Leslie Manasseh meets Katia Kesic on a journey from Moscow via Brixton
Katia Kesic, as an individual and an artist, represents a meeting between the East and the West – a fusion between very different artistic traditions and very different countries.
Born in Moscow she began painting as a small child, attended art school and went on to win a prestigious presidential grant to study in the UK. She moved to Brixton and began her studies in art and then architecture in Chelsea College of Art and the Metropolitan University.
Schooled in a Russian tradition which emphasised formal drawing and painting techniques, she suddenly found herself in a very different environment with fewer rules and a much broader definition of artistic endeavour.
The disciplined figurative and representational traditions of her country of birth were replaced with a wholly new approach in her country of choice. Here was a much more fluid world where the emphasis was on conceptual art as an emotional experience, and where painting was simply one medium among many.
The clash of traditions was also evident in her new neighbourhood. Compared with the uniformity of Moscow, Brixton opened her eyes to a world of cultural and ethnic diversity, vibrant colours and a rich street life.
Her paintings use the formal techniques of her training to capture the textures of Brixton. The results are bold, confident tableaux of quintessentially Brixton moments frozen in time.
She is fascinated by what she describes as the “exotic next to the everyday” which is the basis of one of her key works Iceland and is an ever-present theme in her series of paintings of Brixton – SW9 and Churchday.
Katia’s work has been well received in the UK. An example can currently be seen until 21 April at the Mall Galleries, St James’s London SW1A 2BN open daily from 10 – 5.
Katia is still on a journey to develop her visual language. She describes how she began life as an artist determined to capture an almost photographic quality in her work. She is now developing a looser style based on a mix of the abstract and the figurative.
She has found that Brixton is a great place to continue this journey.