The issues that Alexey Lazarev delves into are both far from and close to home. On the one hand, his ongoing subject concerning the experience of migration by the queer community depends on a physical distance from familiarity and home. On the other hand, Alexey’s own identification as a queer migrant closes this distance as he sustains an intimate connection to the work he creates. Born in Russia, however living in Canada for almost ten years, Alexey explores the impact of migration on personal identity and how a sense of place can inform a sense of self.
Alexey does not limit himself to a single medium.
Oil painting, print-making, drawing, ceramics and installation are all part of his repertoire. Despite such diversity, when looking back over the years he has noticed an unconscious repetition and constancy to his method. In what he describes as “repurposing”, Alexey regularly follows a sequence of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. One of his first projects, Memory Fabric (2015) was approached in this way. A pencil drawing was cut up, copied on a xerox machine using varying scales, then reassembled on a wall to create an abstract installation about erratic and nonlinear memory formation. This adaptive process gives Alexey the freedom to let his work evolve organically, with no end in mind.
Travel has informed Alexey’s practice as well as identity.
The countries he has visited, such as Thailand, Taiwan and Japan, constantly inspire his work. Ukiyo-e and the woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai made a strong impression on Alexey, as he has developed a similar yet distinct technique of printmaking. Alexey absorbs his surroundings in order to evolve as an artist. He embraces new styles and media as a way of processing new landscapes and establishing a relationship to it. On a personal level too, Alexey talks of how the spaces he finds himself in have positively impacted how he feels about himself. Alexey epitomises the post-immigration identity transformation that is the foundation of his work.
photos by PILOTENKUECHE
Typically deeply self-reflective, Alexey intends to shift the focus outward in the coming months.
The people who Alexey meets when visiting new places have invariably shaped the concepts he reflects upon. Making it a point to connect with queer people wherever he is, Alexey feels a deep connection between himself and the migrants within this community. He resonates with their experience of new landscapes and how it permeated their sense of self.
These people will be at the forefront of one of his upcoming projects. Alexey will draw on the conversations he had with queer migrants whilst travelling and hopefully also here in Leipzig. Using someone he met in Thailand as the protagonist of his piece, Alexey plans to create a diptych entitled Peripheral Landscape. It will reflect how migrants encounter unknown, urban environments from the margins. Exposing the barriers in addition to freedoms of living somewhere new, Alexey sheds light on the reality of being simultaneously inside and outside a foreign space.
To see more of Alexey’s work visit his website or Instagram. For the first show of Round 45, he promises something “different” and “imaginative”. So come and see what Alexey creates in the following exhibitions:
Sat 14 Nov, 7PM-10PM
Sun 15 Nov, Thurs 19 – Sun 22 Nov
12 noon – 4PM
Fri 18 Dec, 7PM-10PM
Sat 19 Dec – Mon 21 Dec
12 noon – 4PM
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program