Exposition Art Blog: Evgeny Chubarov

Evgeny Chubarov

Evgeny Iosifovich Chubarov ( 11 December 1934 – 5 December 2012) was a Russian painter, sculptor, and graphic artist.Evgeny Chubarov was born in the village of Nizhneye Bobino in Bashkiria on 11 December 1934.
He almost didn’t go to school, working on a collective farm pasturing colts as a teenager. His passion for painting appeared in childhood, partly under the influence of his father. In his youth, Chubarov wanted to have a prestigious profession, so went to his uncle’s house in Zlatoust to study to become an engraver at a vocational school there. After graduating from the school, Chubarov entered the army and served five years in the Baltic Fleet.In 1959, Chubarov went to Saratov and then to Zagorsk (now Sergiev Posad), where he worked at the restoration studio of the sculptor Dmitry Tsaplin. In 1961, he married Lyudmila Gukovich, a pediatrician who worked in Istra. They lived in rented rooms that they had found by chance.

in 1963, his paintings March and Factory Landscape (views of the Zagorsk Optical and Mechanical Plant) appeared at an exhibition of young artists in Moscow. Factory Landscape was published in Iskusstvo magazine just a few months after Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had criticized artists who were focused on the European avant-garde.
During these years, Chubarov conceived a passion for creating wooden sculpture. He got the material he needed thanks to useful contacts with an engineer from a brick factory in Zagorsk. According to his wife's memoirs, the works were life-size portraits that resembled photos of the victims of Auschwitz
In the 1970s and 1980s, Chubarov moved from simple compositions towards a new interpretation of the relationship between painting and the body. He created his famous series of powerful multi-figure ink compositions on paper. Compositionally, his work inherits Christ Carrying the Cross by Bosch (1515–1516), the expressionism of Boris Grigoriev in his Faces of Russia (1920–30s) and Pavel Filonov’s analytical experiments. If Chubarov had previously painted some characters in easily readable relations, in the 70s and 80s, he created situations with maximum tightness and filled the canvas with more and more faces and bodies that were rarely bound by a common storyline.
In Fight (1982), Chubarov equates the surface of the canvas to the body and skin, erasing the border between the figurative and the body. Later, that understanding of the surface of the canvas propelled him to the ultimate objectlessness. The motives of Fight would remain throughout the artist’s period of pure abstraction and would move into many of his drawings.

The Soviet part of Chubarov’s biography is not so rich in external events, and there is no evidence that the artist tried to become part of the underground. His name did not appear on the list of those artists who tried to exhibit independently.
At the invitation of art dealer Gary Tatintsian, he traveled to Berlin and New York City, where his style underwent its last transformation. Chubarov moved from impressionism to pure abstraction and succeeded. He was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant and participated in exhibitions on equal footing with the greatest artists of the post-war generation. Chubarov came to abstraction at the moment when it stopped being a political gesture of emancipation from the formal requirements of art. Such a late step beyond the narrative art emphasizes his internal independence from the artistic context he had to work in. Chubarov managed to concentrate on the painstaking creation of non-figurative painting primarily as a thing, an object in different dimensions, from the ornamental to the psychological. Chubarov considered himself an heir of the Russian "archaic" culture, drawing a parallel between his technique and the ideas of Malevich's Black Square. Working in his unique style, along with the iconic representatives of the Soviet art, such as Ilya Kabakov, Andrey Monastyrsky and Erik Bulatov, Chubarov embodied in his paintings the idea of a new era’s philosophy, visually identifying energy of the world around him, and transforming abstract symbols into images of reflection displaced in the conceptual art energy.Wikipedia

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