Ingrid Barber – Tsars, Peasants & Utopia……


“7 who were shot” 

2018, Oil, sublimation, crystal and birch on canvas 80 x 100 cm 

This painting was inspired by a longstanding fascination with the death of the Romanov family.  Having studied Russian at university and worked on a Channel Four documentary about the mystery of Anastasia, this is an image that has been playing in my head for some time.  It reflects the horror of the Romanov’s assassination at the house in Yekaterinburg and the family’s  subsequent burials in the depth of the  Siberian forest.

This work encapsulates the etherial, otherworldly, eternity of their wasted lives. Their  downfall from imperial monarchs to bare bones by the side of a road in Siberia.  A permanent light in the forest of nonsensical acts of history.

“Yekaterinburg” 2018 wax on board 83 x 41 cm

“Soviet Utopia” 2018, Oil and photomontage on canvas, 60 x 80 cm (1 of 3)

Stimulated by the “Revolution” exhibition at the RA this year,  I began building models of Soviet Utopian societies.  I photographed these and melded these images with street photos I had shot in Moscow.  I painted the city in oils and montaged these images with flying pussy riot ballerinas. 

“Soviet Utopia” 2018, digital images work in progress

“Babushka Riot” 2018, oil, embroidery on canvas 100 x 75cm

“Repast” 2018, oil embroidery on canvas 100 x 75 cm  

Obshezitiya number 6, 2018, 30 x 22cm

A 3D box installation in 6 layers of glass with interior lights which plays the Russian National Anthem.

“Glasputin” 2018, Glass on board with Rasputin’s last predictions, 120 x 72 cm 

Using the layering process which creates a palimpsest, the body of work , “Tsars, peasants and Utopia” was born out of a need to erase and reinterpret traditional forms and concepts that to me represented Russia.  A babushka sits knitting pussy riot balaclavas, Romanov faces stare out from a sea of black viscous paint, flying gymnasts rain down on a broken utopian landscape into a sea of contemporary detritus.

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