Elena Kourenkova
their grotesque figures make them look ironic
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Россия (Russie) 

Growing up under the authoritarian Soviet regime, when ordinary Russians had to wear that drab look of obedience and self-suppression, I had always wanted to escape from that total uniformity and find the way to express my vision of life in a different way, reflecting happier, funnier side of everyday existence.
My subjects are always taken from everyday events and my characters might look quite realistic and recognisable, but their grotesque figures make them look ironic-we see one thing but they tell us another. Like many things in life-things are not always the way they seem. There are no other hidden messages or ideology in my work. . Just aesthetically grotesque characters going about their everyday business. In other words, life as we see it but don't always notice.
I want to provoke a comment, a reaction, an emotion. I am not interested in creating just "something" in the frame. I want to make you smile. My characters sometimes seem emotionally isolated, keeping themselves to themselves, even when they are clustered in groups, but they are not lacking emotions, they only express them in their own way. They are content and happy, yet they do not take themselves too seriously. Their self-sufficiency is their freedom…
Some of my works might imply something very absurd and not entirely cheerful in their very idea, but I try to present the subject so it is grotesque or ridiculous, or both. Russians are guided by their emotions, not by common sense, and this has an effect on all my work (whether I am paying myself a compliment here, I am not sure)...

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