Nikolay Nikolaevich Vologzhanin (1945)
Olie op doek, 151 x 210 cm
Gesigneerd met duimafdruk en monogram
Herkomst:  particuliere collectie, gekocht van de kunstenaar
Prijs: € 8,500

Nikolay Nikolaevich Vologzhanin (Volokzhanin) werd op 9 mei, 1945 geboren in Zhokhov in de regio van Moskou. Zes maanden later werd hij wees.

Vanaf 1963 studeerde hij aan de academie in Moskou. Vanaf zijn zestiende nam hij al deel aan talrijke exposities in en rond Moskou, maar later werd zijn nonkonformistische werk naar de straat verbannen.

Vanaf 1976 was hij lid van het Moskouse Comité van Grafische Kunstenaars, een semi-officiële organisatie die aan de Malaya Gruzinskaya straat was gevestigd.

Vanaf de vroege jaren ’80 was Vologzhanin lid van de kunstgroep “21” die zijn exposities hield bij het Comité van Grafische Kunstenaars. Eem van de belangrijkste kunstenaars van deze groep was de legendarische expressionist Anatoly Zverev. Zijn invloed kan in Vologzhanin’s werk van de late jaren 80 en de vroege jaren 1990 worden gevoeld.

Vologzhanin’s oeuvre is uniek en divers, de kunstenaar is altijd aan het zoeken. Zijn werk balanceert op de rand van realiteit en abstractie, het is grijpbaar maar ook buiten ons bereik.

Het kan helder, emotioneel en tragisch zijn. Vologzhanin zelf meent dat zijn werk diep religieus is, echter niet op een traditionele manier. Zijn onderzoeksterrein betreft de gehele natuur.

Vologhzanin in januari 2011

Vologzhanin nam aan veel internationale tentoonstellingen deel, zoals de Biennale in Venitië en ook de eerste expositie in London waar hedendaagse Russische kunst te zien was, “Moscow to London” in de Thumb Gallery in London in 1989, de Vanguard Exhibition in New York, en exposities in Zwitserland, Frankrijk etc. In january 2011 exposeerde de kunstenaar in het Centrale Kunstenaarshuis in Moscow om zijn 65ste verjaardag te vieren. De kunstenaar leeft en werkt in Moskou.

Николай Вологжанин портрет_resize
Art collector Albert Rusanov, Moskou by Luba Uritsky 1973

Art collector Albert Rusanov, photographed by Luba Uritsky 1973

In 1994 art collector Albert Rusanov wrote the following about Vologzhanin:

I must stipulate right away that these notes are non-professional (I am not an art critic) and highly subjective as regards my perception of the work of Nikolai Vologzhanin.
The abstract compositions of Vologzhanin from the period 1978- 79 in the collection of Richard Spooner comprise, in my view, the artist’s “golden age”. These small works of gouache and tempera look remarkably fresh against the background of  waning or almost fully spent passion for abstract art in Moscow in the 1960’s and 1970’s to which all unofficial artists (“nonkonformisty”) of that time had paid tribute. Such significant and sufficiently well- known masters as Nemukhin, Evgeni and Lev Kropivnitsky, Masterkova, Krasilnikov and others had passed through a period of abstractionism and left it behind in search of new directions. Collectors of contemporary art were likewise satiated with abstractions.

It was at this juncture that Vologzhanin appeared. In contrast to the purely superficial, in some ways even showy drama and dynamism of abstract expressionist paintings, one sensed in Vologzhanin’s seemingly relaxed compositions an enormous internal tension and, to some degree, even aggression. His parallelograms, ovals and circles – each distorted in shape – had a stronger affect than the imploded blotches and headlong lines of the expressionists. In some way his paintings bring to mind polished cross-sections of precious stones (malachite, amethyst, jasper) with their characteristic change of tone or color toward the outer edges. In Vologzhanin’s work this is strengthened and localized by outlining these edges with a dark, thin, capriciously tractu red line on both sides that somehow encloses the center is a kind of frame, accenting its autonomy and import. The center, in turn, is surrounded by a neutral or contrasting background or one altered by changes in tone that often grow richer toward the edges of the picture, creating something like an additional frame and imparting to each work the finished quality of a closed composition, as well as a certain delicacy. It’s this interplay of patches of color underscored by lines, and sometimes the mystery of the picture, as well, that raise it to the level of a symbol revealing the inner life of the artist and his relationship with the world outside.

It should be said that Vologzhanin’s esthetic taste is faultless; his pictures are brilliant and one can admire them endlessly. But entering his tense and radiant world can be fearful, and to be honest he doesn’t exactly welcome you inside, leaving constant warning signs along your path – a bright line that pierces the dark background like a bolt of lightning, or a shining empty space that opens up like a trap door in a swamp. In short, admire as you will, but don’t stick your nose into my world. Having said that, I would like to stress that Vologzhanin is unquestionably a phenomenon among modern Moscow painters, but one that unfortunately remains little studied and poorly grasped by today’s critics and art experts. He is worthy of attention.

A. Rusanov,  March, 1994