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Shtager and Shch, the ever-provocative Fitzrovia gallery, is currently exhibiting a collaborative project with Parisian gallery Iragui titled “The Highest Degree of Human Wisdom.”. This thought-provoking show brings together four international artists to explore the complexities of the human experience. Expect photography that dismantles reality, chemical formulas infused with existential angst, and a rug that blends traditional beauty with the harsh realities of war.

The exhibition brings together the works of four international artists—Linda Carrara, Carlos Noronha Feio, Pavel Pepperstein, and Jeanne Susplugas –  alongside a new piece by the renowned Pepperstein himself. The result is a intriguing exploration of the human condition, fraught with uncertainty but yearning for a brighter future.

It is evident that with this exhibition, Shtager and Shch remain committed to their core mission of artistic exploration and discovery. Maria Shtager, the gallery’s owner and a tastemaker known for her keen eye for emerging talent and innovative projects, received valuable support from the Parisian gallerist Katya Iragui, who invited Alistair Hicks to curate this project. Hicks views the exhibition as an “artistic prescription” for our turbulent times. He proposes that confronting the unconventional in art can offer fresh perspectives on the world’s complexities.

The works themselves echo this sentiment. Carrara’s “structure of reality” presents a series of photographs that capture a world beyond the veil of our perception. Susplugas’s “Mind mapping” utilises complex chemical formulas to depict the overwhelming complexity of contemporary life while simultaneously questioning our relentless pursuit of self-improvement.

Feio’s contribution,  “everything is connected, through the creeping haze of the dusk…,” bridges cultures and time. This stunning rug, handcrafted in the Arraiolos technique, incorporates traditional Portuguese designs alongside motifs reflecting the harsh realities of the Afghan War. The result is a powerful testament to the enduring human spirit in the face of conflict.

Pepperstein, known for his irreverent wit, injects a touch of humour into the exhibition with his “Suprematist Napoleon.” This piece reimagines the French dictator as a blue-faced Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Pepperstein’s playful deconstruction allows us to see Napoleon’s legacy in a new light, acknowledging his flaws while recognising his undeniable brilliance.

The Highest Degree of Human Wisdom” at Shtager and Shch throws open a compelling invitation for the curious to dive headfirst into the complexities of being human. A vibrant chorus of artistic voices offers no easy answers but a chance for deep reflection. A touch of humour keeps the exploration from becoming a slog, adding a hopeful undercurrent to this thought-provoking journey.

 “The Highest Degree of Human Wisdom” runs at Shtager&Shch until 12 April
Address: Lower Ground Floor, 51—53 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SQ
T: +44(0)7541251979
Website: www.shtager-shch.com
E-mail: info@shtager-shch.com

Elena Leo is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor of Ikon London Magazine.