Encyclopedia Book: The New Cherkashin
Valera and Natasha Cherkashin are internationally renowned artists and a married couple. They have been working together for almost 40 years. Their creative works are original and unique and their thinking is spacious and multi-faceted. Many prominent art historians and cultural figures believe that the names of Valera and Natasha Cherkashin will go down in art history. This year, the artists have finished writing a major book. In it, they tell about their life and the development of their works. The Global Women Media news agency calls upon its readers to support the project aimed at contributing to the preservation of an important cultural legacy.
Valera and Natasha Cherkashin are outstanding artists working in the field of multimedia art. Their artistic portfolio includes more than 200 solo exhibitions and about 300 art events including actions, performances, and happenings. The couple’s works are included in major museum and corporate collections in the USA, Russia, and other countries. For example, their works can be seen at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow), the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the State Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg), the Russian State Museum (Saint Petersburg), the Art Institute of Chicago (the USA) (1994, 1998), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (the USA) (2003, 2005), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the USA), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (the USA) (1998, 2005), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (the USA).
The Cherkashin artists are characterized by their unique ability to detect serious social questions before they are noticed by the public at large. In their works, they seem to be one step ahead of time. They rethink and visualize everything that is happening in the world using bright images.
As noted by art historians, as artists, Valera and Natasha Cherkashin can feel very well the relevance of upcoming ideas. They were the first to address the topic of cultural breakdown during the collapse of the Soviet Union. They reacted to the changes taking place in their surrounding environment when the consequences were not that obvious. Many spectacular metro stations were opened and a huge number of monuments to leading figures of the epoch were erected during the Soviet era in addition to the creation of many unique buildings and parks of that time. Few people could imagine that all that would soon be supplanted by another culture.
Another ahead-of-time project by Valera and Natasha Cherkashin was dedicated to the disappearance of European banknotes and the transition of banking systems to the euro. The artists strived to show the value of money not in terms of aesthetics. They wanted to preserve the vanishing beauty of those vivid images of world personalities depicted on the old banknotes. The project was highly appreciated and supported by the European Union. The exhibition itself took place at the World Bank in Washington, DC.
Using unusual and unconventional though very simple materials is one of the important features of the original style of Valera and Natasha Cherkashin. It is simply impossible to confuse them with any other artists. According to the couple, creativity has always been a living process for them. For Valera and Natasha Cherkashin, the world around them is the best ‘canvas’.
Another important element of the artists’ work is their attempt to rethink the legacy of the Russian avant-garde, the work of Kazimir Malevich and other Suprematism followers. In their projects, Valera and Natasha Cherkashin started transferring the aesthetics of the avant-garde onto the ‘canvas’ of the Soviet and post-Soviet realities. For example, they used the Pravda and the Izvestia newspapers as archetypes of the Soviet period for their artworks.
Adhering to the geometric traditions and supplementing them with their original views make Valera and Natasha Cherkashin unique artists. They continue the work of the Russian avant-garde representatives by not only maintaining the movement’s principles but also contributing to its development and going beyond painting in the multimedia field.
Today, the authors continue to develop, change constantly, and respond to pressing socio-cultural issues. They are interested in issues that are understandable and close to most people. Valera and Natasha Cherkashin work with different cultures and do not limit themselves to certain spaces or materials.
For several years, the artists have been working on another important project simultaneously with their artistic activities. They wrote a diary book about their life, artistic path, and creative ideas. It is vital to preserve those information materials for future generations as an important part of the cultural legacy of Russia and the whole world, as emphasized by people with extensive and deep experience in the history of art.
Aleksandra Shatskikh, Soviet and Russian art historian (the extract is taken from her address to Valera and Natasha Cherkashin at the presentation of their first book):
“You can sense shifts in culture. You know how to materialise them. As an art historian, I know that this is the trait of outstanding artists! When I look at you and everything you do, I think that you are the only ones keeping your finger on the pulse. You do it in such extraordinary ways, with such ease, and with such understanding! Your intuitive insights are amazing. The fact that you write and publish books about your creative path and your life is just amazing. It means that descendants won't have to collect bits and pieces of information about all the valuable things you have done”.
Vadim Gushchin, artist and photographer whose works are included in many museums and private collections worldwide, winner of the Grand Prix of the ‘Silver Camera’ contest of the Moscow House of Photography, Honorary Member of the Union of Photo Artists of Russia:
“The pieces by Valera and Natasha Cherkashin are literally embedded in the culture of Russian and Soviet art. Their artworks are original and at the same time based on strong cultural traditions.
It often happens that geniuses are only noticed decades and centuries later. However, we have a unique opportunity to get to know their work here and now. I am strongly convinced that descendants will highly appreciate the works by Valera and Natasha Cherkashin. Today, our task is to preserve their creative legacy.
I believe that if art historians researched their works deeply and systemically, they would recognize them as classics of art right now. Their book, in which the authors openly share their thoughts, life stories, and artistic path, is the best and most correct way to let people learn about their work”.
Publishing a book is a process requiring much effort and financial resources. The Global Women Media invites you to support the authors by raising funds for the publication of the ‘The New Cherkashin’ book.
Anyone wishing can contribute to preserving the cultural legacy.
Contacts: Valera and Natasha Cherkashin +7 926 530-74-21
Marina Volynkina, Head of the Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov