Eye. Amulet of Valeria

Contemporary sculpture from
Valeria Mokeeva
and her school.

The work on a whole fragment of mammoth tusk set bounds to artists as it was limited in size by nature.
Anyhow, Valeria Mokeeva found the way out for her creative ego when she took up the chrysoelephantine techniques in sculpture. Valeria and her school combined mammoth ivory with metal and wood to achieve stunning results. It is for the first time in the history of Russian bone carving that artists could use monumental compositions to embody the world of their experiences, emotions and subconscious associations.
Thus, owing to Valeria Mokeeva, Russian professional avant-guardist bone sculpture was born. It was highly estimated by experts in Russia and Europe at the exhibitions in the Hermitage and Moscow Kremlin, as well as at the festival fairs of contemporary art in Moscow and Copenhagen.
Some of the works by Mokeeva and her school were bought for the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Armoury.
The main principle of Valeria Mokeeva and her avant-guard school is freedom and independence in art, unconstrained by any bounds. Due to this, you will get absolutely independent, valuable works of new Russian chrysoelephantine sculpture.


  1. International art fair ART&nbspMIF&nbsp93. Moscow.
  2. "Vivat, St. Petersburg - Gifts for Ambassadors", Petropol Gallery, St. Petersburg.
  3. "Rose and Life-Giving Cross", State Hermitage and the Petropol Gallery, St. Petersburg.
  4. International festival of contemporary art ArtGENDA'96, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  5. "Rose and Cross", Moscow Kremlin Museums.
  6. "The Ancient Cleft", International art fair ART&nbspMANEGE'97, Moscow.

Sculpture "Ancient Cleft"
"Ancient Cleft"
1996, H-21,1''
mammoth tusk
Sculpture "Apprehension"
1997, H-18,2''
mammoth tusk
Sculpture "Apocalypse"
1995, H-10,12''
mammoth tusk, bronze
Sculpture "The Bronze Age"
"The Bronze Age"
1995, H-12,9''
mammoth tusk, copper
in private collection. Russia.
Sculpture "The Hunter"
"The Hunter"
1995, H - 12,10''
mammoth tusk, copper, jasper
Sculpture "The Steed"
"The Steed"
1996, H-19,5''
bronze, mammoth tusk, wood
"The realms of the hell" #1
Series "The realms of the hell"
Composition #1
1993, H-10,3''
mammoth tusk, bronze
in Moscow Kremlin Museum.
"The realms of the hell" #2
Series "The realms of the hell"
Composition #2
1993, H-10,2''
mammoth tusk, bronze
in Moscow Kremlin Museum.
"The realms of the hell" #3

Series "The realms of the hell"
Composition #3
1993, H-6,1''
mammoth tusk, bronze
in Moscow Kremlin Museum.
Sculpture "The Pagan Priest"
"The Pagan Priest"
1997, H-20,4''
mammoth tusk, copper, wood
Sculpture "The Apple"
"The Apple"
1995, H-7,1''
mammoth tusk, wood
Sculpture "The Torn Strings"
"The Torn Strings"
1996, L-14,9''
mammoth tusk, metal
Sculpture "The Dancer"
"The Dancer"
1996-2000, H-21,7''
mammoth tusk, metal, wood
in private collection. Switzerland.

M.Y. Kryzhanovskaya, State Hermitage Museum, 1997

... Anyhow, if European sculptors are about the end of the long line of bone sculpture development, in Russia, where it has been developed very poorly, if at all (the only known work is a bone and wood sculpture "A Skinflint" by Mark Antokolsky, 1865), it has just been starting, yet this start is very promising. This promise is supported by the programme worked out in Petropol Gallery, which is implemented in the works of the "Ancient Cleft" group of sculptors who use the fossilised mammoth ivory. The founder and head of the group, Valeria Mokeeva was educated in the traditions of Russian art, where bone was regarded as material only fitting the applied tasks. Yet from the very first steps of her creative activity, Mokeeva, at first subconsciously and then more and more firmly, tried to explore absolutely new potentialities hidden in bone and to transfer it from the applied commercial zone to the field of serious, fully artistic easel sculpture. Her remarkable sense of material and creative imagination helped her to achieve notable results and to create works that strike by their emotional depth and very expressive form. Mammoth ivory, which was previously used only for purely decorative goals, has turned to fit such themes that are not always attainable by monumental sculpture. These ideas were overtaken by Mokeeva's young students whose works prove that bone and other combinable substances make a very expressive material for creative activity. More, the works of A. Budilov uses air as a component of a "chrysoelephantine" sculpture, which makes his compositions very notable and as if connects them with the environment from within. On the opposite, I. Montlevich and V. Kuznetsova use other materials very cautiously, while mammoth ivory itself as if turns into a clot of emotions to cast a spell on the spectator and to carry him away...

