Paintings and Drawings from the Long Live Russia! series in the section Gallery
Long Live Russia! These words, filled with the pathos of struggle for the triumph of spirituality in our society, call for disguising the diabolical commandments of socialist mythology and for revival of desecrated ideals of Fatherland.
In arts and culture these words symbolize coming back ( in a new quality) to eternal humanistic values.
Long Live Russia! These words, uttered today, are a splash of the soul against the background of social commotion, an attempt of moral purification amidst speculative and politically brainwashed arts and self-devouring play of intellect.
The stormy events of modern life compel us once again to estimate its spiritual fore-runners, to ponder over who we are, where we come from and why. These thoughts have ever found refuge in authentic Russian arts capable of penetrating the innermost thoughts of man through its best samples.
Long Live Russia! The bitter and sobering meaning of these words brings back to us the once lost memory of our roots and sources, it brings us back to the spirituality of human existence. The symbol of Russia being torn apart by contradictions, weeping and bleeding, yet again and again revealing her grandeur and unrestrained nature, throughout many a century is ever present, visibly or invisibly in every sphere of her spiritual life. Coming in touch with this symbol today signifies an act of self-purification, a lesson of spirituality, a necessity to seek the naked truth. How to approach these infinite
categories incorporating our history and culture, how to bring them home to everyone who is not indifferent to his or her nation or destiny?
Needless to say, the subject of Russia is boundless. It combines the concept of Fatherland and Time, History and Being. The repercussions of storms and passions which raged throughout the darkness of centuries bore witness not to the dogmatic postulates of Russia's history but to the eternal ways of renovation. It is through the prism of such perception of Russia's destiny that real creatively-minded artists peer into the world around and into their own selves.
A peculiar perception of the theme of Russia has been reflected in the works of Vladimir Terekhin who is just opening up the vistas of national fame and recognition.
Long Live Russia! A series of works under this title has become a distinctive landmark in the endless gallery of his paintings throughout many years. For Vladimir Terekhin touching upon the theme of Russia is not merely a tribute to modern fashion.
For a mature master like him there is a natural need in uncovering his own vision of the events happening around. By the time these paintings were executed (1988-1989) the artist had already acquired a style of his own and formulated quite a definite concept of outer and inner understanding of the heart of the matter. It is also noteworthy that Terekhin does not limit himself to developing a single subject - he is equally successful both at lyrical landscapes and still life as well as images full of allegory and psychological generalization. All this variety of subjects and artistic devices was displayed in abundance at the artist's exhibition in Samara Fine Arts Museum in the fall of 1989.
It is at that particular exhibition that Russian art lovers first saw a wide range of paintings of "Russian" series.
Thus the series " Long Live Russia ! " represents the works brought together under the sole scheme. Their emotional perception does not fall into parts which can be hardly tied up together, but is subordinated to one predominant motif.
The concept of these paintings is grounded on the part of Christian ideology that is closest to the artist, i.e. man's spiritual purification and his coming closer to the Truth, the cognition of which might bring him to the ultimate inner harmony. The artist develops this philosophical aspect in three dimensions: the cosmic mystery with a symbolic key to Heaven; the fantastic earthly expanses coming all of a sudden into view; and, finally, the depiction of churches with their foundations steadily anchored to the ground and their domes dashing into the starry sky. These are the peculiar formulas in which the architectural concept of Terekhin's "multi-page" work is codified. The mood of his painting can be already felt in the first pictures with their laconic play of colour and the dashing blade-like rays dissecting the canvass and stabbing the clouds. This unearthly light, being the centre of gravity of unreal space and filling in the pictorial plane, illuminates the path prescribed to everyone, who is seeking the truth. This is the thought that echoes the lines of the Gospel: "... If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23). " Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going". (John 12:35 ) And if such an interpretation of the human path towards cognition of the truth might seem incomprehensible to someone, then the basic notes of this powerful and colourful chord is mostly devoid of any mystical touch. The traditional stereotypes in depicting ancient Russian temples almost have not been disrupted by Terekhin this time. Though this "almost" implies such details of painting which make the artist's pictures quite distinct from any others. Each of the works of this series is devoid of a subject. Moreover, in a few pictures the artist intentionally repeats one and the same image with some minor architectural variations. In a free manner, that is typical of Terekhin's work, in practically all his works he makes the realistic details of depicting traditional "museum-worthy monuments" unnecessary or even irrelevant. This is specifically felt in his drawings, where these details are so abstract that quite often they are altogether absent. What is the big idea then behind the artist's painting, that is wholesome in its form and essence? As the artist himself stipulates, the fundamental idea of the series "Long Live Russia!" is his desire to attain a suggestive impact of light upon the viewer, and by means of light to depict the state of man's catharsis. This is the reason why the colourful gamut of this composition is founded on a wonderful combination of colours ranging from golden "heavenly" shades to cosmic blue, compressed into a clot that can be almost physically felt. The scarce, almost ascetic touches in the first pictures opening the pictorial series are changed by a fantastic pallet of colours and shades. Even the seemingly dark and cold tones in Terekhin's pictures radiate some mysterious inner light. This effect is intensified owing to the original pictorial device: the heavenly radiance looks once like luminous streams of rain, once like a spectacular multitude of point-like flashes which illuminate the Russian temples emerging from the gentle hills. This kaleidoscope-like picture, opening up before your eyes, ranging from a solar mystery to a church, literally soaring up into outer space, underlies some inner logic and produces a singular musical chord that engulfs the human soul.
These are the artist's conceptual figurativeness of life viewing, the polyphony of his thoughts and perceptions. In their depth is being born the beginning of his path to the truth and spiritual renovation. It is of these constituents that Vladimir Terekhin's inner world is made up, and this is also the essence of his series "Long Live Russia!" that might be of certain interest to those who know him well and those who are just discovering his wonderful art.
Translated from Russian by A. I. Lenshin