Articles
Annotation to personal
exposition of 1981
Of Completion and
Incompleteness
Short annotation to personal
exposition of 1992
Two spaces
On sacrifice
Ethics of beautiful
Contest design for Rekolle
International Workshop, 2005
  1. Avant-garde today
  2. Humanized space
Ability To Bring Light
Movement of the Diagonal
Artistic Credo
Articles by Other Authors
Fragments of article by O. Kostina
Fragments of article by S. Serova
Commentary to Model Monument to
Russian Philosopher V. S. Solovyov
Fragments of article by V. Perfilyev
Thinking about time. I. Svetlov
Spiritual Anxiety
Mystery of Art. S. Orlov
Master. V. Maloletkov
Academy of Arts Is Presenting
Ksenia Karpova
Mystery of Art. L. Yevdokimova
 
Model Monument to F. M. Dostoyevsky. 1997
Bronze, granite, height 35 cm
 
Nika 2. 2005. Paper, sepia, 34x46 m

Thinking about time.

During the 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.

The sculptor 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.

He professed 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.

The cardinal 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 The abstract ideas were superseded by the unlaid ghosts of the thoughts of human fate.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?

The exposition 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 man.
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 Yevdokimovs.

The figure 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 artists individual perception of the specific features of Dostoyevskys 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 writers spiritual tribulations is set against the absurd abstraction of the environment.

There are also several other elements which make show different shades of artists 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 sculptors 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 writers heritage.

The topicality of such understanding of the writers 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 happening.

The internal 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.

Martyrdom, 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 artists 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.

I. Svetlov
1998