Evgeny Antufiev – Obelisk (2020)
Evgeny Antufiev (b. Kyzyl, Tuvan Republic, 1986, lives and works in Moscow) grew up in the Siberian republic of Tuva, on the border with Mongolia, in an environment full of spirituality, shamanistic practices and a profound interest in myths and history. This background explains his interest in creating elusive mythological and historical stories. The artist combines a wide range of symbolically charged materials – bronze, stone, wood and textiles – which results in work that is uniquely positioned somewhere between craft and conceptual art. Recurring motifs in his work are the body, the mask, the beast, the vase and the sacrifice, archetypal symbols used throughout the ages by all kinds of cultures worldwide.
Antufiev’s anthropomorphic wooden and stone figures are inspired by the Scythian Kurgam sculptures of eastern Ukraine, which were traditionally placed on burial mounds and have, over the centuries, become an integral part of the landscape. For Antufiev, cultures from the past are not dead but are a part of the cycle of human history.
Lustwarande was the first organisation in the Netherlands to present work by this artist. Antufiev intended to make a new site-specific work for GODHEAD but was unable to leave his homeland due to the outbreak of war in Ukrain. Instead, a work from 2021 was showcased, which he made for his exhibition at the Villa Giulia in Rome, the home of Italy’s National Etruscan Museum. He designed an obelisk for the villa’s courtyard. The obelisk originates in ancient Egyptian culture and was dedicated to the sun and the sun god Ra. The needle shape is the representation in stone of a sunbeam or a column of light. Antufiev engraved the obelisk with contemporary hieroglyphs, symbols from his distinctive visual language. In this way, the artist, whose works at the Villa Giulia entered into relationships with the museum’s outstanding Etruscan collection, paid tribute to this rich culture. Showing this work in the context of GODHEAD made it a memorial obelisk for all art and cultures.