About the artwork
When using the subway, Moscow dogs prefer to travel at the very back of the train, as there, a conductor has the least possibilities to discover them and possibly throw them off the train. For the same reason, dogs enter the train as late as possible, only moments before the train moves. Inevitably, sometimes they don’t make it and must travel cavalry style, running alongside the train.
Backup is the excerpt of extra big format embroidery titled A Dog’s Life. A Dog’s Life embroidery is a part of embroidered triptych with the same title. It tells a story of dogs from Moscow suburbs that have learnt how to use the subway and commute to the city centre to find food. Accompanied by embroidered bench, the four art pieces form an installation of a railway station.
Due to its extreme richness in content and in details, the finished artworks themselves have prompted the idea of producing a limited-edition series of smaller works, all based on details from original works. Combined, the excerpts (titled Upload, Backup and Update) retain the message of the original triptych.
About the artist
Vladimir Leben is drawing moral lessons from animals as examples. He is not inspired by their outer appearance of furs and feathers – of their exact anatomy in a way a naturalist would be. Instead, he portrays them as protagonists in stylized situations that have coded meaning. For this a viewer has to know background of a particular story, often a tragic one. His favourite subjects are underdogs – usually in the appearance of bears and dogs. They are presented as sentient beings, man’s interlocutors and points of identification. Being soft animals with innocent eyes, helps them to get their message across, and builds viewers emotions and empathy.
Born in 1971 in Celje. Studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. He is co-founder of the Museum of Too Modern Art – a unique movement in Slovenian art history. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions with Galapagos project as one of the most successful. He is also an awarded Illustrator and maker of animated films.
Extraordinary number of stitches
In a classic embroidery, the number of stitches is somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000, and is limited by stretching and contracting of materials. By overcoming this limitations, we are able to make embroideries with millions of stitches which enables us to produce photorealistic embroideries and recreate any painting of any artistic style.
Innovation of layering
We layer multiple colours of threads and so create rich embroidery and colour texture that is impossible to create with classic one-layer embroidery technique. By layering, we develop colour transitions and shadowing, by which we create multiple-colour surfaces, similar to pointillism painting.
Smooth transitions and shading
By intertwining threads of endless colours and creating colour transitions, we can shape soft shadows, make one surface transition into another and mix colours into an endless multitude of hues. This way, we can also recreate motives from photographs and sophisticated art paintings which wouldn’t be possible with classic embroidery technique, using vector surfaces.
Sophisticated colour calibration
Usually in embroidery, 10 or 20, maybe 30 colours of threads are used. We use around 1,000 colour hues and if a colour still doesn’t match the desired one, we create it by layering and colour transitions. We have digitally scanned colours of all threads by using a spectrograph, so we can colour match any colour from an original material or from CMYK, RGB or Pantone colour schemes.