The North 2018

Photo: Region 29

Every year in the Exhibition Hall of the Union of Artists the exhibition “North” is held — a certain report of artists about the last two years of their creative career. This time, the exhibition presents works by 62 artists from Arkhangelsk and the region. Perhaps the number of guests depended on the number of participants? At the opening it was overcrowded!

This is my first exhibition “The North” — I have never heard of it before, although it has been taking place for more than a decade at the end or beginning of the year. It seems that all artists are necessarily members of the Union of Artists of Russia. Totally reckless. Everyone whose skill level satisfied the exhibition, the selection committee of the “North”. However, it didn’t go without any other exceptions: the exhibition “The North of 2018” combined exclusively pictorial and graphic works, refusing masters and artists of decorative and applied arts to display their works. It is very disappointing, since in the North, since ancient times, they have been engaged in this direction, and besides, the appeal to “decorative and applied roots” has already become a trend of recent years.

However, it’s not time to be sad, it’s time to rejoice over the exhibitors — the young ones in particular. The unexpected appearance of their work on the walls of the exhibition hall was discouraged. “Do I really see what I see?” — I thought, looking at the work by Dmitry Rezviy, strongly distinguished from others by his “youth” and courage. Not so extreme, but no less expressive works by Clara Jafarova, Maria Molchanova, Natalia Naumenko, Albert Oshomkov, Anton Krupin, Fillip Shadrunov, Alexander Menuhov and others also found their place here.

It should be said separately about the work of Alexander Menukhov “Disappearing Arkhangelsk” (2016(, on which traces of wooden houses typical for the region are “printed”. The artist openly declares the problems of the city through the creative language. The disappearance of Arkhangelsk, which not only citizens themselves used to represent it, but also tourists coming here – and often because of the rich, truly Russian wooden architecture of the region, people from all over the world flock here – it turned out to be one of the few important topics raised at the exhibition.

С Марией Молчановой. Фото: Регион 29

Practically all the works, with the exception of single copies, in my opinion, unite love for the North, the Russian North, its nature, architecture and people. There is no similar portrait or landscape here: The North is many-sided; at every minute it is objectively “different”, what can be said about the subjective view of the world of the artist and the viewer looking at the work. Here, lightness and exhaustion, tranquility and pain, summer and winter, politics and culture – all merge into a single portrait of the region with its many strengths and weaknesses, from which it does not become less loved.

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