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27 Jul 2011

Kerim Ragimov: Fear Fair at Regina Gallery Moscow

Kerim Ragimov: Fear Fair
Regina Gallery Moscow


29 June - 6 August 2011


Regina Gallery Moscow
4th Syromyatnichesky pereulok
105120, Moscow

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For the first time in Moscow, Kerim Ragimov's personal exhibition Fear Fair opens a new page in the collaboration between the artist and Regina Gallery. The exhibition explores the state of fear, one of the basic human emotions and a particular focus of the author's attention during the past five years. Ragimov brings new expression to a theme which he before devoted an exhibition in 2006, Human Project. FEAR Version at the Museum of Forensic Medicine in St. Petersburg.

The theme of the Cross as a symbol which can overcome fear is revisited in different ways: in Ragimov's own paintings, particularly the four largest hanging in the main space, and in the 365 plastic crucifixes left in the corners of the gallery. In a similarly symbolic sculptural gesture, 277 balloons filled with helium make a reference to the 277th article of The Russian Federation Criminal Code, which allows for the punishment of criminals in Russian law through imprisonment or the death penalty.

The contents of Fear Fair's pictorial canvases may be interpreted as 'frightening' because of the indeterminacy of Ragimov's colour scheme, which is situated in the range between two main colours. In 2011, May Ragimov wrote to The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Emergencies proposing a new scale of colours for classifying the level of perceived terrorist threat. The Ministry later replied to the artist expressing their gratitude.

The canvases in Fear Fair also contain another reference point. Each picture resembles a flag used in a 14th February 1956 holiday procession for the American football team the Chicago Bears. 16 fans from the parade died at different times and in different places, sometimes in mysterious circumstances. Very little is known about this event.

At the end of the 19th century Konstantin Korovin formulated the essence of painting as a struggle between reds and greens. In the 1990s Ragimov used such an opposition as a guiding-point for his own painting. The roots of such an investigation, the confrontation and interference of these colours, can still be seen at play in the artist's work of today.

Ragimov has also stated that amongst others he is strongly influenced by ideas of the great philosopher and martial arts practitioner Bruce Lee, founder of a hybrid fighting style and philosophy he named Jeet Kune-Do. Through the succession of each pictorial series Ragimov denies the notion of his own style, just as Lee found himself overcoming the different styles of martial art which had existed before.