The Tales of Thaw
In the post-war decade Stalin's strangle still held the breathe but in the end of 1950-ies some free air was allowed, though this freedom was an illusion.

Nowadays the reality of 1940-1950-s looks more like a frightening grotesque. Boris Sveshnikov had to spend seven years on the forest felling as a result of a fabricated trial, and his art held the scent of phantasmagoria and illusion. He illustrated books as a means to earn money and created wonderful drawings to many fantastic, romantic and symbolic novels. The beautiful and the disgusting started living side by side in Boris Sveshnikov's artworks, the verge being thin and even erased the Kafkian way.

Vasily Sitnikov spent three years in a psychiatric prison, where he developed two ways to escape intolerable reality: he either cultivated an image of a grotesque jester, or made artworks inspired by his own fantasy born in the exalted state of mind. His cosmic portrayal of freedom, of endless fields and flying Soul show the power of Sitnikov's stamina, creativity and desire for the breakout to unlimited nowhere.

Aleksander Kharitonov is the most joyous storyteller out of all non-conformist artists. His kind, illusionary characters live in a graceful world full of harmony and peace, one can almost feel this ephemerality physically. Kharitonov's paintings are calm and contemplative, so different from Sveshnikov's phantasmagoria.

The gallery shows more than 30 early works by Aleksander Kharitonov (1932–1993), Boris Sveshnikov (1927–1998) and Vasily Sitnikov (1915–1987) from private collections.

Natalia Kournikova

Translated by
Polina Vologdina