Dashi Namdakov's new exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery, in New Bond Street, is definitely one to see. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, artists in Russia, his name is perhaps lesser known in the public realm. But with this current exhibition and a sculpture having gone up in conjunction with the exhibition in Marble Arch, the 5ft high Genghis Khan, I donâ€™t think this will remain the case for long.
Brought up in the South Eastern part of Russian Siberia near Lake Baikal Namdakov came to art via a less than conventional route. At 15 he fell ill, and for seven years no one could discover the cause. Finally his parents found themselves at a shaman who via ritual cured his illness and prophesied his huge success in his ability to create the world around him in metal. Afterwards he worked under G.Vasilyev in Ulan-Ude, and in 1988 was admitted to the University of Fine Arts in Krasnoyarsk and the rest, as they say, is history.
Namdakovâ€™s subject matter derives from Buryat folk law and other mythologies. The forms, he claims come to him via dreams. Stylistically there is a clear oriental character and charisma to his work, but there is also the hint of Russia in some of the faces and monumentality of the bigger pieces. This is blended alongside a more recognizable western aesthetic. Michelangelo and Bourdelle, who Namdokov has historically sited as references, are apparent in the sculptures sense of movement and animation. Some of the work such as â€˜Sheâ€™ also has an unmistakable surrealist look, through this is unsurprising considering their shared subject matter and reference points. Technically there is no mistaking you are in presence of formidable master of his craft. The smooth black, high finish of â€˜Queenâ€™, or â€˜Abductionâ€™ counterpoises the irregular surface and patternation of the likes of â€˜King Birdâ€™ and â€˜Generalâ€™. Namdakov executes these variant surfaces via bronze, gold, silver and mammoth tusk with equal accomplishment, inserting the smaller pieces with semi-precious and precious stones (heâ€™s also does jewelry!) And this is to say nothing of the drawings which are remarkable. All the pieces have real character and animation. You can fathom their voices, chattering and grunting; their movement, welding swords, prowling, or simply deep breathing while they have a snooze on the back of some mythical creature with a long nose. These sculptures, Namdakov says, are totems and talisman, mantras that challenge our western conception of liner time, and historical chronology. They attempt to open up the realms of Buddhism and Taoism, striving for a state of totality, the designation of an eternal oneness of things, beings and events. This spirituality of materialism may be a bit for some people, I personally love it, and it is really what images and art have been all about for the majority of their existence. But whether you derive enjoyment from spiritual exploration or not, this is a display of great technical talent, and if you like terracotta armies, graphics, shiny things, or simply just a fan of war hammer and fantasy this is definitely, definitely worth seeing.
Review by Freya Wigzell
Halcyon Gallery, New Bond Street, London
May 16 - July 7 2012
Images courtesy of Halcyon Gallery
There are no comments yet, be the first to comment on this article.
I am a London based arts writer and news editor of Glass Magazine online.
Fashion writer for Glass, obsession with shoes and bags.
Music Editor for Glass with a keen ear for a ridiculous genre title. Lasting favourites: Donk, horrorcore, hypnagogic pop.
The Ubiquitous Mister Lovegrove and his pigeon-toed stumbles through the arcane
Benji's mythical musings on culture are the eventuality of an anomaly inherent in the programming of the matrix...
Glass Fashion Features Editor, and a walking trend barometer
I am editor in chief of Glass online. Logophiliac
Caroline F Ward
Likes boats, cameras, satire, Discworld novels, hammocks and occasionally cooking equipment. She dislikes communists, shower curtains, songs by Queen and badly made caipirinhas. The â€˜fâ€™ stands for fabulous.
Occasional music blogger for Glass. Loves Batman, RATM, Space Odyssey, Led Zeppelin, and German Sausages.
Hong Kong Culture and Lifestyle Correspondent for Glass
via London - New York - New Orleans
via London - New York - New Orleans
An architect of many things.
Intello, into contemporary art & theory.
Loves exploring all forms of aesthetic and sensory experience: art, theatre, literature, electronic music and food (especially apples and dark chocolate)
Passionately ambivalent - a minimalist easily charmed by all things richly textured, colourful and contrasting.
I am the editor of the Space section. I love all things Architecture, all things design, Michael Johnson and rum. When I grow up, I will buy my own house and make it pretty
London based writer. In love with David Lynch and all things thrilling.
