Pablo Tomek & Ken Sortais "Terrasse Critique" (France)

16 May, 2017 to 22 June, 2017

All the works within the exhibition have been created in Moscow during the art residence, and represent the result of the urban environment research conducted by the artists. Pablo Tomek and Ken Sortais met in 2010 in the forefront of graffiti—a practice which has energized them to continue experimenting, now in parallel artistic directions. Usually Pablo and Ken, each distinguished by their own unique style, act on their own, but this time, in attempts to create a certain synthetic portrait of modern Moscow, they are interested in finding common ground in their artistic methods. The TBRG Open platform always supports unusual collaborations reflecting the spirit of the times, and the "Terrasse critique" exhibition is the first attempt of dialogue and cooperation between artists with varying perspectives on art.

The source of inspiration was meeting with passers-by, visiting subway stations and construction sites, the work of local graffiti crews painting in the urban outskirts, girls, parties, policemen—in a word, all that caught the eye, all the adventures on the way. The photo documentation and impressions were transferred to the canvas with the help of painting and DIY-printing, which is a combination of the methods of Ken and Pablo. The works were created in the workshops of the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin that promotes young Russian artists and is currently extending its geography to foreign projects. The exhibition is also supported by ARTIS Project, whose goal is to make contemporary art part of everyday life.

Observing the city, its rhythm, malfunctions and muted problems, Pablo Tomek derives a new language from these daily rituals of life, a language which is deliberately imperfect, unfinished, arising at the intersection of the layers of paint and urban reconstructions. Through mythological and cinematic citations, Ken Sortais immerses the viewer in unmarked but vaguely familiar universes, constantly maintaining the state of duality— between reality and illusion, spoken and unvoiced, obvious and hidden from the eyes.

Graffiti on the wall, pieces of cake in a confectionery showcase, an unfamiliar face snatched from the crowd in the metro—every situation or element of the environment becomes a potential trigger for the creative process. To enrich this approach, artists also work with objects found on the street, which have lost their status, meaning and identity—unraveling the omnipresent enigma of consumption, elevated by people to the status of the sacred.

Ken Sortais:
“The process denoted by the neologism we have introduced—“Terrasse critique”—can be described as follows: you sit on an open terrace of a cafe sipping on a drink, staring at each passer-by who knows how to attract attention. An exceptional style or facial expression, a fresh approach or a passage of a lofty creation—the street takes the form of a chart that is extremely interesting in terms of analysis and criticism.”

Pablo Tomek:
“We are not the only ones who experiment in this way, but the result is always unpredictable: the exhibition embodies our practice of terrasse critique. The visual research, set off by the research of Moscow and its inhabitants, is built on the observation and borrowing of individual elements of the environment, which later become integrated into our visuality. Representing them in the combination painting and sculpture, we are making another connection—between our artistic method and the new territory we have explored.”

More about the participants:

Pablo Tomek was originally interested in abstract painting, but gradually graffiti has revealed the possibility for him to apply the semantics of abstraction to the environment, discarding the figurativeness of the font. Today, his visual language lives and develops drawing from the city, absorbing the aesthetics of abandoned construction sites and the self-organization of streets. He is interested in “picturesque mistakes” and nuances of color offered by a modern urban landscape.

Ken Sortais hardly spends time in his studio, preferring to go out to the streets: he has recently created sculptures that take a new look at city spaces—parks, cemeteries and parking lots. His visual language was formed under the influence of animation pioneers—Disney, Fleischer, Iverx—and monochrome graffiti can still be seen on the well-viewed facades of Paris.


The exhibition supporters:


“Artmossphera”—an independent creative association, an agent of support and development of street art in Russia, the creator and organizer of the Biennale of Street Art of the same name (2014/2016), the only international festival in Russia dedicated entirely to street art. The main project of the Biennale "The Invisible Wall" was located in Moscow "Manege" in September of 2016 and ended up in the top three in the nomination "Exhibition of the Year" according to The Art Newspaper Russia.

ARTIS Project was founded by Anastasia Potanina in order to transform contemporary art into an organic part of everyday life, as well as to support contemporary Russian artists. At present time and place, it connects traditional art exhibitions, musical evenings and performances, live communication between visitors and iconic persons of the Russian art world. ARTIS is striving to create a club of like-minded people, whose members will be those who are interested in contemporary art in all its manifold manifestations.

The Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin was created by the founders in 2008, its doors are always open to artists who create their works outside the frames, boundaries and conventions. The Foundation's mission is to promote young Russian artists, to help realize their creative ideas. Since 2011, the Foundation has had its own workshops—here the ideas of modern authors are born and take form, works are created for the projects of the Foundation. With each new project, the Foundations capabilities are strengthened, bringing it closer to accomplishing its mission. Today, the geography of participants is expanding, new partnerships are being formed. Foreign projects are attracting increasing attention of the public and representatives of the world of contemporary art.

11.12 GALLERY was founded by Alexander Sharov in 2005, and seven years later a branch in Singapore was opened. For ten years, the gallery has been introducing viewers in Russia and abroad with artists, works of contemporary art, modern art practices and trends in both Moscow and regional schools of Russian art. The portfolio of the gallery lists participation in international art events. The artists of the gallery participated in the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, the Urals Industrial Biennale, the Krasnoyarsk International Museum Biennale. Their works are kept in collections around the world.

TBRG OPEN is a global music platform created by Tuborg brand for the dialogue between different cultures and generations. TBRG Open creates the beat for future trends, assisting in the organization of promising events and reveling new names to the public.