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History Via Aestheticized Physics: The Latest Art of Stass Shpanin

Replacement of Power from 2013
Replacement of Power from 2013

A stunning exhibition at Gridchin Hall in Moscow showcases American artist Stass Shpanin via his latest exercises in uniqueness, "Forecasting the Past” . The artist who became the youngest ever professional, continues to push the envelope of vision, acuity, and possibility.

 

Born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, one of the former Soviet Republics, Stass Shpanin (now 25) has achieved more than most young artist can possibly dream of. After graduating with University Honors in 2012, Shpanin travelled to Russia on a Fulbright fellowship to continue his visual research. During this Fulbright project, Shpanin also obtained an nternship at the PhD department of the Surikov Institute of the Russian Arts Academy. Then, after graduated from the Art School of the University of Hartford, Shpanin got listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being named the Worlds Youngest Professional Artist with his artworks presented in the collections of George W. Bush and the first President of Azerbaijan Geidar Aliev. 

Stass Shpanin
Stass Shpanin at his exhibition in Moscow

Even a cursory glance at Shpanin's artworks and the history motif of his paintings becomes evident. However, the intonation is only superficial, for his genius is in showing what lies beneath oiol paint on canvas. The new exposition “Forecasting the Past” is actually split into two different parts reflecting the history of Russia and the United States through visual objects.

In his first part of the exposition called “Displacement”, the artist connects the fragments of Russia in the 19th century in pictures, artifacts and armaments. The end rusult is the reproduction of Russia's past through the visual memory that was displaced. The artwork “The Last Sigh of Sleipnir” (below), which is the key painting of this series, is a synthesis of biological forms of the history and myths which were merged in that frozen landscape. 

The Last Sigh of Sleipnir - oil on canvas
The Last Sigh of Sleipnir - oil on canvas

The second part of the exposition is named “The adventure of colonel Colt”, which represents the past colonial heritage of the United States. As some Americans use to say “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal”,  this series of artworks shows Colt's inherent "double standard", as well as his changing personal nature. Indeed, few people know that Samuel Colt expeditions involved trading arms and bargained with opposing parties. According to one legend, during the Russo-Turkish War Colt granted both the Russian Emperor and the Turkish Sultan two revolvers from the same set and said: “Your neighbors have already bought my revolvers. Don't you stay behind”.

In order to understand Shpanin's artworks better, the exposition moderator Vitaly Patsukov commented via interview:

“I was astonished when I first met Stass at Skolkovo Innovation Center. He lectured the young physicists and taught them to aestheticize the scientific terms. “The adventure of colonel Colt” is a culturological oasis placed in the frame of the art. Saving the future by saving the past is the main artist's focus. It is a unique genetic code that connects time and space”.

Meanwhile, along with the Gridchin Hall exposition the Smack Mellon Gallery in New-York has also welcomed visitors for the project “History of History” where Shpanin's paintings from the series “Trialectics” are among the other works of famous artists. In “Trialectics” (see image below)  the figures of Russia and Europe before the revolution are brought together, while at the same time being split apart.

A Trialectic Hour
A Trialectic Hour

Shpanin's exhibitions take place in the USA, Italy, France, Russia and Azerbaijan, while his artworks are at private exhibitions at Jasper Rand Art Museum, Maccabi Museum, Museum of Russian Art in New Jersey. In 2014 Shpanin became the member of board of the Art School of the University of Hartford.