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“NOTE ON PAPER” drawings, studies and sketches of Igor Vasiljev

Press release – exhibition announcement

The exhibition of drawings, studies and sketches by Igor Vasilyev, “Records on Paper”, was opened on October 21, 2019. The author, the art historian Biljana Jotic, who opened the exhibition, decided to have over 100 delays created between 1949 and 1954. . years that provide extraordinary insight into the artistic explorations, emotional states and artistic expression of Vasilyev. All the works for this occasion were borrowed from the Collection of Natalia and Djordje Ristovic. After opening the exhibition of the Novi Sad audience, in the cinema hall KCNS had the opportunity to premiere the documentary film “The Labyrinths of Igor Vasiljev” by Andrew Dimitrijevic, Miroslav Bata Petrovic and screenwriter Sanja Domazet.

Sanja Domazet and Slavko Krunic

Organized by the Belgrade Blue Foundation and the Novi Sad Cultural Center at the KCNS Art Salon.

Natalia and Djordje Ristovic, collectors

Text by Biljana Jotic from catalog:

In an effort to understand the origin and meaning of Igor Vasilyev’s unique artistic appearance, no demystification is needed, but rather a line that is trusted. Although, unfortunately, it is a short time that Igor has testified to his visual records, it is clearly in the essential truth of an individual who did not go to general places but went to high places. Perhaps we can look for reasons in the origin and role of his parents, in the meeting of the Russian tradition of the soul with the space of Belgrade, in which he was born and lived only briefly. He grew up as a single son in an artistic family of Russian descent, in essential love, support and education from a young age. From this atmosphere it evolved to further meet the rest of the outside world. It is understandable then why a unique ironic and sarcastic and at the same time joyful and absolute expression of Igor Vasiliev appeared. As if he knew a secret, he accepted with irony the mediocrity weaknesses, emphasizing the barely visible inner simplicity of the individual. The fact that he was not able to enter academic art frames only adds to his individuality and specificity.

The exhibition “Writing on Paper” is a visual testimony to the unique uncompromising line of restlessness, struggle and faith of an artist who lived precisely on these threads of everyday life and felt them beyond the boundaries imposed from the outside. The coincidence of the coincidence of the film’s premiere, which tells its life story and the setting of the record on paper, without pictures, is a moment’s touch with a reminder of the disparity of the artist’s personality. Although, in theory, Igor Vasilyev’s art kept pace with expressionist movements in art, either Eastern Russian mysticism or Western European expression, the content of the notes and confronting it was more important than the comparative method of invoking models. In this connection, this exhibition represents the Tableau vivant of an artist, his subjective individual view of everyday life. The visible atypical choice of portraying portrayed and isolated persons or scenes that testify to the lived experience and confrontation of the marginalized truths of a society or system are the satanic parts that bear the content of equally separated and rebellious lines against the dominant artistic methods and poetics.

Theoretical comparisons with the inner world that triggers the artistic expressions of Van Gogh, Difi, Munk, Sutin, Goya or other side, Chagall, Larion, Burlyuk, Gonchar, then suggesting an expressive neo-symbolist iconography (Nikola Suica) or as the originator of the aesthetics of the ugly and the announcement of cruelty (Ljubica Miljković) echoes are observations of Igor’s artistic phenomenon in a broader context. By exhibiting The Writing on Paper, I would personally narrow down and focus on the alternative of the subject and the individuality of the expression. Classification of works by year of origin can be accompanied by changes in the line and expression forms on paper. In the beginning, while he was still studying at the Academy of Fine Arts, and under the influence of his father’s work with him, a more traditional approach and the need for harmony of composition, fuller and calmer moves were evident. Freedom to socialize on the coast of the Sava, in the barracks as a gathering center for various creation, his expression changed. It liberates formal elements that give way to substantive characteristics. The moment of confronting the harsh reality through prison days increasingly draws him into the inner states of individuals convicted, isolated, displaced, humiliated, knowing what is “at the bottom.” The moves become faster and more energetic, they are created in a hurry of sketching moments and feelings. Coming out of prison, he already has his first solo exhibition, multiplying thoughts and feelings, sketching life.

From portraits of “The average pessimist”, “Srde”, “Greta”, “Old Ohridjanka with fish”, “Umobolny”, “Hanged”, Wounded, “Glowing singing”, “Investigator” or “Okija and his cub, across scenes “Friday – Alms Day”, “Before Cancer”, “Brides from Marink’s Bar”, “Brides (Villagers) Before Photography” to “Demon”, “Cancer” and “How Sometimes Age Makes Sacred to Poverty”, Igor Vasiljev’s line on paper there is a fast, immediate, cruel, essential, brutal, narrative, delicate line of raw emotion and dealing with life’s imperfections in relation to spiritual joy. A line that does not demarcate but brings together life and death. The specificity of his expression can be found precisely in this connection, that is, the absolute of the relation to life and death. The moment when Igu’s abyss of personal drawing austerity loses fear and rejoices. His speedy death left open the question of “what would he have to say if he lived for a hundred years”?

Tekstovi Biljane Jotić

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