M. Kryzhanovskaya, Ph.D. in Arts
Researcher of the European Department,
the State Hermitage Museum, 1997

From the Catalogue of the "Chrysoelephantine Sculpture of the "Ancient Cleft"" Art-Fair Art-Manezh' 97, Moscow

Brigitte Dinger, Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach (Germany), 1994

...We were greatly impressed by the conception of Petropol Gallery and by creativity Valeria Mokeeva’s. Thank you very mach for most interesting discussion of modern directions in a development of ivory…

Director Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach
Brigitte Dinger

 From the visitors' book of Petropol Gallery, 1994.

L.I. Fayenson , the Hermitage, 1995

    It is not by chance that Valeria Mokeeva gave "the second birth" to mammoth ivory. Originated from the old Northern Russian carver family of Lopatkin, she got used to intent look at the modest palette of her native landscape, not so very diverse but capable to form an immaculate taste. In her creative activity Mokeeva has managed to glorify quite ordinary material, horn, which, in her hands, becomes a variety of fabrics and laces in the attire of coquettish girls of 19th century, enlivened in miniature sculptures... The professional sense of colour in Mokeeva immediately reacted to the picturesque character of mammoth ivory. Under her cutter the material became alive, playful and made a real feast of hues and tints. Not only an artist and organiser, but also a talented teacher, from the first days of her creative activity (since 1982) started Valeria Mokeeva to develop different forms of art education. For 13 years of her teaching activity, Mokeeva gave a start to artists who have already made their names famous in arts, like Alla Antsiferova, monumentalist sculptor, a student of renowned Mikhail Anikushin; Mikhail Korshikov, the winner of "Summer- Show-92" (parallel to Mokeeva's school, he finished an evening class of graphics in the Academy of Arts); Olga Manusbayeva, now the head of the bone-carver school in the far-off Anadyr; Andrey Budilov, an alumnus of Mukhina Academy of Arts (a class in metal), who presents in the exhibition his first works where mammoth ivory combines with rough metal details.

Lubov Fayenson, Ph.D. in Arts,
State Hermitage Museum

From the Catalogue of the "Rose and Cross" exhibition,
Hermitage - Petropol, 1995

I.A. Rodimtseva, Moscow Kremlin Museum, 1996

    Once again the unbreakable links between the two capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg, is demonstrated by the exhibition of the masterly art of bone-carving, which is symbolically named by his organisers "The Rose and the Cross". The talented artists of Petropol Gallery exhibit their beautiful sculptures of mammoth ivory in Moscow Kremlin.
    With their original avant-guard works as well as with replicas of old objects and designs, contemporary artists develop the best traditions of St. Petersburg school of bone-carving founded by Peter the Great...
... Animating the pages of the native history, the Petropol Gallery artists use the experience of their predecessors in quite bold and unexpected projects. The slogan of this direction is the refined "Rose" that symbolises the heyday of Russian artists. Sculptors are very skilful in combining mammoth ivory with other materials in their works, in particular, with bronze, horn and stone, which emphasises the extreme aesthetic resources of mammoth ivory. The creative quest of Petropol Gallery are supported by the leading Russian museums. The State Hermitage Museum and Moscow Kremlin do not only provide their rooms to exhibit the best works of the Gallery, but they also buy the works of contemporary St. Petersburg sculptors for their world-known collections. The new exhibits will be displayed in the luxurious interiors of the Patriarch Palace, the architectural pearl of the Kremlin, and in the Armoury.

Irina Rodimtseva,
an honoured art historian of Russia,
Director of Moscow Kremlin Museum

From the Catalogue of the "Rose and Cross" exhibition,
Moscow Kremlin, 1996-1997

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