b. 1982, Russia

Sanya Kantarovsky Artworks

Sanya Kantarovsky's paintings show ghastly but delicate subjects that appear to be caught in turmoil, as if submerged in endless reflections about the meaning of existence.

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Will to Death

Kantarovsky's subjects appear marked by a will to death. Physically and psychologically at odds with reality, they are left to their own devices on the blank page or set against sombre landscapes that seemingly replicate the insides of their own heads.

This death drive appears evident in Jimmy Page Auto Asphyxiation (2018), in which a young man holds himself up by a cord, or Woe to Wit (2019), where a man in black is coiled in reflection above orange and purple spectres and human skulls.

In Cataract (2019), a bleeding corpse-like man kneels on a sand-white beach as a seagull watches over. With a wrinkled face and a single eye, he clutches his injured arm and looks to viewers with resentment.

Children and Innocence

Representing all phases in the cycle of life, Kantarovsky's works often show children as symbols of beginnings and innocence being sheltered or manipulated.

Accordingly, Good Host and Curtain (both 2019) show a young faceless figure led to a door from which a malicious hand emerges, or with their vision obstructed by the hand of an adult wearing a sour expression.

Printed on washi paper, figures and landscapes are rendered with sharp contours, as if to emphasise the reality of disillusionment.

Meditations on Impermanence

Kantarovsky's painted figures are assembled from elements gathered from illustrations, film, and advertising to offer pointed meditations on anxiety and impermanence.

Highlighting the universality of his concerns, Kantarovsky has said of the painting Violet (2016), a portrait of a man sitting on a train with a dog wearing a red cone, 'it's like a moment that never existed but you feel like you've seen before.'

In the watercolour-and-ink painting Rites in Pumps (2020), a red-heel-wearing Rabbi is arched over a dying woman. Partially distorted by the strokes of watercolour and ink, both bodies evoke the elusivity of death and the artifice of the promises of religion.

Just as stark, Uramado (2020) shows a ghostly woman with angular bangs and hollowed eyes looking towards the viewer while behind, a bald man lays flat on the ground with his teeth sunken into a brick.

Browse Artworks
Woe to Wit by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, print
Sanya Kantarovsky Woe to Wit, 2019 Woodblock print on washi paper
47 x 33 cm
Asia Art Archive
Good Host by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork print
Sanya Kantarovsky Good Host, 2019 Woodblock print on washi paper
47 x 33 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Curtain by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork print
Sanya Kantarovsky Curtain, 2019 Woodblock print on washi paper
40 x 29.5 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Cataract by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork print
Sanya Kantarovsky Cataract, 2019 Woodblock print on washi paper
40.5 x 32 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Woe to Wit by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork print
Sanya Kantarovsky Woe to Wit, 2019 Woodblock print on washi paper
47 x 33 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Meat by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork painting
Sanya Kantarovsky Meat, 2019 Oil and watercolor on canvas
40.6 x 30.5 cm
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Taka Ishii Gallery
Baba II by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork works on paper
Sanya Kantarovsky Baba II, 2019 Monotype
50.4 x 39.7 cm
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Taka Ishii Gallery
Jimmy Page Auto Asphyxiation by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork works on paper
Sanya Kantarovsky Jimmy Page Auto Asphyxiation, 2018 Monotype
76.4 x 57.4 cm
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Taka Ishii Gallery
Bobik II by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork works on paper
Sanya Kantarovsky Bobik II, 2019 Monotype
49.8 x 39.3 cm
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Taka Ishii Gallery
Boring Flames (teal) by Sanya Kantarovsky contemporary artwork works on paper
Sanya Kantarovsky Boring Flames (teal), 2019 Monotype
50.6 x 39.9 cm
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Taka Ishii Gallery
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