Vika Begalska (b.1975, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine) and Alexander Vilkin (b.1982, Snezhinsk, Chelyabinsk region) are working as an artistic duo since 2014. Both authors were already well-known and recognizable artists, each having his personal background and artistic method when they started working together.
Vika Begalska studied at the Kharkov Academy of Design and Arts. She lives in Moscow since 2001. The feminist projects made her famous. In 2013 she became a co-founder of the artistic platform “The Feminist Kitchen”. Along with the painting as the main media she works with video and performance.
Alexander Vilkin graduated from Chelyabinsk Art College, also he studied at Northwestern Institute of Printing Arts (St. Petersburg) and at “BAZA” Institute of Contemporary Art (Moscow). In 2006 he co-founded the art group “Prosthesis” together with Igor Mezheritsky and Grigory Yushchenko in St. Petersburg. Since 2006 he is also a member of the artistic group Parazit. Since 2014 he lives and works in Moscow.
One of the brightest projects by Begalska and Vilkin – the puppet show Aphrodite's Girdle (as the members of the Teresa Creative Union) which was awarded the State Prize for Contemporary art “Innovation”, nominated as “The work of visual arts”. In 2017 the show was played and became a part of the M HKA collection (Antwerp).
The artists are creating their own poetic world. And we can see that in this world they are equalizing very different characters, even the inanimate ones. The knight-insect, the flower, just painting texture that suddenly is blowing up or the the strangely dressed character is coexisting with the abstract painting.
We are contemplating the total mix of everything, de-anthropomorphizing, denial of all that might be antropocentric; everything is being so equaled that sometimes the characters are falling through the painting. The poetic component makes this combining of incompatible possible.
The overarching idea behind the project “Rafflesian”, which was displayed at Marina Gisich Gallery in 2016, is a picture of perennial returnings, the blossoming and dying of painting, akin to rafflesia.
We can see how the artists are revealing this concept in the further painting works up to this moment.
“The oversaturated and thick fabric of the paintings, the onrush of images, and their languid sensual nature reference the aesthetics of Peter Greenaway, who loves to engage a rich selection of visual associations that draw up lines and quotations from diverse works of art all in a single scene. The artists play with citations as well, composing a whimsical game of solitaire out of imagery, narratives, and motifs. The lush attire donned by these paintings is intended to entice the viewer to join in a guessing game, to become an unwitting voyeur, only dimly aware of what is happening before his eyes. This unexpected move seems risky for the artists, who remain loyal to their chosen narratives, motifs and themes”.
“A succession of morphological similes and transformations allows us to interpret the depicted figures as one large organism in the process of growth, agglutination, division, decay, and death. The coquettish subtlety of the paintings only barely covers the bloodthirsty, infernal and pornographic apparitions, just as old faded photos can unexpectedly reveal evidence of a crime once committed. The very title of the project is an allusion to Rabelais: Rafflesian – Rabelaisian. It is evident in a meaty, fleshy inception and a fanciful mind game where dirty jokes connote erudition and wit reveals itself in the subversion of words, the swaying of puffy bodies, and a feast of flesh. The paintings of the Flemish and Dutch schools invoked by the artists are synonymous with the Rabelaisian spirit”.
- The State Prize for Contemporary art “Innovation”, with nomination “The best work of visual arts”.
Primary solo exhibitions
- "Sightless Sack". Pop/off/art Gallery, Moscow, Russia
- "Saw U". The Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin, Moscow, Russia
- "Field Door Pig Swamp", 9B Gallery. Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
- "Feather". ART4 Museum, Moscow, Russia
- "Splendor and Sensibility". Nathalia Tsala Gallery, Brussells, Belgium
- "His silence is like lightning". Vyksa Art Residence, Vyksa, Russia
- "INBOX: Aphrodite's Girdle". (as members of Teresa Creative Union), M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium
- "Molensteenkraag". Light Cube Art Gallery, Ronse, Belgium
- "Rafflesianism". Marina Gisich Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia
- "Those who have a stomach". Pop/off/art gallery, Moscow, Russia
- Røst Artist in Residence (Røst Air), Røst, Norway
- Military boots ask for tenderness. Puppet show (as part of the Teresa creative community), Lyuda Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia
- "Gertrude". Pop/off/art Gallery, Moscow, Russia
- Belt of Aphrodite. Puppet show. (As part of the creative union Teresa). Luda Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia
- HUB. The 20th Anniversary of Marina Gisich Gallery, Marina Gisich Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia
- "Quarter Past Ten" (curated by TZVETNIK). ISSMAG, Moscow, Russia
- "Reversibility". Loup gallery, New York, USA
- "Generation XXI. The Gift of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin". New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
- "Middle Gate II". The exhibition is a cooperation between M HKA (the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) and cultural centre de Werft in Geel, De Halle, Geel, Belgium
- "It's time for me to decay, you to blossom", Marina Gisich Gallery, Russia
- "Fly Into The Sun". The 24th annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction, New York, USA
- "Mir, Trud, Maj". Kunsthuis Artine, Ostende, Belgium
- "Trans people. The state of in-security", Eyrmilov Centre, Kharkov, Ukraine
- Exhibition of the nominees for "Innovation" Prize X, NCCA, Moscow, Russia
- The State Tretyakov Gallery, Russia
- M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Belgium
- National Center for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Russia
- Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), Russia
- Era Foundation, Russia
- Maison d'Art Actuel des Chartreux (MAAC), Belgium
- Matrix Art Project Brussels, Belgium
- The Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin, Russia
- OMK-Uchastiye Foundation, Russia