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Contemporary art using polaroid photographs usually brings to mind the bright, flashy constructions of David Hockney, with his evocative slicing and dicing images to create fragmented structures, easy on the eye. The Russian-born artist and photographer Alexander Kargaltsev (b.1985) has followed a different and new path, harnessing a technique to remove the surface image from the photograph’s backing paper. The image is transferred to paper and in the few minutes available before the surface is set fast, Kargaltsev manipulates it with his fingers, creating extraordinary visual effects, practically achieving a new art form in the process.

Kargaltsev’s early efforts in this medium are necessarily abstract. Using black and white film, this creates eerie, ghost-like images, half-way between the living and spirit worlds. As he continues experimenting, the images become more solid, less remote. He begins to use multiple photos, creating a series of linked images, linked by decorative borders with uniting themes. The subject, whether a model or the artist himself, is viewed from multiple view-points, the bodies no longer a sum of their parts.

Kargaltsev has always been an innovative, exciting and controversial artist and photographer. His disturbing images have caused contention wherever they have been shown. His newest experiments have caused a stir, prompting much interest in the world of collectors and art galleries. Each step he takes in his oeuvre creates a new vibration.

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