Individualists don’t disturb harmony in shared space

Five different exhibitions on show at Belarusian Union of Artists’ Republican Gallery in Minsk
By Victor Mikhailov

Two floors of Minsk’s Palace of Arts are full, the upper story housing Yevgeny Korobushkin’s bright palette of colour. His Poetry of Daily Life comprises mostly still-life works and, at 81, he remains full of artistic strength and energy. Born in Ukraine’s Chernigov, he graduated from a Moscow secondary artistic school and then the Belarusian Theatre-and-Art Institute (where he was taught by such masters as Livshits, Dantsig and Stelmashonok). His genres have been diverse, as seen in exhibitions since 1966. His most famous landscapes are House by the Lake, October, Boats on the Shore, An Island, Serene Day, Zadvinie, Chabarok, Rain in Miklashevich, Alone, Routine, Day After Day and Men from the Village. He considers Flowers in a Jar, Bread and Water, Flowers and Pears and Flowers in a Green Jar to be among the best of his still life works.

Mr. Korobushkin taught at the History Institute and at the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Art Studies, Ethnography and Folklore. From the 1970-1990s, he also lectured at Minsk Art College. A member of the Belarusian Union of Artists since 1974, his works are held by the National Art Museum and by the Belarusian Union of Artists. As art critic (and past pupil) Alexander Rubets notes, Mr. Korobushkin’s works are light and lyrical, a life-affirming symphony and anthem to the beauty of our world, depicted in a rave of colour and light.

The Palace of Arts’ second floor also features Piotr Parshin’s works. Born in 1943 in Chelyabinsk, he entered the Belarusian State Theatre-and-Art Institute in 1965, graduating in 1972. Taught by People’s Artist of the USSR Ivan Akhremchik, and Honoured Artist of the USSR Natan Voronov, he has been participating in Republican, city and regional shows since 1972. Known for his easel painting, his landscapes, portraits, still-life works and thematic pictures have also been displayed widely abroad since 1990: in Germany (Cologne, Munich), Poland (Warsaw, Katowice and Torun), Lithuania (Vilnius), France (Paris and Toulouse) and Sweden (Gцteborg and Malmц).

For over three decades, Mr. Parshin has successfully combined his artistry with lecturing at the Belarusian Pedagogical University. He has several times won Republican exhibitions for teachers of pictorial art, and has trained various others. His works can be found at the National Art Museum, at Minsk galleries and in private collections at home and abroad. His works explore the nature of the soul and its thirst for new discoveries. Concentration of feeling and harmony of spiritual strength and knowledge are behind his success.

The first floor of the Palace of Arts hosts no less interesting works, by muralist Yuri Anushko. In 1990, he graduated from the Belarusian Theatre-and-Art Institute and, since 1996, has been participating in Republican and foreign shows and open air gatherings — visiting Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, France and Portugal. From 1992-1995, Mr. Anushko passed an internship in Poland, focusing on restoration, and, in 1997, joined the Union of Artists. Among his monumental works is one commemorating those who were burnt in the Gomel Region’s Tonezh village and a monument to an unborn child, in the town of Miory (Vitebsk Region).

Mr. Anushko’s works are kept at the National Art Museum and at Minsk’s Modern Fine Arts Museum, as well as in private collections in Belarus, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. While being examples of Belarusian monumental sculpture they are also individual; they echo the past yet combine elements of the present. They are archaic yet modern. He presents us with the spirit of lost cultures, in all their grandeur. Mr. Anushko’s magical symbolism and sacral features are unexpected, calling to mind many associations. His compositions and imagery blur reality with fantasy and mythology, giving us a complicated mixture of movement and form. While plots are based in reality, their metaphorical significance is always obvious, causing us to ponder anew. Meanwhile, his decorative approach is powerful, vividly combining materials and colour.

Valentin Nudnov’s style is much influenced by his studies at the Belarusian Theatre-and-Art Institute’s Department of Monumental and Decorative Painting. A muralist and pictorial painter, he has decorated several sites and is most known for his recent works: Horizontal Space (2011), Road №1994, Black-and-White Love (2013) and Lion Bridges (2013). He explains, “Each painter researches his own environment. I give my own impressions of certain events, using complex structures (created from simple geometric objects) to convey my discoveries. My use of geometry is guided by a desire to avoid ambiguity and find a single solution to a problem.”

A separate hall at the Palace of Arts is devoted to Valentina Ivankova’s personal exhibition. After graduating from the Belarusian Theatre-and-Art Institute’s Department of Decorative-and-Applied Arts (specialising in ceramics), she worked domestically, developing industrial manufacturing standard samples. Many were exhibited at the USSR All-Union Exhibition of National Economic Achievements and she received certificates for her designs from the USSR State Committee), indicating their importance.

Since 1986, Ms. Ivankova has worked at Borisov’s Applied Arts Factory, creating commercial samples and fulfilling orders for architectural ceramics, besides teaching others. Among her most significant and well-known works are ‘Borisov: Local Lore Museum’, ‘Borisov: Railway Station Building’, and ‘Borisov: Resurrection Church’ medals (acknowledged as the best products of the year at the factory’s contest). Her Polotsk Sofia Cathedral: 12th Century, and St. Yevfrosiniya Church joined Old City and New City at the Artists to Nations all-Union Exhibition (Moscow, 1988).

Ms. Ivankova has also made ceramic household items for the Adam Mickiewicz House-Museum: traditional sets of jars, mugs, dishes, food caskets, candlesticks, and flower and floor vases. Importantly, she studied the technology of 18th century household utensils beforehand. Since 1980, Ms. Ivankova has taken part in Republican and international shows and has been awarded a diploma by the Belarusian Union of Artists. Among her major works are Heritage, delicate Birds, her monumental Hospitality, Kupalle and Flora in ABC, and sculptural works such as Peace, Dialogue, World Creation, Maternity and Exile. Ms. Ivankova has created a series of vases (Troitsky Suburbs and Summer Rain) and several medals. Her works are kept at the National Art Museum, Minsk’s Modern Fine Arts Museum, Polotsk’s Historical-Cultural Reserve and the Arts Academy Museum.

Minsk’s Palace of Arts is hosting a truly brilliant collection: diverse yet harmonious. Unlike some other exhibitions, it cannot help but inspire us.
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