Viktor Kalashnikov

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

Viktor Kalashnikov
An Artist of Paradox

№3 2012 (36)

All of us were once taught that the world was propelled by contradictions, the unity and struggle of opposites, and other similar principles. Perhaps the most valuable among these ideas is the notion of paradox, which implies a discord between meanings so striking that the mind at first refuses to accept them. Ivan Leonidovich Lubennikov is a true artist of paradoxes. If viewers familiar with his very aestheticised and ironic easel paintings learn that he also created the fanciful steel structures inside or on the facades of certain buildings, they are bound to think that this fact runs counter to the laws of nature and society.

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

V. KALASHNIKOV
THE THEATRE PLAYBILL: ART – AND ADS?

№2 2004 (03)

If it is true that "all the world’s a stage" – or to be more exact "all the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players" – then the theatrical playbill occupies a special place among other graphic genres. This explains the eye-catching title of the exhibition at the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, given by its curators: "The Theatre Begins with the Playbill". This shift of attention is from the popular saying immortalized by Stanislavsky, "the theatre begins with the cloakroom", and the move from the proverbial cloakroom to the playbill is symptomatic. It is possible not only because of the greater artistic value of the playbill as an advertisement for the theatre as an institution, when compared to the famous cloakroom hall; the stylistic change of modern life also seems to be of even greater importance.

HISTORY OF A MASTERPIECE

V. KALASHNIKOV
TO STOP BLOODSHED?

№1 2004 (02)

IN A COLLECTION OF THE BESTKNOWN RUSSIAN PAINTINGS THIS ONE STANDS APART. ITS DISTINCTION IS OF A CONTROVERSIAL CHARACTER. PAINTED BY AN OUTSTANDING ARTIST IT HAS ACHIEVED A NOTORIETY OF THE KIND THAT ALSO MARKS "THREE BOGATYRS" BY VICTOR VASNETSOV, OR VASILY PEROV’S "TROIKA" OR FEDOTOV’S GENREPIECES. True, if the portrait of a personality is based on a common archetype of some kind, it inevitably provokes various associations which, among others, might be satirical or ironic. Such portraits usually generate popular logos and caricature. But here again "Ivan the Terrible" stands apart. Striking a high pitch of exaltation and stretched nerves, the canvas provoked a dramatic episode that happened over twenty-five years after the picture was painted. Some ninety years ago, on the eve of the Romanovs’ 300th anniversary celebration, Abram Balashev, a deranged Old Believer, lashed out at the canvas with a knife crying: "Stop the bloodshed! Stop the bloodshed!" The public was shocked, while the press exploded with an avalanche of letters-to-the-editor. The subject under debate went beyond scrutinizing the artistic merits of the picture or Abram Balashev’s abnormal behavior. As is usually the case with the Russian intelligentsia, a particular question grew into a discussion of matters of a wider aesthetic and ethical nature, which happen to be relevant even today, and take on new connotations at different times.

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