On January 24, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
opened the first major retrospective of Olga Tobreluts, the pioneering Russian contemporary artist who was one of the first artists ever to use digital technology in the creation of art. The exhibition features her new experimental works, as well as her famous pieces from a number of museums and private collections.
Ms Tobreluts developed the technique of juxtaposing two- and three-dimensional images that is widely used today. Her art works are bold manipulations of historical facts and contemporary myths, amalgamated in a magical super-reality.
Ms Tobreluts artistic career was launched with the debut exhibition of her abstract paintings on St. Petersburgs Palace Bridge in 1989, alongside works of the New Artists collective. Following its success, she moved to Moscow where she lived in Petliuras squat on Petrovsky Boulevard and continued to work on her abstract paintings and graffiti. Throughout the 1990s she frequently visited Berlin where she discovered digital technologies at ART+COM Institute under the direction of Professor Ulrich Wahlberg. This encounter led to a radical change of aesthetic. Ms. Tobreluts abandoned painting and immersed herself completely in computer graphics, photography and 3D modeling.
In her quest to create a 3D digital equivalent of an anatomically realistic academic drawing of a human body, Ms. Tobreluts began to appreciate the ideas of Neo-Academists in St Petersburg, and she became the champion and the driving force behind Neo-Academism. Bruce Sterling described her as Helen of Troy wielding a video camera and a computer. During this period Ms. Tobreluts created a completely new reality that transcended the historical context and was much more in synch with the modern world. Whether or not Olgas ornamental myths have any basis in classical mythology, they always reference the present day and age.
In the 1990s Ms. Tobretluts works received international acclaim, winning prestigious awards and featured on the covers of influential magazines as ART, ATTITUDE, Duesseldorf Hefte, The Observer Magazine and others. In 2003 Ms. Tobreluts almost entirely stopped using digital technologies and returned to painting as her primary medium. She now focuses on recovering ancient painting techniques as well as on her research of the ways in which chemical composition of pigments can help enhance the rendering of light.