This post is about Nata Togliatti and her unique artwork. In the art landscape of Munich, I believe it’s safe to say there is nothing quite like what she does.
The image below is from the Cave Painting Series she presented in the 2020 yearly exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Munich’s Academy has been playing a key role in European Art since its foundation in 1808, being one of the oldest and most renowned art academies in Germany. Such painters as Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and Giorgio De Chirico – to cite only a few – studied at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts.
I got to know Nata’s artwork on Instagram and through the website of the Art Academy and was immediately struck by the materials she uses and the Russian echoes which came to my mind when looking at her art. In fact, for the Cave Painting Series, Nata worked with oil painting on cartonage, thus giving a waste-like object a whole new life and endowing it with an original significance.
I have been spending quite some time in Russia and in Russian-speaking contexts, since I am working on my PhD thesis on Russian-speaking migration in Israel and Germany. The kitschy flower decoration and cut of the cartonage immediately reminded me of typical Soviet home interiors, with poor quality wallpaper hanging in living rooms where a lot of tea is drunk and existential conversations are held between friends and family members. The same kind of nostalgic atmosphere is present in Nata’s exhibition “Zimmer frei” at Munich’s Hotel Mariandl.
Nata makes a clever use of prosaic, daily-usage objects by conveying them a new meaning and replacing (or rather displacing!) them in unusual contexts. The pictures below show the drawing work she makes on supermarket receipts, thus transforming a seemingly useless and ephemeral waste-like object into something to attentively look at.
I’m planning a live talk with Nata on instagram to talk with her about her exciting artwork and her connection to Russia. I love the fact that Munich, which so many people believe to be a boring, conformist and conservative city, is actually so vibrating and has a very exciting art scene. Can’t wait to discover more young, talented artist – preferably in person, in a post-Covid life, while enjoying walks to art galleries and vernissages under the beautiful blue sky of Munich and talking to incredible human beings. Until then, I’ll have to be content with exploring from behind the screen.