When Two Worlds Collide: Alexey Kondakov

December 15 2017 | By Alexxa Gotthardt for Artsy
The Artist Transporting Figures from Art History into Modern Life

(Photo by Alexey Kondakov, via Facebook.)

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Alexey Kondakov’s images for snapshots of contemporary life. His subjects daydream on subways, make out on buses, and suntan in the buff. But a closer look reveals the Kiev-based artist’s delightful stunt: These figures aren’t 21st-century commuters—they’re characters pulled from classical paintings and seamlessly Photoshopped into present-day scenes.

The idea for the series, dubbed “Art History in Contemporary Life,” struck Kondakov in late 2014. He’d hit a creative impasse during his day job as an art director and began surfing art blogs for inspiration. He came across an image of Nymphs Offering the Young Bacchus Wine, Fruit and Flowers (after 1670), by 17th-century Dutch painter Caesar Boëtius van Everdingen, which depicts a decadent gathering: Bacchus, the Roman god of agriculture, wine, and fertility, drinking happily in the company of three semi-nude nymphs.

“I thought, ‘These guys party like we do,’” Kondakov recalls. “What if I put them in our time—in modern landscapes?”

  

A few days later, Kondakov Photoshopped the figures from van Everdingen’s masterwork into an image he snapped of a cold, snow-covered street in Kiev. He posted the concoction to Facebook, and after positive feedback streamed in, he decided to keep going. Since then, he’s created countless digital collages for the series, many of which he shares with his 30.9k Instagram followers.

At their best, Kondakov’s images provoke double takes; he shoehorns figures from age-old paintings so deftly into contemporary settings that you barely notice the anachronism. But self-identified art history nerds can treat the collages like a game.

Read more about it on Artsy

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