Lyudmila Marts

Magazine issue: 
#1 2003 (01)

The State Tretyakov Gallery presents the solo exhibition of sculptures by Dmitry Shakhovskoy, marking the 75th birthday of this Moscow artist.

The solo exhibition of sculptures by Dmitry Shakhovskoy, marking the 75th birthday of this Moscow artist

This representative show has gathered together his works from the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Lipetsk State Museum of Fine Arts named after VS. Sorokin and pieces from the sculptor's own collection.

As never before, Shakhovskoy's works on show are characterized by their versatility and richness. They include photography and sketches for monumental works, freestanding sculptures and graphics. A special publication «Dmitry Shakhovskoy» has been prepared to mark the anniversary exhibition.

Dmitry Shakhovskoy's personal charisma and his creative talents influenced his contemporaries profoundly, often defining and shaping art trends, particularly in the 1960-80s. Although neither honoured with official awards, nor titles, over many decades he has remained an undisputed authority among professionals, and a paragon of artistic and moral excellence.

Shakhovskoy worked mostly with monumental sculpture in real spaces, with real architecture. Among his works are the famous clock with moving figures of animals on the facade of the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre in Moscow; the decorative metal gate with stained glass in the Tashkent Puppet Theatre; the facade decoration of the Kyzyl theatre in Tuva republic (for which he received the Award of the Council of Ministers of the USSR); and many other works.

The artist was passionately dedicated to the church renaissance of the 1990s. The wood iconostasis in the Church of Mitrofan of Voronezh, carved without any obvious intricacy, evokes deep religious awe. For the stone church screen in the Saviour Transfiguration Church in Moscow's Tushi- no district he and the architects who worked with him on this project received the Russian Federation State Award.

Among his most remarkable recent work is the design and execution of the project of the New Russian Martyrs and Confessors Church in the Moscow suburb of Butovo, on the site where his father and thousands of other victims of the Stalinist purges were executed. The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church awarded Dmitry Shakhovskoy a Certificate of Appreciation particularly for this work, as well as in honour of the artist's 75th birthday. The master was also awarded the Medal «To the Deserved One» by the Russian Academy of Fine Arts for the great contribution in Russian art.

The earliest works in the exhibition date from 1948, including the spiritually charged portrait of Masha Favorskaya. The show takes the viewer through all the periods of Shakhovskoy's creative journey: through the experimentation with his favourite medium, wood, the artists style developed from the monumental «Kamchatka Old- Timer» (1958-60, Tretyakov Gallery) that clings to a tree trunk and recalls the so-called «severe style» popular at the time, to the terse and balanced composition of «Bread» (1 967, Tretyakov Gallery), delivering a sense of prayer-like stillness, and, eventually, to the light and spacious «Portrait of a Man in the Frame» (1 974, Tretyakov Gallery) and «A Figure in the Frame» (1970-79, State Russian Museum), as well as the powerful and triumphant monumental «Chorale» (1973-79, State Russian Museum) made of planks and logs. There are pure and affectionate images of Dmitry Shakhovskoy's children and grandchildren in granite, «The Newly Weds» (1978, Yaroslavl Museum of Fine Arts), «Natasha» (1986), «Kolya» (1986), «A Walk» (1985-88, Tretyakov Gallery).

Looking back on the fifty years of the artist's work, the place he achieved in the complex - sometimes revolutionary, sometimes outrageous, and eventually self-destructive - art of the 20th century becomes apparent. His mission was that of responsible, uncompromising, radiant, pure and anxious care for the essence of the art of sculpture. For this reason his works are among the peaks of contemporary culture, proof of which can be found at his exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery.






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