‘The Throne of Thyatira’ is a new series of paintings using Gaponov’s signature technique of bitumen and Kuzbass varnish and inspired by a passage from the Book of Revelation (2:18 - 2:29), in which God sends a message to the church at Thyatira (modern-day Akhisar in Turkey). The message mentions the wife of King Ahab of Israel, Jezebel, whose name is associated with the Apocalypse, with heresy and with depravity. Jezebel is important to the artist as a symbol of our time. Historical and religious motifs are not new for the artist. Gaponov’s work, like this passage from the Bible, is an attempt to capture the pre-apocalyptic condition.

The still life genre is entirely appropriate to the artist’s current mood. In this series, death is an eternal life of delusion and mirage, from which there is no escape. The artist carefully places the  symbolic attributes of this mirage on his altar, along with the flowers and fruit. The works appear to be classical still lives against a background of Orthodox icons, but are spiced up with odd details. Alongside fruits and skulls, the tables are crowded with other symbols which speak for themselves. The images hint at heresy, decay and immorality. The muted, sombre colours, the dark gold and the epic theme slowly absorb the viewer’s attention. A feeling of torpor arises, accompanied by something akin to hostility...

The artist hits the target. If one considers that pictures are ‘a mirror of reality’ then it may at first seem that this feeling of disgust is a reaction to a grotesque parody on the horror of the world around us. Only later does it become clear that it is a hostility to our over-the-top, sick, soulless, trashy world, with its ubiquitous attraction to emptiness and pointless gigantism. 

(from the text by Alexandra Rudyk)


The exhibition "Thyatira throne" is given by the gallery "Triumph". Moscow.

The Project is supported by the Committee on Culture, St. Petersburg, Art TV news and information portals Look at me, The Village and Geometria.