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статьиVasily Koroteyev

Vasily Koroteev. Sparrow Hills, 1945

Art springs from such a tongue, from such a pronunciation, which is not always comprehensible; sometimes it sounds like mutterings or a cry when there is no time to choose words, when the impulse of the world is so strong that words do not have time to gather and flit about like little gestures; but the meaning of an image is so transparent that it slips away, or, more accurately, it dies having only just come to light. It is pointless to hold it back and further and further progress must be made because movement is life and art is movement towards life and is victory over death. Flashes of light, which become the reason for producing art, attest to the incredible and meaningful strength of life and strength of a person walking the path of creation.

In the works of the Way of Painting artists, as in the pieces produced a little earlier by members of Makovets, we often see depictions of sleeping children and babes in a mother’s arms. The topic of infancy and sleep alongside the motif of maternity is the topic of the slumber and awakening of nature; and, simultaneously, of the slumber and awakening of the conscious, of human self-consciousness and of the human condition; sleep is the night time, which precedes the morning of the world, the awakening of conscious life, the dawn of culture; maternity is a metaphor for the fertile earth and nature’s cycle of rebirth, of universal, cosmic progress, towards oneself, further towards something new and different, towards knowledge and understanding of oneself, and further on to the nurturing of the “other.”

This motif of time shows the temperament and state of the culture that had such an important role in shaping Russian artistic thought in the twenties. This state is beautifully conveyed in Andrei Platonov’s story “Descendants of the Sun”: “At night the boy’s soul would grow, and within him brooded profound, slumbering powers that would someday burst forth and create the world anew. His soul was in bloom, as with any child, and he was filled with the dark, uncontrollable, passionate powers of the world, transforming into a person. This is the miracle that every mother delightedly observes in her child each day. Mothers save the world, because they make people of their children.”

Sleep is one of the names for the boundary at which an artist freezes, becoming inactive, mute; beyond this limit art is impossible; “silence lies ahead”; further on is unknown. This is a departure from the boundaries of culture, civility and daily life. The artist is able to experience the world as a chain of events of a cosmic scale and to discover herself and the experience of her life as a grain in all this activity; she is able to see her birth as a short, cosmic flash that illuminates a conscious step, a human life in the darkness of death and chaos of nonexistence.

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