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History of modern art in Russia, modern painting in Russia

Post-Soviet (modern) Russian painting

The diversity of contrasts combines the face of contemporary art in Russia. The beginning of the XXI century is a kind of transitional moment in the history of art, when the process of rethinking the artistic heritage takes place and the lines of further development of fine art are outlined. We live in a period when not only the way of life of the past generation is becoming obsolete, but as a result, the spiritual component is changing. People and their thoughts are undergoing a kind of renewal, and all this is the threshold of a new era.
Genera of new ideas, as always in such moments of history, are fruitful, but more than ever clearly stand out among the fruits that have artistic and ideological weight, those that reflect the ambiguous, unusual and sometimes frivolous attitude of the artist to the meaning of painting as a spiritual search.

Perhaps the prevailing opinion is not completely objective and this period should be understood only after its full formation, because no one excludes the idea that painting is destined to become something else and acquire a new meaning in the face of conceptualism. But this would be unnatural for painting, and at the same time, most modern art researchers say that the trends of new conceptual art, which were another revival of avant-garde painting at the beginning of the XX century, are destructive for the continuation of the line of “classical” painting. By its nature, the avant-garde denies tradition and thus has a detrimental effect on the role of “semantic” painting, in this sense it appears to be its enemy. But itself is little known, and therefore relevant, avant-garde took part of the thread of the history of art of the early XXI century in the manner of conceptual art.

“Priestcraft” and “foolishness” of modern painting
In addition to the conceptual line, the academic one stands out. It is supported by the Russian Academy of arts. As for the second institutional structure – the Creative Union of artists of Russia-this is a more interesting picture. This organization includes a large number of artists, completely different areas of painting, which only has our cultural heritage, including figures of the conceptual direction. But neither does RAH proclaim its goal to produce exclusively academic artists.
In this “motley” world of modern painting, which does not have a stable Foundation and is not United by a common idea, several trends have nevertheless clearly formed in our country. As the Russian art critic Alexander Yakimovich calls the two main ones – “priestcraft” and “foolishness”. This “priesthood” is what fuels the hopes of many researchers, artists and viewers for the future of Russian painting.
The first direction includes modern Russian artists, many of whom have already experienced the spirit of the USSR. These masters left untouched the innermost essence of painting. Their paintings, imbued with meaning, are fanned by the religious spirit, the breath of ancient sacred images, and the warmth of utopian ideas. In their works there is still a philosophical view of the world.

Sasha’s bouquet. N. Nesterova. Two thousand nine
“Sasha’s bouquet”. N. Nesterova. Two thousand nine

Paris. N. Nesterova. Two thousand five
«Paris». N. Nesterova. Two thousand five
Such are the instructive creations of Natalia Nesterova – “Sashkin bouquet”, “Paris”. With the naivety of her images, the artist conveys to us the truth of the futility of our existence. This is not a mockery of senseless human activity, but a demonstration of human narrow-mindedness, which can destroy all that is alive and deep in us. These ideological tendencies can be traced back to her early “masquerade” works.

IX. Matriarchy Series. O. Bulgakov. Two thousand seven

“IX.” A Series Of “Matriarchy”. O. Bulgakov. Two thousand seven

Return of the prodigal son. From the cycle of Biblical sketches. O. Bulgakov. Two thousand seven

“The return of the prodigal son.” From the cycle “Biblical sketches”. O. Bulgakov. Two thousand seven
The ancient silent images of Olga Bulgakova, in a passionate, flaming color, overwhelm the mind and appeal to the primal foundations of our being. The series “Matriarchate” and “Biblical sketches”, as well as other works by Olga Bulgakova, are a perfect example of modern oil painting in an expressive manner, which only strengthens the semantic equivalent of the artist’s works. Indeed, it can be considered worthy to be called a masterpiece, “the Return of the prodigal son.” Laconism and expressiveness of forms, smoldering figures linked in a rush of feelings. There is nothing more to add here, this image conveys the love between the child and the parent as it is. Without any mediocrity, the picture embodies the very subconscious that must always remain unquestioning in the human soul.

