The Land of Fisa Zaitseva
Dedicated to Rothko
Russian art suffered a great loss. Eduard Shteynberg, an avant-garde artist of the “second wave”, died in Paris in the last days of March. Shteynberg once said, “I can’t say that I’m on the right track, but what’s truth? It’s a word, an image. Camus wrote a wonderful philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus… an artist pulls a stone up a mountain, then, he falls down, but he raises the stone and drags it again… that’s the pendulum of my life”. One of the most famous Russian nonconformist-artists, Shteynberg didn’t receive a formal art education. He learned painting from his father Arkady Shteynberg, who was a poet and an artist, a graduate of the Supreme State Artistic and Technical Workshops. In 1937, the Chekists arrested Arkady on a charge of being an “enemy of the people”, and, after he returned from the camps, he settled in Tarusa, one of the centres of the unofficial counterculture in the 1950s. Shteynberg himself recounted that Russian avant-garde art, firstly, Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism, influenced his development as a painter, saying, “I didn’t discover anything new, I only gave the Russian avant-garde another perspective. What perspective? Rather religious. My spatial geometric structures are based on ancient catacomb wall paintings and, of course, icon painting”.
He didn’t approve of art that drew its inspiration from technology, from new media. He believed that a painter must work with initial elements of painting. Simple geometric forms, colour, and rhythm are the only things needed for creating harmony. In the 1960s, only a narrow circle of admirers of modern art knew of Shteynberg’s oeuvre… the official Soviet art world didn’t recognise his “abstract icon painting”. Not being a member of the Union of Artists, he didn’t have the opportunity to exhibit his works. Besides that, he didn’t have any hope for any government contracts. Sometimes, only foreign journalists and diplomats looked him up and bought his works. At that time, he couldn’t even imagine that, in forty years, he’d be an academician of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, with his paintings exhibited in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, New York‘s Guggenheim Museum, and in major galleries in Europe, and that his paintings would bring astronomical sums of money at sales at the world’s most famous auction houses.
In 1990s, he moved abroad. For some time, he lived in München, and, then, settled in Paris, but he never considered himself an émigré… he always had two addresses on his business card… in Paris and in Tarusa. He died on 28 March. Journalist and artist Galina Ackerman said, “He was seriously ill for many years, he had cancer, and he had several operations. All the time, he longed to leave the hospital. He celebrated his 75th birthday at home, and, in general, he lived the way he wanted until his last day. He even had time to dictate dialogues about his life in Paris; the book will be published soon. Only two days ago, he went to a café with a friend and they drank wine. That evening, he felt sick. Immediately, they transported him to hospital, and he died there in his sleep”.
31 March 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
The Russian spiritual renaissance is so deep that it affected even the seemingly “unchurched” such as Shteynberg. In like manner, American secular godlessness is so ingrained that it affects even the so-called “religious”, if they don’t take a care. You can see it clearly in “Evangelicals” (INCLUDING Mormons, JWs, and SDAs) and rightwing Catholics such as Santorum. We’re infected, too, and we have quite a job to do. You can see it in the konvertsy set in the OCA… the Church is NOT a rightwing “Culture War” establishment! However, the people enmeshed in these delusionary movements can’t see reality… show tolerance to them whilst you show no mercy to the demonic ideology they spout.
Remember, God’s going to save whom He wills to, not those who demand entrée as a right! Think on that… honest people like Shteynberg will enter the Kingdom before the likes of smarmy poseurs such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (Rev Billy WILL make it for sure… he’s genuine)…