The Kournikova Gallery is hosting an exhibition of paintings by Boris Sveshnikov (1927-1998), a renowned member of the Moscow unofficial art scene. The exhibition showcases artist's works from the 1950s to the 1990s from private collectors, Kournikova Gallery, Prometheus Art Foundation, and the ART4 Museum collections. In total 43 paintings are on display, half of them are new for the public.
Although Sveshnikov is associated with nonconformists, he was not truly one of them. He spent eight years in GULAG, but never appeared to express political or social protest. Instead, he lived in the world of his own. "The real world is just a spring-board to the land of fantasy," Sveshnikov said.
The philosophy behind his paintings is highly personal, with real life and phantasmagoria coexisting. Time flows freely, merging the parallels of life and death. In his works of the 1950s, beauty is juxtaposed to ugliness, and reality blends with the supernatural both in a funny and eerie way. Ten years later his works show more and more symbolic imagery, mystics grows in the subjects and the viewer is to have his imagination work. At this time Sveshnikov develops a thicker and exquisitely colorful pointillism technique.
Early 1980s are marked with a fluorescent glow. Sveshnikov labored over technique, texture and color and finally arrives to sophisticated coloring and mosaic-like pattern that creates a pulsating surface. The canvas plane transforms into a metaphysical space". (Anna Chudetskaya)
Vladimir Nemukhin noticed: "I believe he was the last "miriskusnik" among us, but his experience was of a GULAG camp, not of a manor. That's why his art was perceived as something bigger than just a sophisticated game of style, and not as phantasmagoria, a local Goffmanian production, with the visible born from the invisible. There was something special about him, stronger than fear. He always watched the face of Death - as a grave worm, as well as gentle outlines of capricious beauty, as greenish patina of gothic shadows, as lace chiton of an angel, and as ardent aspirations of the Universe".
The exhibition is accompanied with a catalogue containing an article by Anna Chudetskaya, a PhD in Art History and Senior researcher at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The album includes numerous works on paper - drawings and an album of 32 sheets, to be exhibited at Kournikova Gallery later this year.