I hope you will find this exhibition interesting,
Fervour and Humility
Solomon Rossine, Vladimir Shinkarev,Alexander Kliot
15 – 20 September 2003 at 27 Cork Street
Open 15 ? 20 September 2003, 10 – 7 pm
Address: 27 Cork Street, W1S 3NG (Tube: Bond St, Green Park)
Tel. 07949 100 956 or 0208 740 4675
Alexander Kliot. Autumn Landscape. Oil on Canvas
Solomon Rossine (b.1937) is a legendary name from Leningrad’s unofficial artworld of the 70’s and 80’s. Rossine produced huge format pictures on historical and contemporary themes, suitable for decorating public buildings rather than private homes. ‘History Painting’ was the most important genre of art within the Soviet system, and Rossine created pictures of this kind in a painterly, expressionist style. The heroes of his gigantic canvases were opponents of the state like Pugachev, who rebelled against Catherine the Great, and rebels against spiritual authority like Tolstoy. They included oppressed Baltic Jews, nomadic gypsies, patients of psychiatric
hospitals and the poor and destitute. Rossine is not, however, an artist whose mission was social criticism – his work embodies one of Russia’s central cultural myths, that she is a refuge for the suffering spirit, a new site of expiatory sacrifice for the salvation of humanity. From 1989 Rossine lives and works in France.
Vladimir Shinkarev (b.1953) Ex-leader of Russia?s undeground movement, who shaped the thinking and the lifestyle of young people who no longer felt any connection with the Soviet. Shinkarev became famous for his novels (‘Maxim and Fyodor’ was published in UK last year) which, like Rossine’s paintings, offered accounts of Russian life on the margins. Shinkarev’s painting
presents the viewer with the entire varied range of the artist’s meditations on life: melancholy landscapes, ascetic images of nudes and still lives. Crucially, painting is understood as the soul’s only salvation in the world, painful as the artists’ effort may be. His work was described as ?Powerful, ambiguous and intriguing? (Warwick Thomson, BBC London Live).
Shinkarev lives and works in St Petersburg. His works are in many public and private collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Alexander Kliot (1953-1998) was one of the members of the Sotvorchestvo Group, from St Petersburg, who aimed to push the boundaries of art into the spiritual realm. On completing his Master’s at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, in 1982, Kliot returned to the Ukraine to paint a series of portraits of the miners of Donetzk. Instead of a pictorial tableaux to glorify ‘the people’, we are given a series of single, helmeted heads, bringing us face to face with humanity. In 1992 the group held an exhibition in Aberdeen, which eventually led to Kliot’s settling in London. As well as portraits Kliot also loved to paint landscapes, which he saw in terms of
life and human activity, and his response to beauty or bleakness was always depicted as part of peoples lives. His spiritual understanding of the Russian landscape was also brought to bare on English scenes – his ‘Autumn, Hampstead Heath’ of 1995 a good example, not presenting us with a picture postcard view, but conveying the pervasive mood of an English Autumn. In 1998 Alexander Kliot’s life was tragically cut short when he died of cancer, contracted whilst painting the miners of Donetzk.
For all three artists, painting plays the role of art’s global conscience. This is why it is a matter of such fervour for Rossine, such humility for Shinkarev and spirituality for Kliot. The painterly exuberance and aesthetic sensitivity of work produced in conditions of such austerity is a remarkable achievement.
Selected paintings and exhibition of painting and photography by leading Russian contemporary artists at White Space Gallery, St Peter’s, Vere Street (off Oxford Street), London W1G ODQ
For further information and images, please, contact Anya Stonelake on
07949 100 956