The very first thing I noticed by a brief look at Victor Kalinin’s paintings was the ultramarine blue. Perhaps, it’s the blue of the Altai, the place where he was born to an Old Believers family. Or is it the mystery blue of the Russian soul?
The exhibition “The Inherited Wind” is a retrospective of the work of Victor Kalinin who celebrated his 70th birthday on September 18th, 2016. He started in the late 1960s and was one of the leading artists in the 70s art movement in Soviet Russia called Soviet Nonconformism or the “Painters of the seventies”.
While I was diving into Victor Kalinin’s rich colors and images mostly inspired by Biblical stories, I caught myself remembering what I have read about this artist. This helped me understand what I see in his paintings.
Victor Kalinin was on of the 12 children in the family of Russian Old Believers (or Old Ritualists). Old Believers have separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms. To a Russian like me this sounds very conservative, kind of odd, people who live in the far wild forests of Siberia and the Urals and follow the oldest Russian traditions in everything in their everyday life.
Victor Kalinin uses very rugged materials (like old sackcloth) as canvas and for framing of his artworks. For his mixed media paintings he uses tempera mixed with… some secret elements (no-one knows what they are). In his early works he is much softer than in his later paintings. Also, he started with oils and now he prefers tempera (even though here and there you can find him working also with acrylics and charcoal).
I took pictures of some of his paintings which kind of spoke to me. I wonder what paintings start speaking to you if you go to see this exhibition in the Gallery ArtStory.
The artwork of Victor Kalinin you can see till October 30th, 2016 in the ARTSTORY Gallery (Moscow, Staropimenovskiy pereulok 14).