Ievgen Petrov
15.03 - 01.04.2014
Riga Art Space

Container, 2014, paper, watercolor, 100 x 150 cm
Paris, 2010, paper, watercolor, 150 x 200 cm
Portrait of Stranger, 2013, paper, watercolor, 72 x 100 cm
Hunting, 2014, paper, watercolor, 67 x 105 cm
On the sidelines, 2013, paper, watercolor, 70 x 100 cm
Dirt, 2012, oil on canvas, 91 x 150 cm
Heat, 2013, paper, watercolor, 68 x 100 cm
The Battle End, 2010, paper, watercolor, 91,5 x 99,5 cm
Crying Dog, 2010, paper, watercolor, 187 x 150 cm
Bald Dog, 2013, paper, watercolor, 72 x 102 cm
Monday, 2013, paper, watercolor, 100 x 150 cm
Explosion, 2011, oil on canvas, 75 x 160 cm
The oil, 2013, ceramic weight, epoxy, metal dish, 12 x 16 cm
Delicatessen, 2013, metal, polymer clay, epoxy, glass, 28 x 22 cm
Mars, 2013, polymer clay, stone, epoxy, 27 x 19 cm

The idea of the "Petrov’s Dogs" project belongs to Latvian connoisseur of art Maris Vitols. He selects in the works of Ievgen the theme of dogs. Such selection has not been used in the Petrov's exhibition activities before. The project incorporates not only works of different periods (from 2010 and completely new) but works created in such techniques as oil painting, watercolors and sculpture.

Petrov finds potential concepts for his exhibition projects on the streets of Odessa, literally. These are disadvantaged cops and bitter drunks, bums and beach goers sunbathing on tinfoil, local idiots and women who were young the day before yesterday, demonstrating with their behavior unwillingness to tolerate the passage of time. 
All these characters are often subjects of political, cultural and other studies, for artists they turn into aesthetic shapes, and for the most modern, yet lazy, artists they are ready-mades in flesh and blood. For quite a long time, from year to year, Ievgen has worked with them on a conceptual level surpassing common opinions of these characters and turning them into their "conceptual characters."
Dogs, the central foci of the project, are Petrov’s first "conceptual characters". It is symptomatic that he starts his genealogical search with an animal whose inherent characteristic is attachment to a human as a "rational animal", despite his set of social colorations, and only then does Eugene proceed to investigating urban fringes of society. Diogenes once warned that the exploitation of animals, including dogs, for one’s use without necessary knowledge is fraught with consequences. To some extent, "Petrov’s Dogs" is loaded with fifteen hundred years delayed Cynic senses. In his time, Oleg Kulik used a dog as a model for his works, but in the end, for him the dog remained merely an aesthetic figure he sometimes embodied, which cannot be said about Petrov’s dogs that become self-sufficient percepts that owe nothing to those who perceive them.
It stands to mention Petrov’s knowledge and watercolor technique. Despite the modesty of the artist, in 2010 at the Salon d'Automne in Paris he became a revelation; at art fairs, Eugene’s paintings are treated with an already familiar suspicion, exposing artificial surrogates of new technologies in his watercolors, such as prints, for example. Indeed, Petrov makes the most of the watercolors balancing between painting and graphics. This clarifies two important things for the contemporary art market. First, people are already starting to be nauseated from the dominance of conceptual art only, of an almost century-long kicking of Duchamp’s corps; secondly, an alternative is always treated with particular suspicion. Basically, this is what Petrov is all about, winging his way through the postmodernist chaos with affects and percepts alongside the concepts. While the vast majority of modern painters compensate shape with color, avoid detailed elaborations in their works, for Petrov the continuity of a line in graphics, painstaking elaboration of both the front and background on the canvas are a priori given. In watercolor graphics artists often lack volume. Petrov solves this difficulty with a masterstroke: he begins to mold sculptures, converting this experience into volume on a painting afterwards. Over time, the sculptures have become an integral part of his art and will be presented in a new project. Petrov managed to establish a kind of non-waste production in a single workshop.
The strength of Petrov is that he has dodged such trap of modern society as the ever-growing pace. While most artists spread themselves too thin on trends, Ievgen methodically sharpens his technique and slowly weaves conceptual webs for his future projects. And even after establishing himself among the top European artists Petrov will not stop and will continue to make certain people looking at the painting feel that a heavily-built female beach goer, pictured in the painting sunbathing on the tinfoil, is more real than the ones looking at the painting. Petrov has every chance to demonstrate that art can destroy the system no worse than barricades.
Sasha Geller
Ievgen Petrov as an uncompromising critic of reality does not leave the audience indifferent. His work is a symbiosis of the expression and delicacy, postmodern story and virtuosity of classical techniques.
The editor of French magazine “Artension” Pierre Susho mentioned in the article "Ruthless watercolor": "I discovered Petrov’s works in last Autumn Salon in Paris. This meeting shocked me as I had met on my way meteorite or alien. His works, despite the modesty and meanness of artistic media, the real art sabotage, destruction of dogma and foundations."
The quality of his two-meter water-colors, with all aspects of classical drawing (details, compositional decisions, texture effects) indicates a strong art education author. Cruel and often fantastic stories of Ievgen are often in contrast and even some conflict with the technique. In all projects of Petrov present the irony, sarcasm and tragic of his thinking. History, time and space in which the characters of his works appeared were always clearly understood. Petrov once said: "I ​​paint what irritates me in reality, in the case of dogs, I often draw myself."
The idea of the "Petrov’s Dogs" project belongs to Latvian connoisseur of art Maris Vitols. He selects in the works of Ievgen the theme of dogs. Such selection has not been used in the Petrov's exhibition activities before. The project incorporates not only works of different periods (from 2010 and completely new) but works created in such techniques as oil painting, watercolors and sculpture.
The project title appeals to the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov. He achieved the Nobel Prize in medicine. Ivan Pavlov has made many discoveries about the physiology of digestion during the experiments on hundreds of dogs. He also the author of terms “conditioned” and “unconditioned” reflexes.
According to Petrov, "dog, taken out of life context, becomes an independent unit, the person. I as an artist primarily pay attention to the animal’s character (eyes), and shape with accurate individual contour and texture (fur). Often I draw fighting and homeless dogs. The domesticated animals do not have experience and self-preservation instinct, they always have hope in someone. Homeless were different - they adapted to the harsh environment and indifference reality. They rely on instincts and usually join a pack of the same beings. Everything here has the same rules - leader of the pack, female, children. It's almost like in people society. But! There are three main differences:
- dogs under any circumstances (whether they are homeless or domestic) will not behave unnaturally;
- they never betray person with which they live;
- they will not can hurt themselves.
And one more things: we can take them to us, but they - not."
In "Petrov’s Dogs" documented circumstances in which animal appeared into a situation created or provoked by a human: indifference, fighting, natural disasters, pursuit or game. Scripts are often cruel and inhumane. But dog is always a dog.

Riga, 2014
Riga Art Space