Victoria Kosheleva is a painter. Painter in its purest sense, as the expression of intimate truths, emotions and key feelings bordering on a universal texture, is dear to her heart. Her paintings straddle the border between abstraction and figuration; the sketched characters, suggested only by an outline or a few elements, are influenced by their environment and create some hybrid forms, combined with the large blocks of colours which dissolve forms. To understand Victoria Kosheleva’s oil paintings, one must first fully enter into a universe that does not owe much to passing trends, influences or schools. Of course, we can find some parallels with the history of painting. Looking at her palette, we might get a sense of German Expressionism, possibly discerning some reiterations of Daniel Richter’s long watery figures, gliding on top of each other, of his refusal to be confined in pure figuration, and his distortions which are slowly rooted in the confines of a mental universe, almost but not quite real. Painting after painting, Victoria Kosheleva creates a mysterious atmosphere so close to what we find in the evanescent poetry of Peter Doig or, in a cruder and more outrageous way, in the work of James Ensor. And then, with the choice of the motives, the masks, the empty glares, the costumes and the backgrounds, which could be fabrics or all-over motives, it is easy to establish a link with the Symbolism movement - like a piece of art by Gustave Moreau, seen through a foggy window or on board a car, moving at high speed. Yet these connections are only obvious to our eyes, influenced by the European tradition.
Victoria Kosheleva, born in 1989 in Moscow where she also studied, counts Leon Bakst and Constantin Somov amongst her favourite artists. The first being a decorator and costume maker; the second a Russian symbolist painter, both characterised by their specific attention to the human figure. The meaning of the artist’s works would thus be found in an ontology of the living rather than by looking at a method of painting. She justifies it by stating that, to her, the contemporary is an outdated concept, overpowered by the ebb and flow of chaotic information. Basked in the atemporal quality of imagination, here panoramas depict the essence of humanity reduced to its essentials: its recurring dreams, haunted images, appearing again and again throughout the ages and joining some sort of collective unconscious populated by the myths and dreams of our ancestors. Psychology, philosophy, science and the arts are all present as reference points in Viktoria Kosheleva’s visual fabric for whom painting, far from being material, is first and foremost a code; a living language. In order to pursue her quest about the human figure, the artist is thinking about extending her search to dance or performance, thus embodying in the physical space the perpetual movement that is already characterising her figures, marking pictorial spaces like mysterious arabesques.
— Ingrid Luquet-Gad