“It’s like classical religious beauty, but in a Black Flag T-shirt,” explains gallerist Mary-Catherine Anderson of cult Russian artist and designer Gosha Rubchinskiy’s latest exhibition at 74Quincampoix, her new art space in Paris’s Marais district.
Entitled “Transfiguration,” Rubchinskiy’s installation combines projected films with photographic collage, culminating in a limited-edition publication of the same name. “Transfiguration is always the start of something new,” says Rubchinskiy, “I’m trying to show my feelings about the moment of ‘now.’ It’s me saying, ‘Here are the things I love and I want to remember.'” Furthering the artist’s ongoing documentation of young Muscovite skaters, the addition of architectural and sculptural iconography amidst his teen portraiture delivers a new sensuality—carefully placed between the sinewy bodies of his gridded collages are snatches of graffitied marble and angelic statues, some echoing the poses of their living counterparts. His book, published by Junsuke Yamasaki of Vogue Hommes Japan, extends the concept to the printed page.
This is Rubchinskiy’s first show in Paris, and comes amidst a surge of interest in his work, no doubt helped by the quiet backing of Comme des Garçons, which relaunched his men’s fashion line earlier in the year. Meanwhile, “Transfiguration” reveals a decidedly underground trajectory for 74Quincampoix. “I’m a ’90s kid from Canada,” says Anderson. “I grew up watching Skinny Puppy rehearse above a skate park.” The link to Rubchinskiy’s punk youth collage might seem superficial, but for the complexity of his work. “You could easily stereotype Gosha’s work as North American skate photos with a Cyrillic overlay, but it’s much more than that,” says Anderson. “He documents these kids’ lives with such truth, and draws his own parallels from history with their current reality.”