Myth. Interpretation

Mark Nikitin is young, and I would even say a adolescent Arkhangelsk artist, although he is only a couple of years younger than me.  This Sunday at the library named after N.A. Dobrolyubov, he presented his second exhibition, but it was the first professional one. The first was held at the NArFU Intellectual Center from October 2018 to February 2019 – his pastel student drawings with landscapes of Kenozero Park were exhibited there. Today we can see in Dobrolyubovka the artist’s graphic works devoted to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the mythology of Mesopotamia, Lydia, Goths and Huns.

In my opinion, the topic chosen for this age is quite complicated – the Great Renaissance masters (Botticelli, Titian, Rubens), as well as artists of the Baroque (Poussin), Rococo (Batoni), romanticism (Delacroix) and different directions of the twentieth century were engaged in the depiction and expression of their views on mythology. In my opinion, the closer to the present, the more works of artists become more complex, poetic and symbolic. In this regard, when you first hear the title of the exhibition — “Myth. Interpretation ” — you understand that its author is quite bold. Or daring.

For me, mythology is an attempt by the ancients to draw up an all-encompassing picture of the world, of which they themselves were a part, in order to determine their place in the world and their relations with it. This is the value of the mythologies of various cultures – they give us an idea of how people built their relations with the surrounding world, nature

— says Mark Nikitin

The exhibition space of the second floor near the department of literature on art is a rather small, modest platform, but nevertheless very well suited for exhibitions of this format. Graphics require special attention, regardless of the color palette and the artist. In this case, we are seeing black and white graphics. This gives, firstly, to the artist the opportunity to demonstrate the proven technique of drawing, and, secondly, to the viewer – the opportunity to express their imagination and take a look at the work in their own way.

The works are small in size, they even resemble book illustrations in some way. To consider the details it is necessary to approach them as closely as possible and literally peer. Some of them are endowed with a large number of details and elaboration, while some are practically devoid of them and remain minimalistic, emphasizing the theme moment. Speaking of themes, among them we will find quite common and even popular themes from mythology: for example, the return of the Odyssey, landscapes of the Gardens of Babylon, etc.

With detailed examination of the graphics, we will not see traces of a pencil – only a black pen, a liner. This makes me think that from the very beginning Mark used only a pen, he didn’t resort to a pencil. That greatly complicates the work of the artist, because he cannot be mistaken – all the work will go down the drain. Maybe because of thia lines are sometimes not even. In general, the artist’s hand is still very timid and not sure of his movements, which is also noticeable in his works.

Mark was inspired by the French Fauves, which is noticeable in the general manner of drawing. He was also inspired by German expressionism – look at the faces, or even the grimaces, of mythological characters: they are conditional and sometimes resemble the work of Paul Klee or Ludwig Meidner. The artist also claims to be inspired by post-impressionists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. It seemed to me that the engravings by Hokusai had even greater influence, just look at these foaming sea waves from “Odyssey Returns Home”…


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