Using archetypes drawn from Russian visual culture of the first half of the 20th century, Gurianov’s work shows a recurrent obsession with male power and virility. Avant-garde utopianism created heroes fit for everyday life in a new world, seen in the photographic art of Alexander Rodchenko and the early work of Alexander Deineka. Later, under the Soviets, such youthful and athletic images of men and women were used as a propaganda tool. Despite appropriating these loaded visual references, Gurianov’s images of athletes and sailors are essentially life-enhancing. Devoid of any obvious political ideology, they are both eternally optimistic as well as playfully subversive.
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