Vladimir Potapov skillfully uses pop art lessons. He cannot be called an artist of the Warhol type, a cynical manipulator of human weaknesses and a tough conceptual provocateur. But the fact that in his projects there are elements of manipulation and seduction of the viewer, strict conceptual removal of the image and deep thought out of the materials and media that he uses, it is impossible to deny. The result is always striking in a literal and figurative sense: Potapov not only possesses artistic skill, but also understands how to subordinate the almost uncontrollable element of painting to his will.
Potapov’s new series “Reality” was made unconditionally with references to the history of pop art - a story that has long been appropriated (and many will say have stolen) media stars from art, personified primarily by the figures of Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst. Those who are trying to follow in their wake are lacking in numbers. Potapov is not one of those. He acts thinner. First of all, he is a researcher, a researcher of reality and image - which was originally Warhol. But Potapov has been doing this research using the “deep pit” methods, preparing material, both physical and figurative, in his series for many years. Since art has undergone strong changes since the time of pop art, both reality itself and our perception of both, such methods seem more justified. In his projects, the artist literally buries himself in the picture, exfoliates it, clarifying some new, important relations with reality, including the mental, the derivative of which the picture is. There are no pictures in nature. They are only in our heads.
A series of "Reality" is about that. Although at first glance one gets the impression that it is about the attitude of Moscow skyscrapers, the famous “seven sisters” (Stalin’s personal authorship in the projects of which is practically proved today), and the shiny wrapping paper laid under the painting layer; about the connection of the majestic representation of the imperial “Russian world” and its conflicting glossy component - of course not; it is only a surface. Potapov’s convincingly discovered technique - an increased scratch effect - equalizes the figure and the background, the unconditional provability of the photographic fact and the carefree sparkling of the wrapping ornament; both layers rub against each other and cast doubt on each other. The artist unfolds this flickering metaphor in a deliberately neutral technique, as if deprived of the author’s expression of a painting that covers a thick sheet of plywood with a thin film. We can say this is a conflict in all its beauty; a conflict that takes into account both the history of art and the history of a country where the study of reality using art methods often became an occasion for political persecution. This is a celebration of painting for the post-truth world. This is the work of an artist who knows for sure that nothing can be subject to final approval.