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статьиPost-avant-garde / Russian art of the 1920s-1930s

Fyodor Platov "Still life with a Vase and Black Casket" Late 1920s

Fyodor Platov creates a harmonious plastic system: his world of still lifes does not fill up external space but creates it. Objects he paints lose the boundaries set for them and flow into each other, stretching out each other’s limits, and, changing their essence, acquire new spatial characteristics and rule out the possibility of any emptiness.

Platov sought to think through and embody in his work the physical harmony of the world that art had been trying to convey since the times of Leonardo. All that was visible made up a single coherent organism. It had a semi-transparent essence that disclosed the mystery of everything belonging to everything else. Addressing cosmic-scale tasks was a feature of the Russian art of the twenties.

Anatoly Mikuli and Boris Smirnov-Rusetsky were members of the Amaravella association, a group of artists who based their work o Russian cosmism, an intellectual movement that stemmed from the philosophy of Fyodorov and, in the twenties, was put on a scientific basis and further developed by Vladimir Vernadsky, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Alexander Chizhevsky and other outstanding scientists and philosophers.

However, it is rather a formality that Mikuli and Smirnov-Rusetsky belonged to the same association of artists. In fact, Mikuli stood somewhat aloof from the group that made up the core of Amaravella. “A man with an ironic touch who was not inclined to many serious things, he could not appreciate the ideas of Oriental philosophy or theosophical problems that kept our minds occupied,” Smirnov-Rusetsky wrote about him.

What brought the two artists together was their love of music and their desire to combine the materiality of painting with music, to blend painted shapes and colors with musical tonalities, tempos and rhythms. Anatoly Mikuli was a virtuoso violinist who gave lectures on Paganini and brilliantly played pieces by the composer during lectures. Painting was just one more, new instrument for him, and he used its rich resources to express emotional aspects of music.

Smirnov-Rusetsky composed his paintings as though they were sounding pieces of space. He chose his colors as though they were registers. By putting together various shapes in building an image, he played a complex tune, filling this image with sounding colors. The graphic elements of his works constitute their rhythm. One can hear his works. His paintings have sound in them. Just look at his “Autumn,” for example.

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