‘Universe of the Arts’ writes about the influence of Nikolai Kuzmin's childhood and origins on his painting.
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'Universe of the Arts' writes about the influence of Nikolai Kuzmin's childhood and origins on his painting.



October November 2011


– a painting in the storm

‘The strength of the art remains in its perfection, its energy and its philosophical profoundness.’ Nikolay Kuzmin remembers in this way the teaching he had during his young years of study, after an entire life marked by the success of his painting, a free representative of the Muscovite school.

Kuzmin was endowed with formal perfection from nature, but he always questions it, building on the tireless exercise of willpower to improve and led by the lessons of his famous professors in the Muscovite Academy of Fine Arts Stroganovka.

A pure technique, perfect in its execution and its results. But also a technique in search of spontaneity and a kind of selflessness which, the painter says ‘leaves the painting fresh, passing on the truth of colour and light sensations’, as if never to lose the youthful and passionate fervour of a first sketch.

The artist received the energy of the works, its power to drive and to shake from his childhood.

A descendant of the people living between the large rivers of the Volga basin, he grew up having in front of his eyes the Russian vastness, one of these rare expanses where the imagination can enjoy all the necessary space to spread its wings. From it he keeps ‘this luminous feeling of his childhood’, and his taste for wide open spaces and their eternal promises : a feeling of freedom. These sensations coming from his childhood, Kuzmin has presented and painted them again and again for them to be preserved from fading away in time and memory, meeting his passionate desire to transmit these pictures through his unique experience, the consciousness and rarity of which making by themselves a perpetual motive for creation.

The philosophical profoundness of his art, its intellectual, even more than ideological – spiritual –, foundation were made up by Kuzmin throughout his career.

It starts with the idea of motion, of a search for a way to carry on. The evocation by the painter of a childhood memory gives an extraordinary image of it: the image of a painting carried along by the wind, an object of anxiety as well as fascination, like a metonymical metaphor of the artist’s spiritual path, carried along by the elementary forces of the Creation. Later the young Kuzmin learns in the Stroganovka how to search for a ‘philosophical comprehension of the creation process.’ There he discovers how ‘not to copy but re-create nature’ on the canvas. The artistic creation becomes a search for the divine: religion supports the edifice made of his works. Moreover he gives a preponderant role to the ‘protectress Virgin of the Russian land’, present in some of his paintings, going with her in his desire to ‘see what hides behind the horizon, where the sun sets’ and to feel oneself take a place in the large painting of the divine creation.

Lastly the first quality of his œuvre, its sincerity and humility, is founded on his constant will to elaborate a unique approach to painting, matching his history, his personality, and his philosophy of life.

Let us finally quote the maxim of one of his professors, who replied to him, answering the questions of young Kuzmin about the works, shown in its corridors, made by the best students of the academy: ‘these painting are shown for the same thing not to be done…’ This is about calling young artists to be inspired by Kuzmin for his spirit of independence and freedom while inventing, as he does, their own way.

By Thibaud Josset

From September 24th to October 20th, 2011
Preview on Saturday, September 24 from 5pm to 8pm.
Matthieu Dubuc art gallery
10-12, Bd du Maréchal Foch
92500 Rueil-Malmaison

From November 24th to 27th, 2011
Preview on Tuesday, November 22nd 2001, from 5pm to 10:30pm
Watercolour and Drawing Exhibition
Art CapitalGrand Palais – 75008 Paris
Site: www.kouzmine.fr



The dreams, beautiful lady

, 2002, O/C, 120 x 110 cm (47.2 x 43.3 inches)

A dazzling day. Notre-Dame de Paris

, 1998, O/C, 92 x 73 cm (36.2 x 28.7 inches)

The farewell

, 2002, O/C, 100 x 90 cm (39.4 x 35.4 inches)

Once again my arms are raised to the heavens of my native country

, 1990, O/C, 88 x 100 cm (34.6 x 39.4 inches)

Evening in winter

, 1971, O/C, 98 x 87 cm (38.6 x 34.3 inches)

The Muscovite legend of the invisible town of Kitiezh

, 2006, O/C, 50 x 75 cm (19.7 x 29.5 inches)


Version originale en langue française

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