The history of modern art of Russia, contemporary painting of Russia
Post-Soviet (modern) Russian painting
The variety of contrasts combines the face of modern art in Russia. The beginning of the 21st century is a kind of transitional moment in the history of art, when a process of rethinking the artistic heritage is taking place and lines for the further development of the visual arts are outlined. We live in a period when not only the life of the past generation gets rid of itself, but also as a result the spiritual component changes. People and their thoughts are going through a kind of renewal, and all this is the threshold of a new era.
The genera of new ideas, as always in such moments of history, are fruitful, but more than ever clearly stand out among those having artistic and ideological weight of fruits, those that reflect the ambiguous, unusual and sometimes not serious attitude of the artist to the meaning of painting as a spiritual quest.
Perhaps the prevailing opinion is not completely objective and this period should be comprehended only after it is fully formed, because no one excludes the idea that painting is destined to become something else and acquire new meaning in the face of conceptualism. But it would be unnatural for painting, and at the same time most modern art researchers say that the trends of new conceptual art, which are another revival of avant-garde painting of the beginning of the 20th century, are destructive for continuing 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 as its enemy. But in itself little is known, and therefore, the actual, avant-garde current has cut off a part of the thread of the history of the development of painting of the beginning of the 21st century in the image of conceptual art.
“Priesthood” 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 – here 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 in the conceptual direction. But in the same way, PAX does not proclaim its goal to produce only artists – academics.
In such a “motley” world of modern painting, which does not have a stable foundation and is not united by a common idea, several directions nevertheless have clearly formed in our country. As the domestic art historian Alexander Yakimovich calls the two main ones, “priesthood” and “foolishness”. It is this “priesthood” that feeds the hopes of many researchers, artists and viewers for the future of Russian painting.
In the first direction get modern Russian artists, many of whom still had time to experience the spirit of the USSR. These masters left untouched the most intimate essence of painting. Their canvases, imbued with meaning, are fanned by a religious spirit, the breath of ancient sacral images, and the warmth of utopian ideas. In their works there is still a philosophical view of the world.
Such are the instructive works of Natalia Nesterova – “Sashkin Bouquet”, “Paris”. By the naivety of her images, the artist brings to us the truth of the futility of our being. This is not a mockery of senseless human activity, but a demonstration of the human nearness that can ruin all that living and deep that remains in us. These ideological tendencies were traced back in her early “masquerade” works.
Older silent images of Olga Bulgakova, in a passionate, glowing color, overwhelm the consciousness and appeal to the fundamentals of our being. The Matriarch and Biblical Sketches series, as well as other works by O. Bulgakova, are an excellent example of modern oil painting in an expressive manner that only reinforces the semantic equivalent of the artist’s works. You can truly be considered worthy to be called a masterpiece, “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” Conciseness and expressiveness of forms, smoldering figures, linked in a fit of feelings. Here, nothing more needs to be added, this image conveys love between the child and the parent as it is. Without any mediocrity, the picture embodies the very, unconscious, that must forever remain implicit in the human soul.
In the hour of early spring sunset … Series St. Petersburg
D. Ikonnikov. 2006
“In the hour of early spring sunset …”. From the series of Petersburg works. D. Ikonnikov. 2006