Overcoming Flatness Exhibition in Riosart Gallery

Strahhov, Anatoli (born 1946). Sea Gifts II. (2016)

Name of Exhibition: “Overcoming Flatness”

Exhibition Date: (31.10.2016 – 30.11.2016)

Venue: Tallinn, Kaarli pst. 8 Rios Art Gallery

‘Overcoming Flatness’ – Anatoli Strakhov’s Exhibition

Anatoli Strakhov has exhibited his works since 1975. From the 1970s one can recall his still-lives, painted in a thorough and nuanced manner and representińg mainly fruits living their strange suggestive life in the pictorial space. In that decade a cercle of local Russian artists cropped up in Estonian art life whose aestheticism and inclination to the surrealism were supported by the similar modernist trend of the group of young Estonian artists ANK’64 and the work of its ideologist Tõnis Vint , but even more by the non-conformist group „Peterburg“, founded in 1969 by Mikhail Shemiakin. That group tried to synthecize the tradition of icon painting with the aestheticism, present in the art of St.Petersburg since the art nouveau group „Mir iskusstva“ (World of Art), and with the surrealistic fantastic imagery. This trend was influenced by the discovery of the art nouveau symbolism and the historic mannerism with its complicated system of allegories and symbols, too, using all that according to the spirit of postmodernist retrospectivism and to the rising eroticism of modern culture. After the banishing of Shemiakin from the Soviet Union in 1969, Vladimir Makarenko, one of the members of the group „Peterburg“ , came to Tallinn and became until his departure to Paris the central figure of the above-mentioned local cercle. Among the artists of this cercle who had close aesthetic views, but were, at the same time, different, Vyacheslav Semerikov, Vladislav Stanishevski (deceased) and his wife Vera Stanishevskaya must be named in the first place; later some other artists joined them.

The art historien Galina Balashova has aptly described the favourite motif of Strakhov – the woman, lovely and mild, in the fantastic surroundings: „ The image of woman in the paintings of Strakhov is one of the most profound and vivid metaphors of the whimsical life, creating the beauty, attractive and many-featured, mysterious and frank all together. The female images, remote from everydey life, appear in the golden radiance as icon faces with their eternal mysteries , as incarnations of femininity or as possessors of the knowledge about the beauty and temptation“. *These charming images make us to penetrate deeper into the painting itself, in the fine technique, transparent layers of colour,delicate crackelures, giving to the comparatively small works the precious air, reminding old masters.

*Galina Balashova. Installation on the Background of the Estonian Landscape. Tallinn 2011.