The Nevsky 8 Art Center, is an art supply shop, gift store, gallery, and café all in one. Located at the very beginning of Nevsky Prospect, just around the corner from Palace Square, Nevsky 8 has bright lime-green signs in English to draw attention. The windows are filled with conceptual art for purchase, such as painted bulls, robots, ornate frames, and even a sculpture of a dog with a watering can for a head. Inside, one hallway leads from the art shop, where a wide number of products are sold for artists, to a large café filled with elaborate, vintage furniture and quirky lamps. For the month of March, this fun center is exhibiting works by Yeka Haski, an artist whose work perfectly complements The Nevsky 8.
Yeka Haski graduated from the State Academy of Culture and Art with a degree in graphic design. Working freelance, she built a career from the streets as a graffiti artist. In 2009, she did a personal exhibition in St. Petersburg that led her towards working in 3-D for installations. She’s participated in a number of festivals and charity programs. Her work is memorable and known for its fascinating characterization and ability to engage audiences. See, for example, this installation, which was quite a treat for anyone attending.
The exhibition “Hello Pasta” at Nevsky 8 is a collection of 12 neo-primitive paintings from her newest style: pasta art. Located in the café of the center, the collection lines the white-washed brick walls. “Perfect Family,” a collection of six portraits (five humans and a dog), is placed at the entrance to the café. Macaroni pasta is used in place of hair and fur. “Senior Cloud,” is a simple blue cloud with a mustache and a hat, pasta pouring from him as rain. “Family Eating Dinner” is a larger piece. Two large canvases with googly eyes set in faces made of macaroni are positioned next to a collection of 15 small square canvases that are completely covered in macaroni, aside from their eyes. Streams of pasta come out of each portrait and connect with another, as if they are chaotically slurping pasta into their mouths under the watchful eyes of their larger parents. Over the entire café is a long string of pasta hung from the rafters.
Yeka Haski collaborated with a local electronic musician known as “Outside 21″ on this project. The music was created as a direct interpretation of the paintings. The sounds are ambient at times, even seeming to depict the sounds of pasta falling onto the floor, but the music changes to include rhythmic drums and the distant sound of a saxophone. Outside 21 played live for the opening night of the exhibition. The artist’s interest in the transformation of her ideas was not only apparent in the collaborative aspect of the collection, but also in the presentation of her ideas. Yeka Haski gave each of the pieces simple names to invite viewers to create their own history for the characters. “Enlightened Blueberry Yogurt” is certainly a conversation-starter. The simplicity of the style also allows for tiny details to capture entire personalities. With “Senor Cloud,” the title, a simple mustache and a hat are the viewer’s tools for a number of stories.
If one is so inspired to respond artistically after viewing the exhibition, paintbrushes and canvases are available for purchase. Yeka Haski’s contact page on her website, also invites collaborators to suggest new projects. At the end of March, Nevsky 8 will say goodbye to Yeka Haski, but her work will certainly progress and appear in another exhibition as she is an active member of the art community. As for Nevsky 8, next month is sure to bring another delightful representative of the diverse art in St. Petersburg.
Details: Nevsky 8 Art Center is located at 8 Nevsky Prospect. The closest metro is Admiralteyskaya on the purple line. It is open daily from noon to 9pm. Exhibitions are free to everyone to enjoy!