At a young age, the self-taught artist started drawing after school while waiting for his grandmother to finish work at the hairdresser’s salon in the outskirts of Moscow. He created small illustrations on magazine covers. These daily sketches soon developed into a serious artistic passion without ever compromising his youthful spontaneity.

The work of the artist is rooted in the artistic history of Russia, referring to the Constructivist aesthetic and Malevich’s Suprematism of abstract forms, mathematical compositions and floating structures combined with depictions that are related to the content of Russian Social Realism that succeeded the avant-garde movement. Santalov switches effortlessly between meticulous geometric drawings and figurative work, juxtaposing rural subjects with urban cityscapes. “The strict geometry of my work is a praise of self-limitation, which is a road towards progress. I named my technique Ävangraphics, which rejects inconsistency. At first glance it may seem as if my drawings are devoid of space/air but look more closely. The work is marked with scratches and ripples which impose shape and texture. Space binds together the elements of composition,” (Santalov)

However, solely placing Santalov’s work in the Russian artistic tradition of the beginning of the past century does not do it enough justice. “My work is my own insectarium, filled with vanishing species and unidentifiable creatures,” says Santalov. This imaginative element in his work finds its origin in the artist’s childhood memories. During his youth he spent summers at his great grandmother’s village in Ukraine. Playing in the countryside surrounded by grazing cows, chasing insects and running through sunflower fields, marks the happiest time in the artist’s life. The rich color palette of deep red, bright green and orange with a yellow base are reminiscent of this period and in...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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