I'm a London-based fashion student and a Glass online intern
I love exploring the streets of London, whilst listening to Latin music, wearing indigenous gems and eating Chinese food. Books are the catalysts of my dreams
I'm the beauty blogger for Glass online
I'm the Asia Editor of Glass Online. Apart from fashion, I love to surf & seek adventure!
Italian fashion stylist who doesn't know whether Venice is sinking or not...
The fashion and food blogger who likes red lips and anything with raisins in it.
I'm one of Glass' music writers and I live in the '80s...
Glass online fashion editor. Former academic turned fashion writer and strategist
Writer who loves film, fantasy, travel and culture
British fashion writer and stylist for Glass based inLondon. You will always find me by the snacks table at fashion parties ...
I'm the Glass Social Media Editor. I am a lover of shoes, art and anything else I can't afford. Naturally, I hate sales.
Glass fashion blogger who loves the haute mode
I am a Glass Social Media Editor. Inspired by mouth-watering examples of Art Nouveau, fashion, advertising and all things creative
Glass Social Media Editor. There are two things I love; design and music. Iâ€™ll most likely be blogging about them with my third love curled up in the corner, a cat.
Glass features writer, blogger and girl about town. London | Shanghai | San Francisco âœˆ @pictures0flily
Hong Kong Managing Editor of Glass - an architect in the making turned fashion editor
A writer, journalist, and explorer currently based on the tropical-metropolitan paradise Hong Kong Island. I love dusty old novels, being underwater, CocaCola, and animals.
Iâ€™m Maria. Typically based in London but I often escape to Barcelona. I enjoy fashion, travel and I have a weakness for all things Matthew Williamson.
Michelle Shi, lover of art, nature, vintage stuff, and travel. Fashion writer and social media editor for Glass
Glass blogger covering art and culture from Tokyo.
I'm a contributing fashion editor of Glass online - I love Haider Ackermann, Rue De Mail, Ann Demeulemeester ...
I'm Ben, the Art Director of Glass Magazine's print edition. I love grids, art and electronic beats.
On a single yellow line
I am Editor in Chief of Glass Magazine's Print Edition. I love everything fashion, literature and culture - check out my insider tips!
I'm Patrick Mouelle the Glass Events Manager - apart from fashion I love art, music, philosophy and travelling
New York and Tokyo editor of Glass magazine; writes mostly about contemporary art and culture, and a lot about photography and Japan-related stuff.
Inhales music, fashion and travelling with eyes bright and open. Eager to get more out of it
Freelance Fashion Journalist writing for Glass Online&The Huffington Post UK. Currently hold the position of Catwalk Assistant at WGSN
I'm part of the Glass editorial design team and I keen eye on graphics & photography
I am mad about travel, photography, sreet art and I love cooking.
I read literature, and write on architecture.
Freelance style and beauty writer, contributor to Glass Online and lover of borderline hilarious outfits
I'm a Glass online intern
I'm a freelance writer and I'm blogging for Glass whenever I can. My passion is fashion and arts and my biggest weakness are all kinds of handbags.
Writer of all sorts for Glass Online: loves music, art, fashion, eating and peace-ing in photos.
I'm a Contributing Travel Editor at theglassmagazine.com and I love Marmite. Really can't stand peanut butter though.
I write about music, and sometimes other things, for Glass Online. I like stationery, mellow electro and sour cocktails.
I'm a Glass online fashion blogger and I'm a fan of Yohji, Dries & Gareth
Blogging is a new way of life, interning is a new way of working, online is a new way of thinking.
Blogger of style, screen and sound. My alter ego is Citizen Smith. Mark Kermode is my God!
Keep Exploring new things and you'll find each day full of excitement, instead of mere repetition of the past.
I fall asleep whilst watching films but stay awake to read
Lover of travel, Prosecco, and all things nice, I study magazine publishing in London and write for Glass Magazine.
I'm a Glass online art blogger and I scour the world for the latest art scoops!
Glass features writer for online and print. Lover of tea, good words and rollmop
Culture maven, tech head and caffeine fiend who leads sorties from his garret in west London
Devoted cafÃ©-goer/ fashion designer, whom enjoys relishing in the whims of the Art World
I am the online editorial assistant. I live for art, music and film. I scour the world for the latest news in these genres.
Contributing Beauty Editor of Glass Online. Lover of all things fragrance and lipstick-related.
Londoner in New York, culture vulture, traveller and classic car enthusiast.