expositions of 1970s-1980s the sculptures of
Valery Yevdokimov, made of cast bronze and resembling
in form parabolas, spirals and compositions
of human fragments, were taken as something
that differed from the searching of those times.
stood apart then both from the resurrected cameral
portrait and from the decorative folk-lore which
claimed to be the image of true pure life; but
he also stood apart from the self-sufficient
abstract constructions the intent of which was
gloating the relations between forms and refined
play upon textures.
something different – inspired symbolism in
opposition to commonness. Spiritual longing,
poetry of unuttered, and the beauty of impetuosity
became the chief characteristics of his art.
One was attracted
by the loftiness of his unusual compositions,
and thirst for spiritual freedom, albeit subdued
by time, made itself felt. The sculptor was
approaching the understanding of philosophical
dualism forewarning of the drama and sacrifice
of romantic and spirited aspirations.
turn took place with Yevdokimov during the 1990s.
He found himself among those few who made resolute
steps in the direction of artistic self-awareness.
The abstract ideas were superseded by the unlaid
ghosts of the thoughts of human fate. «My previous
symbolic works became impersonal to me. They
have their plasticity, their space and even
their tonality of mood, but no ego», says the
sculptor. What next?
in the editorial office of «Our Heritage» finds
Yevdokimov in a hard-won but largely successful
acquisition of a new dimension to his art. This
is more of a beginning, rather than a result.
However, many principled aspects are discovered,
both for the artist and for our public atmosphere.
Contrary to those who want to reduce it to a
farce, to substitute it with high-society assentation,
the sculptor, supported by «Our Heritage», appeals
to the social strata where they value thought,
national tradition, human person, understood
in the first place as spiritual restlessness.
Such is the
tonality of his concepts relating to the image
of Dostoyevsky and Vladimir Solovyov. It is
quite symptomatic that in this case monument
models have been exposed. This represents, without
a doubt, an expression of maturity and principled
approach of the artist who prefers to easy solutions
and fast commercial success a moral and philosophical
pronouncement addressed to figures who tied
their destinies to the spiritual anatomy of
The model of monument to Dostoyevsky is original
already in its concept. The figure of the writer,
sitting in an armchair in thoughtful entrancement,
emerges in a context of an unusual landscape.
The conversion of the interior of a study into
the architecture of the universe is full of
metaphysical meaning and makes an interesting
find of Yevdokimov’s.
of Dostoyevsky, deprived of its habitual environment,
is facing one-to-one the huge unfriendly world.
Yevdokimov thus explains its rendering in the
manner of sculptural impressionism with an active
rhythm of fine strokes and mobile proportions
of light and shade: «Dostoyevsky permanently
experienced changes of psychic movements, he
was very perceptive to contradictions of life
phenomena. I think that impressionistic logic
of depicting him is adequate to such understanding
of his character».
I think that
in this case the important thing is not only
artist’s individual perception of the specific
features of Dostoyevsky’s ego, but also his
philosophical understanding of the image of
that writer. The sculpture is just one pole
of the metaphysical concept of the project,
the other one being denoted by the architecture.
The impulsiveness of writer’s spiritual tribulations
is set against the absurd abstraction of the
There are also
several other elements which make show different
shades of artist’s concept. The abrupt inclination
of the figure away from the richly ornamented
carved back of the chair represents yet another
way of enhancing the dramatic character of the
image. The environment is not, of course the
only important thing. Everything in sculptor’s
figure of Dostoyevsky is permeated with the
atmosphere of tormenting thought. His hands,
twisted in a knot and extended forward, his
legs, crossed, and his head, held motionless
in space – render tension in his heart.
Says the sculptor:
«Dostoyevsky is for me a personification of
contradiction between things desired and things
existing. He believed that, beginning from his
times, there would begin an upward development
of Russia. He was mistaken in this, as well
as in some other his positive prophecies. On
the other hand, he was able to peer into the
underground part of human soul, into the world
where human individualities differ. His meditation
about the complexity and drama of life is a
value which has remained one of the most important
in this writer’s heritage».
of such understanding of the writer’s work grows
stronger when one turns to our times. The extreme
contradiction of the ongoing transformations,
the close proximity of of freedom and non-freedom,
of things lofty and things dark, of hope and
disappointment – all this makes a profound human
need of the the thoughts of eternity and transition
of existence and of the underside of many a
cataclysms of individual make also interesting
for our days yet another image which exists
thus far only as a model monument – to Vladimir
Solovyov, a well-known thinker of the «silver
age». The sculptor finds a metaphor which, in
his opinion, corresponds to the searchings that
permeated the entire life of that original thinker
and writer and to his own philosophical understanding
of the human path – Crucifixion.
pain are inevitable components of individual
existence». In the model monument to Solovyov
this theme comes across the theme of his fate.
Spiritual impulsiveness and humility stay strikingly
together in the symbolic-portrait rendering.
When the elegant dryness of the image explodes,
thanks to several exactly found dynamic shades,
with an upsurge of thoughts and feelings, there
is born an impulse to travel to mystic vistas,
and one can actually understand how difficult
it is for different hypostases of human spirit
to become reconciled to one another.
The portrait of the writer
and philosopher, hovering in the air against
the background of a cross, is one with this
architectural-symbolic dominant, but it is perceived
independently at certain angles (a method resembling
the one used by the statuary in the model monument
to Dostoyevsky). The sculptor is clearly entering
a new creative plane. This is borne out not
only by the model monuments, but also by the
portrait of V. Rozanov, yet another creative
person and thinker of the «silver age», a portrait
that looks traditional at a first glance, but
is, however, filled with mutinous uneasiness,
and by the unusual architecture of the memorial
plaques to V. Favorsky and D. Andreyev. It is
the drawing from life that occupies a special
and very important place in the affirmation
of artist’s new trend, this drawing being understood
by him as a crossing, juxtaposition, conflict
of several angles of the nude body, all forming
an acute dramatic knot. Here volume, human bodily
impact, and form are drawn out forcefully, whereas
the portrait monument is turned into refined
plasticity – vibration of spirit.