Hidden down a suburban side-street, away from the main tourist drag in central St Petersburg, the Erarta contemporary art gallery is well worth seeking out. If you came to Russia looking for Russian art, the Erarta rather than the Hermitage is the museum to visit. After the crowded Hermitage, the Erarta offered a pleasurable, almost solitary experience (at least when I visited) and an opportunity to reflect on the art itself without feeling harried or distracted by other visitors and museum guards.
One of the first exhibits I saw – 'Vernicle’ by Vyacheslav Mikhailov – was also one of the most memorable; a brooding face of Christ reminiscent of the Turin Shroud. Mikhailov’s heavy oil paintings were definitely my favourites in the entire gallery. I was also impressed by Nikolai Sazhin’s monolithic triptychs 'From Eros to Thanatos, Yoricks’ and ‘By Default’, and Yevgeny Ukhnalev’s fantastically detailed 'Portal MMVII'.
A unique feature (in my experience) is the locked rooms on each floor within which different artists interpret paintings of their choice from the gallery, in a 3-dimensional space that transforms the artist’s vision into a potent psychological experience. The rooms are called ‘U-spaces’ and you need to buy a ticket at the front desk to gain access for 15-20 minutes each. The U-space I visited was a meditative evocation of childhood and loss. To be honest, it spooked me – when my time was up and the lights went out I was shaking. The most powerful experience I have ever had in an art gallery.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.