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Tania Rivilis (b. 1986, Ukraine) 

Tania Rivilis began painting at the age of 27, after moving to Germany in 2012. Working hard on technique and creating her own signature style, just one year later Tania entered the art world with her first solo shows. Tania’s works range from classical to modern expressive style. For several years of working with painting and graphics, the artist held exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands, and USA.

In 2016 began a collaboration between Tania Rivilis and Russian jeweler Petr Axenov, which led to many special projects, both for private and state collections. Her two drawings based on “War and Peace” novel by Leo Tolstoy were part of the Axenoff Jewelry House exhibition at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

Tania’s paintings are now part of museum, gallery, and private collections (like Jonathan and Stuart Hyman collection) all over the world, such as state museums of St. Petersburg (Saint Petersburg Museum, Vladimirskiy Palace and Marble Palace), Astoria Hotel (Rocco Forte Hotels), private collection of Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Seraphim, private collection of fashion designer Lee Paton, and more.

The work of Tania Rivilis is distinguished by a wide range of themes and a variety of techniques: from classical and academic portraits to contemporary impressionist works, from gala oil portraits to graphic drawings. Her signature style reveals a personal desire of art experiment and paying homage to traditional craftsmanship at the same time: this is a concept of classical art in modern interpretation.

The artist strives to combine forms, colors, and art history in order to find a new expressive language of beauty. Searching for interesting images and types, conveying the soul through appearance and gaze – Tania’s works are focused on the philosophical reading of the human image and the dialectical concept of the human soul.

Artist’s statement

In my artistic practice, I explore the limits of the portrait genre. I actualize the old pictorial tradition in new systems of knowledge, in fundamentally different worldview perspectives. The subject of my research is relationships.

I often refer to a paired or group portrait, and even in a solitary image I accentuate the presence of the silent interlocutor outside the canvas. I make portraits in which there is always a reference to the other. Because only in another’s gaze, through a prism, can the subject be assembled into a coherent image. Because otherwise a portrait would be an empty shell, a set of individual external features. The living image holds on to this reciprocity from outside, as if outside the gaze, outside the touch or coexistence, the subject would disintegrate, and with it the whole picture would go astray. In this way I make sense of one of the most traumatic discoveries with which the history of the twentieth century is stitched, a discovery at the intersection of psychoanalysis and semiotics: the lack of a once and for all given, fixed integrity of the human self. In the interconnectedness I express the necessary search for a reliable support to define, to answer the question “who am I?”

When I moved to Germany a few years ago, I discovered for the first time the freedom of relationship and personal becoming. It is fundamentally important for me to show that the lack of a stable anchoring of the subject to a definition is not so much a misfortune as a potential freedom of choice, a potential multiplicity of forms and ways of actualizing the self. In my work, I try to capture situations, moments in which a person in relationship to another discovers again and again the possibility of becoming.

The conscious choice of my characters is love in its multiple forms and manifestations. It is important for me to express technically easy ephemerality, freedom, the possibility of partial dissolution in each other. In my expressive style of writing I use gradients, connections, voids and tense color fields. These techniques go back to early modernism, to the tradition in which painting exists on the border with graphics, as if unintentionally passing into the realm of ephemeral matter, understatement. Such painting simultaneously refers the viewer beyond the canvas and signifies the materiality of the canvas, the flatness of the picture, the illusory nature of all life-simulation.

By combining the dense materiality of volumes and semi-abstract patches of impeccable color I create an image as if inscribed into a magnetic field, into the limits of a vibrating air environment. The dynamics of volume and abstraction reveals the way painting becomes itself – through the effort, through the contradiction of the real and the illusory. The color fields cut through the conventional semiotics of the portrait, opening the emptiness, a breakthrough into the external, unmarked Real.

According to the thought of Georges Didi Huberman, the voids, the gaps are a sign of displacement, of breathing, of life and mutual tension. It is as if the painting is able to meet its gaze with the viewer, to challenge his primary right to look. In addressing this paradigm of painting, I work in the aesthetic mode described by Jacques Rancière – erasing hierarchies of form and content, eluding once and for all given definition. The mimetic function of the portrait is displaced by the event that unfolds within the encounter between the work and the viewer. It is the viewer who is the unchanging other in whose perception art is able to exist.

