Ella Kruglyanskaya

How to work together

How to work together was a new commission by Latvian-born, New York-based Ella Kruglyanskaya, her first solo show in a public gallery outside of the US. Kruglyanskaya’s paintings vigorously play with the female form, female sexuality and social interaction.

Kruglyanskaya’s cartoon-like characters are friends and ‘frienemies’ down at the beach, out-and-about, running from a menacing presence: enforced neighbours butting against each other in the tight space of the stretched canvas. These buxom women anticipate an audience, exaggerating both voyeurism and exhibitionism, confronting cultural tropes with bawdy humour.

For her Studio Voltaire commission, Kruglyanskaya worked on a production residency in the gallery creating an interior wall-mural and a series of large-scale oil paintings depicting women engaged in labour and work: “grooming, brooming, and bricklaying”, her exuberant and cartoon-like paintings running onto the gallery walls. The exhibition also included multiple preparatory works on paper.

The façade of the gallery was taken over by two of Kruglyanskaya’s ample females, leaning seductively on the peaked roof of the building, taking a cigarette break whilst their peers were busy at work inside the gallery. The artist’s use of deft, fluid brush strokes and an exuberant palette make her paintings, and indeed her subjects, irresistible forces.

This commission was formed as part of How to work together, a shared programme of commissioning and research organised by Studio Voltaire, The Showroom and Chisenhale Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England through Catalyst Arts: Capacity Building and Match-Funding, Bloomberg and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

  1. Ella Kruglyanskaya (b. 1978, Latvia) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Monster Bathers, Blue Scribble, and Others, Oko, New York (2013); Kendall Koppe Gallery, Glasgow, UK (2013); Woman! Painting! Woman!, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York (2013); Ladies Who Punch, Salon 94, New York (2012) and White Room, White Columns, New York (2011). Kruglyanskaya is represented by Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Thomas Dane Gallery, London; and Kendall Koppe, Glasgow.

  2. How to work together is a shared programme of contemporary art commissioning and research devised by Studio Voltaire, Chisenhale Gallery and The Showroom. The other commissioned artists for 2014 are Céline Condorelli at Chisenhale Gallery, 2 May–22 June and Gerry Bibby at The Showroom, 30 April–21 June.

    How to work together is supported by a capacity building and match funding grant from Arts Council England through Catalyst Arts, with additional funding in this third and final year from Bloomberg, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Cockayne and The London Community Foundation.


  3. Ella Kruglyanskaya in conversation with Anthea Hamilton, 12 April 2014.

    Studio Voltaire hosted an in-conversation with the artists Ella Kruglyanskaya and Anthea Hamilton, on the topic of Kruglyanskaya’s commission at the gallery, How to work together, her first solo show in a public gallery outside of the US.

    Performance by Lætitia Sadier, 06 June 2014

    To coincide with the final week of How to Work Together, musician Lætitia Sadier was invited by Studio Voltaire to perform a special set within the backdrop of Ella Kruglyanskaya’s work.

  4. As a continuation of this commission, Studio Voltaire and Koenig Books published the first ever monograph on Kruglyanskaya, designed by Everything Studio, New York with written contributions from both Alison Gingeras and Matthew Higgs. Available from House of Voltaire

  5. Andy Keate

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