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

Daniil Cherkes "Woman for All Times" 1920s

Daniil Cherkes’s “Woman for All Times” has a completely deferent kind of mysteriousness about it. Here we have a culture of cabarets and masquerades, a Dionysian, gloomy but at the same time festive feature of those times: a culture seeking to shake off the dominion of the laws and rules of the rational perception of the world, a culture of mirth, a culture that Mikhail Bakhtin and Johan Huizinga wrote about and that makes fun of and satirizes the “normal way of life.”

Daniil Cherkes’s work is often referred to as “Margarita” by those who see the woman in the painting as a picture of the heroine of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita.” As any other, this theory has a right to exist. The State Museum of Art of the city of Nukus in Uzbekistan, which owns a sketch for this painting entitled “The Woman Wearing a Mask,” has another work by Cherkes in its collection — “Walpurgis Night,” which was painted a little later, in the thirties.

“Woman for All Times” belongs to a special type of art, a type that exists in the realm of changeable definitions and numerous uncertainties and confidently rejects the single valued solutions and rigidity of facade-painting culture. Strange as it may be, this work of fantasy has more to say about the world inhabited by human beings with their desires and values and to say this more accurately and honestly than the multitude of canvases produced by the army of realist painters.

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