1996 Portraits of Rivermen

Museum Summer Garden, St. Petersburg

While beeing a student, Joulia Strauss has contributed sculpture to the art movement of Neo-Academism. Sculptural Portraits of Rivermen depict Joulia’s fellow students at the New Academy of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. The conditions for the perception of these works can never be correct. The sculptures were made to fade into the site specifics of the Summer Garden, where copies of Ancient Greek and Roman busts are exposed, and to shock with their similarity with the living models present at the opening of the artist’s first exhibition.

The New Academy in St. Petersburg has been an archaic smile, a provocative and innocent celebration of youth and beauty. For Strauss these series of portraits is neither a post-modernist gesture of semantic dispacement of her models, nor a sarcastic conservative joke. She has really loved the Rivermen and seen them this way back then.