Russian nonconformist artist Vladimir Lisunov

Vladimir Lisunov (21 March 1940 – 27 July 2000) — Russian nonconformist artist, member of the Leningrad unofficial art tradition of the 1960s–80s, poet, philosopher, romantic, mystic. Known as Lis among artists and close friendsVladimir Lisunov was born in Leningrad on the spring equinox 21 March 1940.Vladimir Lisunov's early childhood took place during the war years, and he and his mother and sister had to live through the Nazi Siege of Leningrad, and also through bombardment and air raids of the besieged city. At the age of nine he began drawing, learnt to play the violin and wrote poetry, but by the age of twelve he had realised that his vocation was painting.

 He worked in the Leningrad Kirov Theatre of Opera and ballet, where he created sets, sketches of costumes, and make upmake up. He made several sketches of costumes for the ballerinas Natalia Makarova and Alla Osipenko. He earned extra money by making toys out of papier-mâché, which he decorated with paint. He also decorated porcelain in the Leningrad Porcelain Factory.

 Vladimir Lisunov's work went against Soviet Ideology's notions of art. For this reason he was forbidden to work as an artist. Attempts to organise official exhibitions of his work were unsuccessful. He was turned down even at the very initial stages of negotiations. In the mid 1960s, having begun to exhibit his work illegally, he came under the radar of the KGB, and as a result his personal exhibitions were smashed up, and his paintings barbarically destroyed by members of the militia. But in spite of the bans, threats and hounding on the part of the KGB, Vladimir Lisunov continued to work, and in 1970–71 took part in several joint exhibitions in the studio of the artist Vladimir Ovchinnikov, which were also smashed up by members of the militia. In 1975, Lisunov planned to take part in an exhibition of avant-gardists in the "Nevsky Palace of Culture", but on the eve of the opening he was arrested by members of the KGB, and as a result he spent several days in a cell in the Bolshoy Dom on Liteyny Avenue. In this way, Vladimir Lisunov's participation in the exhibition was sabotaged. But it was there, in the confines of the KGB, sitting in a cell, Vladimir Lisunov used a pencil to draw on paper a sketch which he later used when painting the picture 'The fugitive', which became a 'calling card' of his work. Unfortunately, most of Vladimir Lisunov's paintings were destroyed by members of the Soviet Militia, with the sanction of the KGB, during the destruction of his exhibitions.
Right up until 1985, Vladimir Lisunov was forced to be in a constant battle with the authorities as he attempted to assert his right to exhibit his works.
“     None of Leningrad's official artists in the era of stagnation went through such pressure on the part of the authorities as Lisunov did. Between 1969 and 1985 he did not have the opportunity to take part in a single official exhibition. The exception was only two or three small exhibits in private homes.     ”Natalia Reginskaya.Wikipedia

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