Sanya Kantarovsky’s Truth-Bearing Fantasy

Installation view, Sanya Kantarovsky: The House of the Spider, 2021, Modern Art, London

“There is some wisdom to be had in taking the gloomy view and looking upon the world as a kind of hell.”(Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851)

I was surprised to think of Schopenhauer’s pessimism while at Sanya Kantarovsky’s current exhibition, The House of the Spider, at Modern Art in London, given that the artist’s work always has an element of humor, despite its general dark ambiance. The title is derived from a passage in the Quran that alludes to the precariousness of the human habitat, be it environmental, sociopolitical, cultural, or spiritual. It is a perfect metaphor for what we have experienced globally over the past year and what might have entered the painter’s thoughts while making this suite of paintings. 

Apart from the gloom that occupies the show, Kantarovsky’s work has developed from previous exhibitions, his paintings becoming more realistic and painterly than illustrative or cartoonish.

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