When the portrait was secularized, framed as a genre and interpreted as the prerogative of the elite, the image became frozen in the semblance of a tribal coat of arms or seal. The portrayed subject with his views, profession, position, and complexion was paused. There was no room in the portrait for the separation of the sensual in common space-time. In confused, bewildered modernism, the sensual ceases to be an outcast, love is freed from hierarchies. The problematic of my work goes back to this decisive, but never fully realized, turn. I seek to portray a love like Franz Kafka’s love for Milena. In such love there is always an understatement, it is excruciating because of the impossibility of complete immersion, of absolute unity of living beings. This system of relations is also relevant for the viewer’s perception: my characters wear neutral facial expressions; neither I nor my viewer have the opportunity to penetrate their souls, to fully share their experiences. The manner of writing is only an indirect sign that there is a storm behind the detached countenance.

I problematize the artistic image in time. What matters most to me is the story of the person. The way the past and the future collide in a caught moment, in this infinitely extended, frozen present. The way another self is born in an instant. In the shortest temporal interval of “now” the human finds a chance to become, but often does not have time to do it. Painting is the only thing that protects them from non-existence, brings them back to life, to the oscillation between two temporalities: the internal history and the external time of the viewer’s perception.

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EXHIBITIONS:

2015 – solo exhibition in Alt Wien gart space. Dortmund, Germany

2015 – solo art exhibition “Back to Classics” in Gruppe 11 gallery. Bochum, Germany

2016 – group art exhibition in Galerie Bücken. Herzogenrath, Germany

2016Offene Ateliers Kohlscheid

2017 – an exhibition of portraits of the royal Romanov family in Astoria Hotel. St. Petersburg, Russia

2017 – group art exhibition in Urmond Church. Urmond, Holland

2018 – group art exhibition in Art Gallery Rozendaal. Montfort, Holland

2019 – War and Peace exhibition at the State Historical Museum together with Russian jeweler Petr Axenov. Moscow, Russia

2020 – art exhibition “Story Tellers” at the Galerie Bonnard, Netherlands

2020 – 3D virtual art exhibition “Rebound” at the Galerie Bonnard, Netherlands

2021 Arcadia Gallery Grand Opening SOHO New York, USA (March 2021)

2021 Arcadia Gallery “Male of the Species”  SOHO New York, USA (June-July 2021)

2021 – summer art exhibition at the Galerie Bonnard, Netherlands

2021 The LA ART SHOW (the 26th edition of Los Angeles’ largest, international art fair)

2021 Arcadia Gallery “Five under Five”  SOHO New York, USA (August)

2022 – URBAN ZEN (Donna Karan´s studio NYC). Art Curator – Mashonda Tifrere (ArtLeadHer)

2022 – First Art Fair Amsterdam (March 2022)

2022 – Royal Society of Portrait Painters | Annual Exhibition 2022, London

 

ART PROJECTS AND AWARDS:

2016 – collaboration projects with Russian jeweler Petr Axenov for Axenoff Jewelry House

2017 – portrait of Vladimir Romanov is donated to Vladimirskiy Palace State museum. St. Petersburg, Russia

2018 – artwork for the presentation of Axenoff House new collection – the “Sleeping Beauty”. Moscow, Russia

2018 – a special project with Lee Paton Atelier: a group portrait of Royal Romanov Family for Lee Paton´s new collection. London, UK

2018 – a monumental oil painting “Doctor Zhivago” specially for traditional Axenoff Ball. Moscow, Russia

2018 – “Doctor Zhivago” (“Russian winter”) painting for the Axenoff Ball. Moscow, Russia

2018 – “Doctor Zhivago” sketch for the earrings design from the new Axenoff Jewelry House collection.

2019 – portrait of Nikolai II for the Lee Paton Ball. London, UK

2020 – collaboration with art dealer Nick Cox (Period Portraits London)

2021 – NFT sales on Foundation.app and Rarible.com

2021 – the honorable mention of the Contemporary Award 2021

2021 – finalists of the 2021 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize in the Raymar Traditional Art category

2021 – finalists of the 2022 Royal Portrait Society Exhibition

2022 – The William Lock Portrait Prize, a prize of £20,000 for the most timeless portrait with a real feeling for paint and its aesthetic potential.

 

EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTORS:

2004 – 2010 – Moscow Art Industrial University, Moscow. Graphic and Media design.

2015 – 10 days workshop with David Gray (classical portrait). Brugge, Belgien.

2017 – two weeks workshop with Roberts Liberace (classical portrait and figure). Brugge, Belgien.

2018 – private workshop with Ivan Loginov at Royal Art Academy. St. Petersburg, Russia

2019 – 10 days workshop with Cesar Santos (classical portrait). Florence, Italy.

 

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