DIRECTED BY KASSANDRA POWELL! Martyrs & Matryoshkas is an exhibition of new and recent work by Russian-born, London-based artist Karina Akopyan. Featuring painting, photography, sculpture, installations and a selection of costume pieces, the series is a bold questioning of tradition, religion, ritual, iconography, sexuality and fetishism – in all their jarring coexistence yet inevitable convergence. Questioning the preservation of values and traditions, as either a beautiful necessity or, rather, a deceleration of progress, Akopyan posits this dilemma, with all its dichotomies, deceptions and implications, into the hands of the viewer.
The artist’s use of dark symbolism and sinister subject matter reveals similarities and contrasts between her strict Russian Orthodox heritage and the escapism of the fetish scene, presenting us with a world of pain, euphoria, frustration, sexual fantasies, imagined memories, and secret aspirations. It is open to interpretation, evoking also the Jungian concept of the unconscious as a dynamic rebalancing of the rational psyche. In such a sense the oneiric symbols in Akopyan’s work form a mise-en-scène of the universal problems of birth, curiosity, grief, carnal temptation, sin, betrayal, pain, illness, search for enlightenment, purification and death.
Kassandra Powell is a London based filmmaker who has been documenting through her videography work the LGBT and fashion/club kid scene as well as working with upcoming artists and brands internationally.Over the years Kassandra has passionately build a strong clientele that includes (Larry Tee-Super Electric Party Machine, MTV- Milkshake, Sink the Pink, Your Mum’s House, Faded) and upcoming artists such as Candy Ken, Glynfamous- Sink the Pink, Dope Boy, Ray Noir and Mariann Rosa. Last but not least apart from her film and videography she is currently running a new hot club kid night under the brand name of “Maison Des Fous” with her two partners Bambi Blue and Lewis G. Burton inspired by their love for performance art and the east London nightlife entertainment.
www.karina-akopyan.com and Instagram @karinaakopyan_
Directed by Kassandra Powell Instagram: @thekassandrapowell
DIRECTOR: Kassandra Powell
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pedro Ribeiro
ART DiRECTION: Weslie Stephenson
SET DESIGNER: Ollie Last
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Madeleine Wood
ASSISTANT STYLIST: Anna Sis
MAKE UP/ main characters: Gregory Kara
SECOND MAKEUP/TOUCH UPS: Alexandra Bell
SET ASSISTANT: Rebecca Mason
MUSIC: VENICE CALYPSOCast
Brooklyn B Sanchez