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Kirill Lebedev (Kto)

1984 Zelenograd, Russian Federation

4 Works exhibited

Current location

Moscow

Represented by

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  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae

Kirill Lebedev (Kto) (b. 1984, Zelenograd, Russia) lives and works in Moscow. Kirill Kto is something of a cult figure within Moscow’s street art subculture, contributing immensely not only through his diverse work as an artist, but also as one of the few theorists and curators of street art.

In his efforts to create a more self-conscious, intelligent, and meaningful culture for the streets, Lebedev has systematically declared war on hollow practices such as tagging and purposeless graffiti, while continually questioning and revisiting his own beliefs and convictions as an artist. His recent works are often dark and pessimistic messages executed in psychedelic patchworks of color, and are at once uplifting and disquieting. 

Kirill Kto needs no introduction – an artist who became well known not because the art community began to notice street culture, but because of his unique artistic language, refined by many years of drawing in the streets. It is impossible to mistake him for anyone else.

His rhymed statements filled with self-reflection create a mass interest thanks to the medium where they are placed – the streets, and foremost to the message that speaks to any passerby. For Kirill, street art is communication and dialogue first and a state, tuning, modality, where the artist wants to exist. The audience is engaged in communication by a strong artistic form: that is how Kirill attracts the attention of the public. He is also trying to mask his persistent feeling of apathy and dissatisfaction with colour and a vigorous contrasting form of expression.

The dissonance between the form and substance of his works not only expresses the state of the artist at the moment of creating the work but also engages the audience (the owner of the piece) into an emotional relationship with the artist. Cultivating this kind of an audience of spectators/empaths is what makes Kirill Kto's creative method unique.

The clarity and the uniformity of Kirill's recent thoughts intentionally made on the artist's least favourite medium – the canvas (Kirill calls it bourgeois and prefers to work in the street or on paper), looks like another attempt to compensate but still goes beyond it. With each year the artist wants to work in the street less and less, which has to do with the immediate disappearance of any informal expression of urban culture in Moscow and the sterility of the urban environment.

Kirill's forced transition to the canvas and paper medium is expressed in short statements about the futility and lack of ideas about creating new formats of street culture. This situation drives the artist to make excuses about his own procrastination and also think about the cost and value of a piece of art. This entire spectre of emotions is conventionally shown on canvas – the plain melancholy messages, as usual, are also bright and colourful and look forward to meeting their empath.

Igor Ponosov
Moscow, January, 2020

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

2019 - There’s A Sense, But It’s Tired And Sleeping (together with Tatiana Budyak), Triangle Gallery, Moscow, Russia 2019 - I didn’t Recognize You Either (together with Valery Chtak), Syntax Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2018 - Compatibilities, Triangle Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2017 - Kooky Engineer... (together with Tatiana Budyak), Triangle Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2016 - Don’t Go Out, Don’t Go In For Anything, Vladey Space, Moscow, Russia Nothing Like That, Triangle Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2014 - Kirill Kto, Voronezh Center of Contemporary Art, Voronezh, Russia
Everything 1)will be fine 2)doesn’t matter 3)will be go without me, XL Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2011 - Sacred Empty Spaces, Green Art Gallery, Perm, Russia
2010 - Many Lettez, Protvor Exhibition Hall, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2009 - No Name, No Shame, No Fame, Paperworks Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Selected group exhibitions:

2018 - New Gaiety, Triangle Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2016 - Across Borders/Through Limitations, Museum of Street Art, Saint Petersburg, Russia 2015 - 11, Garage CCC, Moscow, Russia
2013 - Zero Gravity, Worker and Collective Farmer Museum, Moscow, Russia
2012 - Scene, Open Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2009 – Russian Lettrism. Central House of Artist. Moscow

Works by Kirill Lebedev (Kto)

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