Gregori Maiofis was born in 1970 in Leningrad, Soviet Union, now St Petersburg, Russia. His grandparents, Solomon Maiofis (1911-1968) and Olga Ugriomova (1913-2009) were architects, father, Mikhail Maiofis (b. 1939) is a famous book illustrator. In 1987-1989 studied at the Academy of Arts (the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture n.a. Y. Repin) in St Petersburg at the graphic arts department. In 1991 his family moved to Los Angeles, California where he lived until 1995. Currently lives and works in St Petersburg, Russia.
Gregori Maiofis has had solo exhibitions across Russia, Europe, and the U.S. since 1993. His work is in many museum collections including the following: Museum of Fine Arts
, Houston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
, Multimedia Art Museum
, Moscow, The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
, Moscow, Museum of modern Art
, Moscow, Novy Museum
, St Petersburg, Russia, National Gallery of Slovakia
, Bratislava, Museum of Modern Art
, Rio de Janeiro.
Gregori Maiofis (Russia, b. 1970) comes from a family lineage of artists and architects including his father, the renowned graphic artist, Mikhail Maiofis, who nurtured artistry early in his son's life. Maiofis is a classically trained printmaker and graphic artist who began his first photographic projects in 2000. Printmaking is still an integral part of the artist's oeuvre, which following experimentation with gelatin silver prints and several alternative processes, led to his now prominent use of bromoil and bromoil transfer printing. Common among the Pictorialist masters of the early 20th Century, the bromoil process allows the artist unique aesthetic abilities to manually control the color, tone and texture of the final picture on various surfaces.
In the series Proverbs
(Monograph available, Nazraeli Press, 2014) the artist uses proverb texts of various origins and visually interprets and conceptualizes them in whimsical staged compositions. Often working with trained animals including elephants, monkeys and predominantly a bear named Funt, Maiofis creates a new reality of interplay between human and animal. Several of the prints on view depict a dialogue of ballet between a Russian ballerina and the bear who appears thoroughly enthused by the performance before him.
Source: The Eye of Photography
In his work, Maiofis seems to follow the well-worn formulas of how to make “real art, art not for pleasure”
but one does get certain pleasure all the same. That pleasure comes from vibrancy of the works’ surface, be it painting or photography.
Maiofis has enriched his photography with his painting experience of how to “saturate the surface”
of his works so that the “depth”
of space in his photos is produced by an illusion of sombre depth like in Baroque painting rather than by multiplanarity of composition. In the photo series Fables
he turned to the fables written by Ivan Krylov dubbed Russian La Fontaine in the latter half of the 18th and the earlier half of the 19th centuries. In conformity with the Soviet tradition those fables were for a long time interpreted as a reading matter for children. The artist refutes this view and creates a photographic semblance of space which, in complexity, is commensurable with the fables’ rich associative and semantic content. Here, he uses various forms of photography, combining collage, montage, and painting on photography, and using prints to build the scene for a new still.
In his subsequent works, Gregori Maiofis mocks at artistic erudition itself by looking at “simple truths”
crammed into a freshman’s head in the history-of-art class. As a rule, people don’t stop to think about the hidden meaning of objects habitually used in art. Maiofis subjects such cliches to ridicule, which brings about sudden recognition of how complex the habitual is. He provokes this recognition not unlike a practicing painter who would recognize that classical photography is the most expressive pictorial means known to him. He thus creates photography involving text that cannot be fully narrated elsewhere.
Source: De Santos Gallery