The museum-scale canvas and rollicking painting with a Russian spirit is exactly the format that Shulzhenko's collectors especially appreciate. Others, however, hate him for this very reason, accusing him almost of Russophobia. Like an actor who plays a negative character, Shulzhenko is pestered for the heroes of his paintings — drunks and their rowdy girlfriends. However, for the artist, drunkards and marginals are not part of his surroundings, but an object of study.
The play of natureless structures in space. Biomorphic cosmism. Artist 100% recognizable. Bright, expressive, innovative. Whoever sees it for the first time will never guess that these bright cosmic spots are sublimated impressions of explosions, which the artist saw in the war. Today Nikolay Vechtomov is one of the most sought-after artists among collectors, and his works regularly become auction hits.
The master of metaphysical still life, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, is today one of the most expensive artists of unofficial art. His auction record at the peak of the market was almost a million dollars. The philosophical basis of Krasnopevtsev's metaphysical still lifes is the idea of the frailty of the world and the desire for natural harmony, embodied in the equilibrium without symmetry.
Weisberg formulated his credo simply: “I study the palette”. And when asked about his place in contemporary art, he answered that “all I have in common with my contemporaries is a wall”. The main thing for him was his own world. Color was his religion. And his temple was a room in a communal apartment on the Arbat, painted all white and turned into a studio. Where only the closest associates were admitted.
Evgeny Rukhin is a legend of nonconformism. He is one of those uncomfortable and brave “rioters”, whom the authorities did not like very much. They preferred to be feared and kept their heads down. But Rukhin demanded, defended, disagreed. And he was not afraid. He fought for the right to work freely, developed a boisterous unofficial activity in Leningrad and became a real bone in the throat with the authorities. This is why so many refuse to consider his death in a fire in his studio in 1976 as an accident.
This tough psychological and mystical cycle by Mikhail Chemiakine is called “Angels of Death”. A series of watercolors of the same name was exhibited at the Hermitage in 1995. A powerful expressionist cycle: overcoming nightmares, desacralization of the world of shadows, photo-reportage from the depths the subconscious.
Tushenosh — a porter of cut carcasses — is a philosophical metaphorical image in Chemiakine's work. For the artist, it was an opportunity to show the symbolic neighborhood of life and death, a reflection on the vanity of vanities and, of course, an expression of the aesthetic rapture received in The Belly of Paris. The “stomach”, or “belly of Paris”, the writer Émile Zola called the food market Les Halles — the epitome of a bustling commercial life and its attendant vices.