Originating from Pyatigorsk, Russia, surrealist artist Maxim Fomenko completed his educational studies in graphic design before transitioning to Nuremberg, Germany, at the age of 22. The move to Germany led Fomenko to enrol at the Academy of Fine Arts, where, after studying all possible fields of arts, he graduated with a masters’ degree in 2012. This creative period inevitably provided him with the relevant dexterities to evolve his ironic aesthetic that has since become his signature whilst working as a freelance artist.
Raised within a visionary family with his father being a painter and Fomenko adopting an artistic interest from an early age, his vocation was somewhat inescapable and presently applies his sharp eye and magnificent imaginative memory to his idiosyncratic style. Throughout his studies, Fomenko diminishes his figurative painting and increases the abstractness of the objects that often resemble illustrations of masterpieces that depict his heroine’s Picasso, Tizan or Rembrand, which collectively attain unique craftsmanship and a sense of humour.
Who are you mister, 2015
Miss , 2015
Employing the old technique of “layer painting”, Fomenko applies the practice in a modernized way and injects bright primary shades of acrylic paint onto the canvas, before awakening his subjects of surrealism with oils by using broad brushstrokes. Ironic themes that are echoed throughout Fomenko’s work include Picasso, classicism and sex, where he replaces his portraits faces with sex organs that are in eye areas, albeit the viewer is still able to identify the imaged person.
“Now I’m busy with a new subject, named ‘Deep Down’” explains Fomenko, “inspired by my favourite artist Marina Abramovic, especially by her project ‘body experiments’ and her quote: ‘I wanted to explore the borders, I wanted to know how far the audience would go.’ It is exactly that which made me wonder how people, who already crossed the line meaning murdered or committed an act of violence, would look like,” continues the artist. “I wonder what holds us back to cross that line. Is it really only the fear of getting punished? Do we naturally have two sides? And what evokes that beastly side in us? That is exactly what I want to display in this series of portraits.” Exhibiting dark undercurrents through vibrant aesthetics, Maxim Fomenko’s paintings are mysterious and mindful.
words by Katie Farley