Evsey Reshin & Valeria Sizyakova on view at NB Gallery, Moscow
Anna Eramzhyan, Director of Moscow’s NB Gallery talks about the gallery’s recent retrospective of Evsey Reshin. Resign is considered to be one of the pillars of Soviet Realism and was a member of the Moscow Art School. The exhibition is a detailed overview of the artist’s technical development and phases of his thematic choices.
Anna Eramzhyan: When we started, we didn’t think we would be collecting the art of the Soviet Period. For many years we didn’t like this art because it was everywhere around us, and one could see it everywhere.
When we started the gallery, the young artists started to show their teachers, and we realized that didn’t know anything about the art of that period. The main idea of our exhibitions is to depict that the Art and the State are very different things.
Reshin belongs to the Moscow Art School. This art disappeared from the art scene because of the main stream. Main stream art comprised of depictions of workers, peasants, constructions sites, which one could see everywhere – they were very beautiful, expressive paintings.
Moscow Art School was always very soft, and for the artists of the school it was a very important how, and not what. It always escaped any kind of illustration. The image was the most important thing they worked with, and if we start with the early work by Reshin, we can see it evidently.
Looking at his early work made in 1932, ‘The Sick Artist’, we saw the first words of his personal language. It’s not a subject; it is more how he presents – maybe himself. Sitting on the bed, looking at his legs, looking at his slippers, and the easel with the canvas. It is all just not telling you his story – you are swimming in this atmosphere of his colors. Also, look at his brush strokes. It is not whether it is bad or good – it is about this morning, which everybody sometimes has.
In his early works, it is very interesting to see how he tried to create his own language. He took very ordinary things – very typical interiors, but he used them in a very personal sense. Filling of the spiritual life in the subject was very important for Yesvey Reshin. You can always feel it in his still life. It is not just about the subject or the composition, it is about the secret life of the work, which is the most interesting thing since the beginning of the life of this genre.
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In the 70’s, he started to make the small tempera. In the beginning, the idea was that it was started for the big paintings, but he liked his temperas himself so much, that he never transformed them into the big canvasses.
He realized that this was the most interesting, and the most impressive genre of work. Really, this free brush work is absolutely wonderful. Again, we see like he is almost saying hello to his early work from 1930s; again this formal language; again this work with color, and the image which is absolutely different from the original one.
It is not the portrait or the landscape or the detailed description. It is something else when you see the image and you can just finish it together with the artist. That is very rare because lots of artists prefer a ‘finished’ manner, usually you can feel a demonstration of sorts. In Reshin’s work, what is important is that you can always feel this authentic image transformed by the artist.
Interview © galleryIntell. Images courtesy of NB Gallery, Evsey Reshin and Valerie Sizyakova