garden, a chamber-like space divided into three parts - an open terrace with plants, a promenade and a garden space for strolling and contemplation. Artists Yan Tikhonenko, Ustina Yakovleva, Katya Pugach and Ilya Romanov closely observe both natural phenomena and individual inner transformations. The creation of objects is associated with the reassembly of the inner self, the cultivation of the whole person through the meditative practices of art. 

Yan Tikhonenko's works reflect a peculiar structuring, formation of new connections and systems from natural and old found objects. The clear contours are a reminder that the garden is the ordered world of man, a kind of reference to the construction of borders. The work is based on a desire to bring out the aesthetic component in places usually devoid of such attention. Deliberate scrutiny helps one to discover the hidden essence of natural materials such as earth, sand, clay, stones or pieces of wood.

The finely embroidered canvases by Ustina Yakovleva refer to the concept of rewilding - returning nature to its pre-cultivation state. The artist's main aim is to fix and recover the memory of the landscape of the past. Graphic works in automatic writing technique sprawl like wild plants or structures and show the impossibility to control nature. It must be set free and allowed to evolve along its own path.

In her new series, Instinct or the Pursuit of Symmetry, Katya Pugach explores the phenomenon of harmony in nature. Her paintings are born from the volcanic black sand of Ostia, known for its high iron content, which the artist applies to the surface of the canvas with a magnet. The biomorphic abstract forms are as if created by nature itself, while it encourages the human desire for order, balance, unity and symmetry. 

Outsider artist Ilya Romanov transfers his practice of work in the Aptekarsky garden to the gallery space. The garden, in the form of an installation of sticks, knitted objects and found materials, penetrates the new environment and continues its life. The artist only sets the direction, while the installation seems to sprout naturally, revealing the undying power of nature. The Melancholia series of paintings exposes the ordinariness and yet chaotic nature of the landscapes.

Secret gardens, which emerged at the dawn of the Middle Ages, became popular in Italy and later in Britain. The exhibition takes the viewer on a journey to discover an enigmatic garden, a hidden lacuna for solitude and meditation. And a visit provides an opportunity to understand where we came from, as well as to become aware of the deep connection between man and nature.


Yan Tikhonenko

Ustina Yakovleva

Katia Pugach

Iliya Romanov