Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam - article for the exhibition.

15.02.2017
by Анна Копытина
Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam - article for the exhibition of Julia Klimko, art critic

Spirit of freedom.

The collective exhibition "Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam" in all respects was prepared in record time. However, the very idea of the exhibition arose quickly enough, although it would seem that nothing more natural could happen in the artistic environment of the Far East. The reason for this was serious. 50 years ago a small group of young artists came from Vladivostok to Shikotan, who for a long time connected their creative life with the Kuril Islands.

The history of the Shikotans (“Shikotan group” or “Artists in the Kuril Islands”) is unique in its kind, given that it is a regional informal artistic movement. Artists - "Shikotans" were fortunate enough to reveal their talent in their young years, to find a special source of inspiration, moreover, to write their page in the history of Soviet fine art of the second half of the twentieth century, having developed, as art historians later designate, "severe style". They achieved recognition, their paintings were included in the exposition not only of city exhibitions, but also of regional, republican, all-Union ones, moreover, they were exported abroad. After in 1982 their work got to a large exhibition in one of the best halls in Moscow on Krymsky Val, critics started talking about them. And the creative intelligentsia from the whole Union reached the Kuril Islands. If at first the artists traveled four or five, then a group of more than twenty people gathered. The image of the northern territories became more recognizable, but it remained all the same attractive.

It all startedwith the fact that Oleg Loshakov and young artists Yuri Volkov, Vladimir Rachev, Igor Kuznetsov, Evgeny Korzh, Vladimir Serov, most of them formerly Loshakov’s students at the Vladivostok art school, went to the open air in search of nature to Sakhalin, and from there to the Kuril Islands. It was love at first sight, mutual, absorbing, enriching. The boundless beauty of nature awakened feelings, releasing the spirit of freedom, dormant in every Artist. You need to understand that until the 60s, regional art, and in other words, provincial, took an official course, imitating the art of the capital. Clear, encouraged by the authorities, socialist realism was the main dominant in the choice of subjects and painting techniques. Caught “on the outside”, face to face with a wild, restive, often merciless edge, hardening the character of already strong people,

The fact is remarkablethat, even choosing the same nature, the artists demonstrated an individual approach to building the composition, choosing a color palette and interpreting reality. They created one aesthetics of true images of the ocean, coast and fishermen, but retained the characteristic picturesque techniques that distinguish them from each other. So, in the paintings of the "Shikotans" one can often see the image of the Tyatya volcano. But everyone has a story. For example, Yuri Volkov, recalls how border guards in a helicopter brought artists to the foot of the volcano, but warned that there was a typhoon, they suggested moving the trip. The artists were categorical: if you decide to rise, you need to get up and go. They set up camp, and the next morning rain poured. And yet, through a barrage of wind, they reached the target, looked into the crater, heard his breath and turned back with great impression. On this journey, Yuri Ivanovich lost his canvases, but he saved a sketchbook, thanks to which many paintings were painted. However, at the exhibition "Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam" you can see Tyatya in the picture of Evgeny Korzh - a lyrical landscape, breathing in the autumn mood, filled with male poetry and feelings of romance of long-distance travels.

To the exposition of this exhibitionand the paintings included only four "Shikotans" - Yuri Volkov, Vladimir Rachev, Igor Kuznetsov, Eugene Korzh. But what Shikotans! As mentioned above, they became the core of a new artistic phenomenon, laying the foundation for the formation of the distinctive style of seaside artists. Partly thanks to them, the “underground” underground became possible in the closed city of Vladivostok. Therefore, "Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam" - the exhibition is not retrospective. This exhibition is gratitude. Thanks for the past, for the memories, for the present. In addition to the paintings of "heroes of the occasion", will be presented the works of another 35 artists from Vladivostok. Each of them has his own question for the world, behind each - his own experience, but there is something that unites them - search and expectations, honing skill and faith in the power of art.

T"Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam" among other things, the story of the contemporary creative life of Vladivostok. So, at the exhibition you can see pictures of the teacher and his students: Ilya Butusov and Anna Golovanova, Efremova Evgenia, Anastasia Medvedeva, Maria Fedorova. You can pay attention to the paintings by Elena Gulyaeva, Anna Kopytina and Ekaterina Kravtsova, Svetlana Kotikova, who studied with Goncharenko Veniamin Alekseevich in the same course, after which the professor, honored artist of the RSFSR, stopped his teaching career. Veniamin Alekseevich was an amazing person. After graduating from graduate school in 1962 he was sent to Vladivostok, where he took part in the creation of the Far Eastern Pedagogical Institute of Arts (in 1992 renamed the Far Eastern State Institute of Arts) as the first head of the department and the first dean of the art department (1962-1974). In the last years of his life, he often exhibited with his student - Ilya Butusov already mentioned.

Since the comprehension of the world goes in different directions, the exhibition presents several areas of painting: portraits, still lifes and landscapes. Seaside nature, in which the severity of the north and the lyricism of the south is manifested, captivates with multi-color, internal strength, but to the same extent delicacy and sentimentality. Gorbachev Sergey, Bosak Eugene, Chepikov Eugene, Semenushkin Pavel, Uglov Vitaliy, Arsenenko Alexander, turning to the landscape theme, give the viewer the opportunity to compare and contrast the artistic language of different authors, describing such inconstant moods of nature.

Natalia Popovich, Anna Kopytina, Maria Krivenko, Mikhail Romanov, through a still life, characterize not only objects, but also give their assessment of the lifestyle of our contemporaries, giving rise to numerous associations and social analogies.

The cityscape of Kosenko Victoria, Koval-Koryukovka Marina, Kotikova Svetlana, Sergey Merenkov, Maria Fedorova reveal the local features of the urban landscape. Artistically comprehending the concepts of time and space, artists focus on the importance of addressing the inner world of a person who has to identify himself daily in the frantic stream of information that overflows the city.

Mikhail Pavin, Sergey Kiryanov, Ilya Korotkov, Irina Popovich, Inga Oleinik provided photographs for the exhibition that solve no less accurately and no less important issues than painting. I would especially like to note the work of Mikhail, who was often inspired by the work of friends - artists. Once in the workshop of Andrei Kamalov, he came across an old scratched negativity, which prompted the photographer to the idea that the original image and artifacts on it could have the same artistic value if you get a graphic picture from scratches. Several years of experiments with sand and dust on wet negatives eventually yielded results. A series of photographs “Back to the Future” was created, two of which were on display.

The exhibition “Artists of Vladivostok Kurilam” turned out to be ambiguous, introducing the work of artists unlike each other, but thanks to this, each viewer will be able to find something that will be in tune with him, that will suddenly respond with a bright thought or emotion, bringing a sense of fresh sea wind, without which we think neither Vladivostok, nor the Kuril Islands.

Julia Klimko, art critic