Bearing. City Series… D. Ikonnikov. Two thousand three

«Bearing». Series “The City. Entrance from the courtyard.” D. Ikonnikov. Two thousand three

At the hour of early spring sunset… Series St. Petersburg D. Ikonnikov. Two thousand six
“At the hour of early spring sunset…”. From a series of Petersburg works. D. Ikonnikov. Two thousand six
Dmitry Ikonnikov is inimitable in the transfer of “little things” of life. It takes a lot of willpower to look away from his work. Everything that our vision can catch, but our consciousness can miss on a weekday is captured by the artist. In his works, the secondary of our life comes to the fore. The artist has his own technique of execution, thanks to which each of his works glows from the inside. Thus, everyday moments acquire the meaning of a joyful, idyllic existence in their own way, which can be seen in the beautiful series of works dedicated to St. Petersburg, the series ” City. Entrance from the yard”, etc.

Everyone. Anatoly Mosiychuk. Two thousand
“Everyone.” A. Mosiychuk. Two thousand
The religious and mystical images of Anatoly Mosiychuk also make a special impression. Through them, we can participate in the innermost human faith, in the depths of the human soul and, sometimes, unlit, difficult to access and obscure. Masters are sometimes very difficult to understand. What it depicts is not specified in words, but is read on an intuitive level. For example, the picture “Everyone” represents various characters, or rather ghosts. And because they are ghosts, they have no identity. Although they have different occupations, this does not help them to form a culture, develop a high spirituality. These are souls that can not find themselves in any way, and the Golden, smoky color that is characteristic of the artist’s works only emphasizes this idea, the mystical nature of the images that sometimes resemble the feelings that arise inside a person of our time.

The mother and child. L. Naumova. Two thousand fifteen

“Mother and child”. L. Naumova. Two thousand fifteen

Larisa Naumova, like previous artists, shows her love for primitivism and naivety in performance. Her works are distinguished by a juicy, fresh, Venetian flavor, and the plots and characters are not as simple as they appear at first glance. Often religious and symbolic, and sometimes seemingly everyday, scenes in her works are always filled with high meaning. In the painting “Mother and child”, the theme of love is raised in its most sincere and pure manifestation. for this purpose, the artist resorts to rethinking the iconography of the Madonna and child, thereby turning love into a Shrine. Among other things, the work of L. Naumova harmoniously combined the academic school and free technique.

Titanic. A series of Puppet theatre. A. Sitnikov. 2010 – Techn.

«Titanic». A series of “Puppet theatre”. A. Sitnikov. Two thousand ten

Alexander Sitnikov’s work, which was left a lasting impression by the Soviet era, is absolutely extravagant. In his works, the artist goes beyond the conscious, which can be seen in the series of paintings “Concerto”, “Puppet theater”, etc. it is worth recognizing that his work in some moments is closer to the conceptual, since the idea is higher than the painting itself.

Modern conceptual art in painting
The second trend, which stands out against the motley background of the modern world of fine art — is more of a conceptual direction. As already mentioned above, most researchers and connoisseurs of painting disapprove of such trends. Artists of this direction are called doubters of the values of painting. In their works, they resort to destroying painting with the help of painting itself.

The Fall Of Icarus. O. Lang. Two thousand twelve

“The Fall Of Icarus”. O. Lang. Two thousand twelve

Oleg lang is one of the founders of this movement, one of the first “doubters”. If before 2000 in his works one could see fullness, untouchable sacredness, then in more modern paintings we can observe the collapse of the ideological integrity, the canvases became carriers of motley disharmony (“the Fall of Icarus”).

Antique boy. O. Koshlyakov. One thousand nine hundred ninety five

“The ancient boy”. O. Koshlyakov. One thousand nine hundred ninety five

Valery Koshlyakov often presents masterful solutions in terms of visual and performance techniques. But his works are United by one idea — a mockery of those who are afraid to break the link with traditions. This is clearly conveyed by the series “Collages” (“Antique boy”), which contains the idea of unquestioning universally recognized values, but which are so unstable that they disintegrate before our eyes and are about to collapse into oblivion.

Breakfast on the grass. I. Lubennikov. Two thousand thirteen

“Breakfast on the grass.” I. Lubennikov. Two thousand thirteen

Ivan Lubennikov-a muralist-brings the picturesque qualities of his works to such an extreme that they become like decorative posters, the essence of painting is lost in them (“Breakfast on the grass”).

John. K. Khudyakov. Two thousand eight

«John». K. Khudyakov. Two thousand eight

Konstantin Khudyakov, like I. Lubennikov, wants to escape from painting. The artist works in the style of digital painting, the features of which also break the pictorial foundations. It is no longer clear to our eye whether what is destroyed is a painting. On the other hand, the visual possibilities surpass the illusionism of the “classic” painting (“John”).

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