Ani & Andrew Abakumovs

Ani & Andrew Abakumovs

(stringart + algorithmic art)

Husband and wife duo Ani and Andrew Abakumov create stirring vintage-style portraits and landscapes. Combining their unique backgrounds in programming and art history, they use mathematics and many kilometers of string to bring their subjects to life. Ani comes from a career as a French professor in the Faculty of Art History, where she immersed herself in the works of the French Impressionists. Andrew grew up passionate about programming. He eventually graduated from the prestigious Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology before working at a large Russian IT company. A chance encounter with black and white fiber art led them to question whether they could produce color portraits with just straight lines of string – something that had never been done before. “We realized that we needed to combine our efforts and talents to make our dream come true,” says Andrew. He put all of his energy into developing a special algorithm for Ani to use as a blueprint for weaving their artwork. “Of course, we took risks, socially disapproved risks,” says Ani. “Relatives turned their backs on us because they expected a couple to have a ‘serious’ career.” In spite of this, Ani and Andrew continued to pursue their art, eventually becoming full-time artists. Today, they are known in Russia and across the world for complex and mesmerizing fiber art. When they are not creating, Ani and Andrew love walking in the forest near Moscow, breathing fresh air and enjoying the tranquility of nature.

Artist Statement
Our complicated artistic journey started when we became acquainted with Petros Vrellis’s black and white works. Bizarre forms fascinated us and provoked a desire to create something similar, only deeper, lively, colorful, honest. We asked ourselves: is it possible to make a colorful art object in the same manner? Nobody had done it before.

I (Andrew) create a unique algorithm, then I prepare the canvas by driving in nails. And after that, Ani pulls on threads for hours, days, weeks, and months – that is how the image gradually appears. The number of tones is made by a little number of colored treads – the color palette expands significantly because of numerous crossings and layering. It is interesting to know that it takes about 4 kilometers of thread to make a small round artwork. And if to speak about a big one, it usually takes 20 kilometers of thread.

Artworks that were made for our first personal exhibition in Moscow “The escaping thread” are inspired by vintage images that were taken from an old album from the 1910s and 1920s. We found the album in Paris while walking through one of the flea markets. That was the thing that pushed us to a new chapter of development for our artistic system. We decided to give a new breath to these images, to revive vintage cards. They became more complicated and multilayered but remained light and attractive.

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