Boris Kasatkin paintings at the In artibus Foundation is the second part of the project dedicated to the Moscow School of Painting. The first in this series was the anniversary exhibition Vladimir Veisberg (2014), the next, third in a row, the foundation will dedicate Ilya Mashkov.
Boris Kasatkin (b. 1944) – Moscow artist. Formally, he began his professional education at the Moscow Art School (1958-61) and continued at the Stroganov School (1962). The turning year in his life turned out to be 1966, when he began studying with Vladimir Veisberg, under whose guidance he was formed as a professional. Currently lives and works in Moscow. The exhibition presents works directly from the artist’s studio, from private collections and from Russian museums (the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Arkhangelsk Art Museum, the Volgograd Art Museum named after I.I. Mashkov, the Vologda State Museum-Reserve, the Perm Art Gallery).
For the viewer, this exhibition is a rare and, to some extent, a unique opportunity to get a complete picture of the painting of Boris Kasatkin, an artist known to a circle of professionals: colleagues, art historians, collectors, but still categorically closed to the general public. The exposition is thought out and built by the artist himself — this is an exhibition “from the first person”.
One hundred paintings represent all stages of Kasatkin’s creative life. Moscow landscapes of the 60-80s are a significant part of the exhibition. Courtyards, embankments, corners of parks, the sky, clouds — there are no places reproduced “verbatim”, but every Kasatkin landscape is recognizable. The light and air into which the picturesque surface of his works is transformed are undeniably Moscow. By the end of the 80s, the bright plein air was replaced by a kind of “white period” – a natural one for a student of Vladimir Weisberg. The end of the 80s and 90s – the time of analytical work in the workshop. The famous Weisberg shelves, plaster figures, famous for the works of the great painter, continue to exist in Kasatkin’s workshop. He still writes these subjects today.
Each stage of Kasatkin’s creativity does not differ sharply from the previous one — it is a smooth evolution, subordinated to natural internal impulses — the stages of development of his creativity are gentle, but lead only upwards. For more than fifty years Kasatkin has been engaged only in painting — every day, the required number of hours. With outstanding abilities, this is the way to such a high level of skill and understanding of art, which seem excessive for our time. Kasatkin’s painting is not for the mass audience, however, there are always enough connoisseurs.
Since the late 90s and still, with the strict limitations of classical genres – there are only three of them (the artist prefers the term “plastic theme”): still life, portrait, nude — Kasatkin acquires a new degree of pictorial freedom, almost unattainable for any of his contemporaries. The natural stage of the artist’s evolution is enriched by the possibility of personal acquaintance with the world painting tradition. For the past twenty years, Kasatkin has been looking for and finding like—minded people in museums around the world – from Stockholm to Washington. Hals and Terbruggen, Surbaran and Klas Heda, Pissarro and Sera are for him teachers, colleagues and, in a way, contemporaries. Kasatkin lives regardless of time, which is not so difficult if in the natural course of life, connected with her only business, to focus on the absolute.
Despite the fact that Kasatkin’s painting provokes conversations about the sublime, the In artibus Foundation exposition can be viewed in the most human and almost everyday aspect: Boris Kasatkin is just a Moscow artist. A simple definition is exhaustively true, both topographically — an artist born on the Arbat has never lived outside the Garden Ring — and typologically: this is a “representative of the Moscow school of painting”, that is, primarily a colorist, inclined to solve plastic problems to the detriment of all others — moral, psychological or social.
Boris Kasatkin, from an interview (2011):
Painters are those who are most interested in the material, that is, the palette, everything else is secondary to them.Painting is generally a good thing, it is good despite what the artist is aware of. This is mostly an unconscious activity. Art is simply the adequacy of spatial abilities, and the secret is that no one knows what these abilities are. This is just the realization of what the artist does not know.All this activity is experimental, whether we want it or not. What someone called inspiration, someone called an experiment. It is necessary to put yourself in the conditions of the experiment.
Don’t lie. Don’t make it up.