Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Friday, 15 February 2013

Subsumed into the strata of time

I've enjoyed visits to the Saatchi Gallery ('Breaking the ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s' and 'Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union: New art from Russia') and Tate Modern ('A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance'). The highlights for me were the work of Jānis Avotiņš and Dmitry Plavinski:

With their ghostly, alienated faces and figures reminiscent of Soviet-era photography, Jānis Avotiņš thinly painted canvases draw us into a fragile, elliptic world haunted by collective memory. Often using a minimalistic, monochromatic aesthetic reminiscent of fellow Latvian artist Vija Celmins, Avotiņš’ virtuosic imprimatura washes and technique blur and erase the specificity of his subjects, imbuing his images with an air of mystery, rather than nostalgia.

Dmitry Plavinski describes the artistic movement he developed as ‘structural symbolism’ where an integral view of the world disintegrates into a sequence of symbolic forms, subsumed into the strata of time – the past, present and future. In 1964 he produced a graphical book of grasses painted from life after which he finally moved across to figural painting, as well as texture painting, and his works increasingly included religious motifs. In the middle of the 1960’s the artist created large canvases entitled ‘Gospel of John’, ‘Novgorod Wall’ and ‘The Ancient Book’ which used plastic and ligatures of scripts from ancient Slavic texts. Plavinsky said, 'Creation by human thought and hand is sooner or later absorbed by the eternal poetry of nature ... For me, it is not the birth of a civilisation which is of greatest interest but its death and the moment its successor is born …’

I was also fortunate to visit St John the Evangelist Waterloo in time to hear part of their lunchtime concert by the X Ray Quartet while viewing artworks such as a 'Nativity' and 'Crucifixion' by Hans Feibusch, plus the 'Blue King, Crowned' sculpture. The church clearly contains more contemporary art than it was possible to see while the concert was under way and also houses the Southbank Mosaics Studio and Gallery.


King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Bubble.

No comments: