SERGEI ISUPOV: Hidden Messages


December 2, 2016–April 2, 2017
Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA

“Sergei Isupov: Hidden Messages” introduces larger-than-life figural sculptures shown in the context of a career survey presented as a multi-room installation. The exhibition, featuring 40 selected works, was designed and built by the artist and co-curated by Erie Art Museum director John Vanco. Spanning the 20 years Isupov has lived and worked in America, the show forms a semi-autobiographical wunderkammer — a collection of curiosities.

“By morphing together humans and animals, creating dimensionally illusionistic works, and embedding secret scenes within them, Isupov creates multi-layered artworks that challenge viewers’ perception of reality. An erotic surrealist and protective family man, Isupov blends images drawn from experience and imagination that invite viewers to complete the work through their personal interpretations.” — John Vanco
The exhibition features three large standing figures at its entrance, a 25-foot plinth of marching figures, a room of intimate romance and family, and an expanse dominated by 10 by 14 foot painted female head blowing a gust of smaller works across a 40-foot wall.


Sergei Isupov is an Estonian-American sculptor internationally known for his highly detailed, narrative works. Isupov explores painterly figure-ground relationships, creating surreal sculptures with a complex artistic vocabulary that combines two- and three-dimensional narratives and animal/human hybrids. He works in ceramic using traditional hand building and sculpting techniques to combine surface and form with narrative painting using stains and clear glaze.

“Everything that surrounds and excites me is automatically processed and transformed into an artwork. The essence of my work is not in the medium or the creative process, but in the human beings and their incredible diversity. When I think of myself and my works, I’m not sure I create them, perhaps they create me.”

Isupov has a long international resume with work included in numerous collections and exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX), Museum of Arts and Design (NY), Racine Art Museum (WI), Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MA), and the Erie Art Museum (PA), at which he presented selected works in a 20-year career survey Hidden Messages in 2017 and Surreal Promenade in 2019 at the Russian Museum of Art (MN).

Sergei Isupov: Hidden Messages

Sergei Isupov: Hidden Messages is available for exhibition at other museums and galleries.

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