LARGE SCALE SCULPTURE & INSTALLATIONS
Sergei Isupov creates large-scale works that are produced for the public in collaborative, performative, and visible settings, as well as those tied to the intimate process of the studio and his daily progress of building with clay. He finishes sculptures situated in permanent, accessible locations to be enjoyed by the communities within which he is commissioned to work, as well as Museum settings and site-specific installations. Isupov’s largest works include his Fire Sculptures, Muli-Figure Sculptures, and Large Busts and Heads Series.
RISEN | Large-Scale Figure Sculpture
January 7 – March 3, 2016
The de Menil Gallery, Groton, NY
Sergei Isupov’s first and largest-in-scale figure, “Risen” was originally produced for the de Menil Gallery at Groton School in Head On, January 7 – March 3, 2016. The exhibition space’s large ceiling, combined with Isupov’s ambition to create impressive and immersive installations for his audience during the time period propelled the production of the 8′ duel figure of a man on one side, a woman on the other.
The de Menil Gallery presented Sergei Isupov in HEAD ON, in 2016. Located at the Groton School, during each academic year, the de Menil Gallery hosts three exhibitions; they showcase a variety of media, including photographs, paintings, prints, and decorative arts.
This figure would be shortly followed by two additional figures produced in 2016, “Directions”, and “Da, Hem; Hem, Da (Yes, No; No, Yes)”. The three figures propelled the Erie Art Museum director John Vanco to invite Isupov to create a site-specific solo installation, which pulled works from Isupov’s archives in the major Wall Work titled “Exhale” (10 x 21.5′ installation; 10 x 10′ painting).
“DIRECTIONS”, “DA HEM HEM DA”, “EXHALE”| Large-Scale Figure Sculptures & Wall Work
December 2, 2016–April 2, 2017
Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
“Sergei Isupov: Hidden Messages” introduces larger-than-life figural sculptures shown in the context of a career survey presented as a multi-room installation. The exhibition, featuring 40 selected works, was designed and built by the artist and co-curated by Erie Art Museum director John Vanco. Spanning the 20 years Isupov has lived and worked in America, the show forms a semi-autobiographical wunderkammer — a collection of curiosities.
“By morphing together humans and animals, creating dimensionally illusionistic works, and embedding secret scenes within them, Isupov creates multi-layered artworks that challenge viewers’ perception of reality. An erotic surrealist and protective family man, Isupov blends images drawn from experience and imagination that invite viewers to complete the work through their personal interpretations.” — John Vanco
The exhibition features three large standing figures at its entrance, a 25-foot plinth of marching figures, a room of intimate romance and family, and an expanse dominated by a 10 by 14-foot painted female head blowing a gust of smaller works across a 40-foot wall.
ON THE WAY | Multi-Figure Sculpture
Isupov is the son of a painter and sculptor. While born in Stravapole, Russia in 1963, Isupov was raised in Ukraine from 1964, educated in Kyiv and moved to attend the university of art in Tallinn, Estonia in 1984 at a time when these now separate countries were part of the USSR. Isupov’s family, his father, mother and brother, all established artists, currently reside in Kyiv, Ukraine. With the backdrop of the current war there and threats of Russian aggression in Estonia, Isupov’s studio work took on an urgency to counter the overwhelming anxiety and concern for his family facing down threats to their safety and the loss of their formerly peaceful lives. Now, with his wife, artist Kadri Pärnaments and their daughter Roosi, they divide their time between two studios/homes in the USA and Estonia.
On the Way is one of a pair of related, multi-figured, lifesized sculptures produced over several months in 2019-2020. These works strangely, foreshadow the present situation in Ukraine. “Most of my work depicts human relationships through contrasts and comparisons which makes it easy for anyone to find messages or meanings that may or may not be my original intention. Upon reflection, it
is easy to connect the expressions, gestures and movements to current events but in reality, all my work comes out of my life experience – growing up during USSR, experiencing its breakup and the establishment of fifteen independent countries – followed by coming to America as a young artist in the 90’s.”
Isupov is a master of nonlinear narration. Combined with his unmatched, masterful skills as both painter and sculptor, the resulting works draw from the past and reflect on the present. Semi-autobiographical, Isupov’s intimate narratives interweave poignant representations of men and women, parents and children, shown alongside one another, their pets pointing to the naive sense of security we hold in our daily lives. These works explore individual, interior landscapes and the continually expanding dualities of the self within complex psychological relationships. Intensely personal yet universal, these works in the context of the present day, remind and call upon us to value, protect and preserve the precarious balance we all stand to lose at any present moment.