CONTEMPORARY Russian visual art is definitely worth exploring, and after some of the works of Sergej Šablavin, a representative of so-called Moscow conceptualism, were presented in 2008 in the Slovak National Gallery, an overview of his creations from the 1970s until 2013 can now be seen in the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB).

“This painter belongs among the prominent representatives of Russian non-conformism, i.e. art that was an alternative to the official culture in the former Soviet Union,” curator Katarína Bajcurová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

“It was unconventional art that stood in opposition to socialist realism and had no chance of being officially presented in exhibitions,” she added.

Šablavin himself admitted that Slovakia is close to his heart, adding “your country is like a bridge between Russia and the west”. The artist started painting very early on, although he graduated from an artistic academy only in 1981. He first focused on abstract painting influenced by Kandinsky and Miró, but later, figurative motifs and nature themes started appearing in his works.

In the 1970s, he became part of the fertile and creative atmosphere in Moscow, within the so-called Lost Boulevard group, which had a significant impact on his work. Šablavin created a unique connection between photo-realism and elements of trompe d’oleil (visual illusion), conceptualism and constructive-geometric methods.

The current exhibition in the GMB is comprised of a selection of 36 oil paintings from various cycles and periods, all of which are impressive and unique. The show can be seen Tuesdays through Sundays between 11:00 and 18:00 in the Pálffy Palace on Panská Street, until June 15.