Comments/Context: Anton Litvin's cropped and abstracted images of the famed gold onion domes of the Orthodox churches in Moscow take a simple visual cliche and give it new life. Taken up-close, his images capture the flare of the sun reflected in the gleaming metallic shine of the iconic examples of Russian architecture, without subjecting the viewer to the all-too-familiar form of the dome etched against the sky.
While we might assume that the domes are uniformly covered in expensive and precious gold leaf, Litvin exposes the lesser known reality: the structures are actually blanketed in colored sheets of other metals, welded or nailed together in modular grids and geometric patterns. The glare of sunlight bouncing off the rounded structures creates blisters of brightness that diffuse across the surface, and the shiny skin is full of seams and edges, decorated with scratches, scrapes, and other evidence of hard weathering.
Litvin's fragmented golden domes reminded me of Ola Kolehmainen's architectural studies, where repeated patterns cover sleek façades and expanses of perfect wall. While Litvin's images have a few too many technical imperfections and blurs (likely a result of the long distance shots), overall, I found this fresh approach to a tired subject to have plenty of subtle radiance.
Collector's POV: The works in this show are priced as follows. The smaller 25x35 prints range in price from $2500 to $3500, based on the place in the edition; the larger 39x58 prints range from $3000 to $5000. Litvin's works have no secondary market history to date, so gallery retail is likely the only option for interested collectors at this point.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
- Escape Program (here)
Anton Litvin, The Shining
Through June 12th
547 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001