Overcoming Resistance by Celebrating Carefreeness: Natalia Kalianova’s Take on Modern Art

French Nobel Laureate André Gide famously wrote “Art begins with resistance—at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor.” While there are many interpretations, many people choose to look at Gide’s words as a commentary on what it takes to create a true work of art. The story of Russian painter Natalia Kalianova, however, is an excellent example of how Gide’s view could very easily be all about the artist.

Better known by her moniker Kalina, Kalianova’s artistic journey didn’t start until she was in her late 20s, just like those of painters like Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and many other “late-bloomers” who changed the world of art forever. To her, art manifested itself as a savior at a time when fatigue, tedium, and conformity were becoming an everyday part of her life as an IT professional.

Natalia Kalianova

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Finding herself overwhelmed by these negative emotions and the need for freedom during the COVID quarantine, Kalina found herself experimenting with painting. Soon, art became the creative vehicle Kalina had been looking for, providing her with a way to escape the box society had confined her to. The struggle that Kalina would go through as she considered risking the safety of the career she had built over the past 15 years would eventually become one of the major topics reflected by her paintings.

“My works are all about celebrating life, creativity, and freedom, as I believe that this sort of ‘enchantment’ is something that we all long for in a world that is becoming increasingly complex,” says Kalina, whose work also explores various European painting styles with a focus on the realistic portrayal of the human figure and landscapes. “I want my paintings to encourage the viewer to combat the monotony of everyday life and enjoy the present.”

Kalina’s work is currently being exhibited in Cube.Moscow, one of Russia’s most notorious art spaces. Titled “Spying on Happiness”, the exhibition explores the joy that relationships, everyday activities, and hedonism can bring to those who are open to them. Along with reflecting on the role that art had in Kalina’s journey of self-growth, Kalina’s work is also representative of her relaxed attitude toward her craft.

“I’m aware that my approach to painting is unique because I don’t fear experimentation, which is why I always reject unconstructive criticism and make sure to remember that I, as the artist, should always be free to express myself however I like,” adds Kalina. “Art should be all about breaking barriers and overcoming resistance, not about creating them.”

The barriers and resistance that Kalina refers to include those that led her to emerge as an artist, of course, but also those emerging every day. Technologies such as NFTs, VR, and AI, combined with increasing political and social tensions around the world, are all seen by the artist as opportunities for new art paradigms to develop.

“History has shown us that as time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to pinpoint a collective image of what being an artist means,” concludes Kalina, who grew up surrounded by a Russian art scene obsessed with addressing acute social and political issues. “The modern artist needs to become a multifaceted specialist and juggler who can understand and integrate new trends. Art as a whole can only truly move forward by leveraging conflict, tension, and progress in all of their forms.”

Natalia Kalianova

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Captivating the Canvas: Kalina’s (Natalia Kalianova’s) Art Exhibition Weaves Joy and Inspiration

Cube Art Gallery announces the captivating solo exhibition by artist Kalina (Natalia Kalianova), featuring an extraordinary collection that encapsulates the essence of happiness, self-exploration, and the celebration of life’s ordinary moments. The exhibition, titled “Fleeting Bliss: A Journey through Color,” is a testament to Kalina’s unique artistic journey and her dedication to infusing positivity and motivation into her vibrant creations.

From her humble beginnings in the IT industry to becoming a prominent figure in the world of art, Kalina’s journey is one of self-discovery and liberation. “Constant fatigue and lack of sleep in the IT industry, where I built my career for many years, significantly affected my inner equilibrium. Eventually, I grew tired of working for someone else and felt a strong need for freedom,” shared Kalina, shedding light on the pivotal moment that led her to explore the world of art.

Kalina’s artistic approach is marked by her unwavering commitment to positivity and embracing the present moment. Her paintings, which delve into various European painting styles with a special penchant for realism, depict the human figure and landscapes. “My paintings encourage combating monotony and living in the present,” Kalina notes. Her works serve as a form of positive escapism and therapy, offering viewers a respite from the complexities of modern life.

The exhibition unfolds in three distinct parts, each showcasing a different facet of Kalina’s artistic vision. The first part explores the nuances of relationships, capturing the fleeting sparks of happiness even in melancholic moments. The second part is a celebration of life’s simple pleasures, highlighting the beauty of everyday experiences that often go unnoticed. The final section, perhaps the most intriguing, seamlessly blends nature and the human form, accentuating the joy and vitality that emanate from both.


“In my paintings, Kalina seeks fleeting, elusive, not always noticeable flashes of pure happiness and vividly and boldly spills them onto her canvases,” remarked a spokesperson for Cube Art Gallery. “The artist’s main instrument is color, through which she tells stories of love, self-exploration, openness to the new, experimentation, as well as pleasant fatigue, admiration of the body and the world, personal achievements, and nostalgia.”

In a world where artistic expression has evolved alongside technology, Kalina remains a trailblazer in her niche. When asked about the influence of technology on art, she emphasized the synergy between the two. “Neural networks are capable of generating stunning images—an excellent tool for artists seeking inspiration and experimentation,” Kalina explained. “However, there’s also a trend towards traditional craftsmanship and artisanal work. People increasingly seek comfort and intimacy, fatigued by endless computer processes.”

The captivating narratives woven into Kalina’s artwork resonate with individuals seeking solace and inspiration in a fast-paced world. Her unique ability to find joy in the mundane and translate it onto the canvas offers a refreshing perspective on life’s intricacies.

“Art in Russia during the 1990s was largely associated with grand-scale creative work. Its purpose was to address acute social and political issues—such was the era. Today, we see more artists focusing on the human element,” Kalina observed, reflecting on the evolution of art over the years. “Contemporary artists are more sociable, open about their lives, and geared towards commercial goals.”

As Kalina’s exhibition opens its doors to art enthusiasts and the public alike, it serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the power of artistic expression. Through her paintings, Kalina invites viewers to celebrate the joy in the everyday, to embrace the beauty of imperfections, and to revel in the boundless possibilities of the present.

For those eager to immerse themselves in the world of Kalina’s “Fleeting Bliss: A Journey through Color,” the exhibition will be showcased at Cube Art Gallery. The gallery’s commitment to fostering creativity and promoting emerging artists makes it the perfect platform for Kalina’s transformative artwork. The exhibition promises to be a testament to the artist’s unique journey and her remarkable ability to weave stories of happiness and inspiration onto the canvas.

For more information about the exhibition and to explore Kalina’s artwork, please visit the official Instagram page.