Siméon Artamonov - Reminiscence Online Solo Show review

View of the 3D exhibition room

From 22-29 October 2020, the exhibition Reminiscence presents 12 new oil paintings by Siméon Artamonov. The show comes with a twist: it is viewable exclusively online, and features exciting digital enhancements that make the display a different kind of experience.

With their rich hues and complex compositions, the imaginary landscapes depicted in the exhibition make an instant impression on the viewer. Some of them are inspired by the experience of urban lockdown, others by Artamonov’s recent travel photography, but all are an immediate burst of colour the second anyone steps into the (in this case, digital) room.

Siméon Artamonov, Reminiscence Poster, with Sevenoaks in the background.

In the 3D, mobile-friendly viewing room, large windows flood the bright gallery space with light and bring to life the dream-like scenes displayed opposite. Artamonov’s painterly world is one of magic: the landscapes bring up visions of magical realms and expansive sunsets, colouring the space and atmosphere around them.

The mobile-friendly digital platform faithfully replicates the physical experience of walking through an art exhibition and closer to paintings (here accessible through a simple cursor command). Look at the sceneries up close and intricate texture and paint swirls reveal new depth; take a few steps back and their immersive quality appears. When seen up on the ‘digital wall’, it’s easy to appreciate the paintings’ scale, and to see just how they illuminate any room in which they are displayed.

Additional features available include a virtual tour, and the option of viewing more details for each work thanks to a high-quality enlarged image of the painting and a brief description. The text echoes the paintings’ evocative quality, offering the viewer new angles through which to enjoy the picture rather than imposing a unique, immovable interpretation.

Reminiscence is best enjoyed by circling through the exhibition more than once and letting the artworks slowly reveal their layers. Admiring the works is akin to unleashing one’s imagination – feeling further encouraged by the comment boxes displayed alongside each work, and where prompts invite conversation. Viewing the exhibition through the approach of “this painting reminds me of…” and “I would describe the colours as…” is an unexpected and surprisingly effective way to nudge viewers into letting their creativity run loose. Answering a prompt brings back the child-like magic of what playing with colours and shapes felt like, and brings forth a child-like sense of wonder and tranquility.

View of the 3D exhibition room showing exhibited and sold pieces

Moving from one painting to the next by exploring the viewing room is like opening the door to a new visual experience: suddenly new interpretations of the scenes depicted come to mind, recalling memories unique to each viewer. Forget expectations of art history or critical theory: Reminiscence places the emphasis on the physical, sensory experience.