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Boris Zaborov

29 April - 11 June 2004
The Marble Palace

The personal Boris Zaborov's exhibition, held in the context of Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum programme, showcases various aspects of the artist's oeuvre - painting, graphics, collage, and sculpture. Ten years have passed since Boris Zaborov's works were exhibited in Russia. Boris Zaborov - illustrator and theatre artist - was quite famous in the USSR. His received a number of awards, and his graphic series as well as illustrations for works of classic literature were constantly shown to public and featured in periodicals in 1960s-1970s. However, he moves to Paris in 1918 and decides to start everything from the very beginning. His long-cherished dream to try easel painting was coming through. At the same time he had to find his own place among the tendencies of the modern art. His views and ideas underwent a change. His attention was caught by a new form of photography existence - at the art-stage - especially vintage photography, which was unknown to the Soviet art. Vintage photography seemed to accumulate historical experience. The artist began to study old photography and later, for a long period of time - based his works on it. An old studio photograph, the artist works with, becomes the main element of his works which imitate visual character of old photography, moments of its life - losses, scratches, signs of the past. However, Zaborov remains a true painter and sees old photography mainly as drawings of light, as a product of a contact of rays and a plate. He creates a gallery of anonymous characters - children, adolescents, family groups, lonely old people. These are common, utilitarian, not beautiful people, sometimes even with some anomalies. Nearly all the portrayed look straight at us as well as at other viewers, those who lived before us. This created an impression of time going by, reminds one of one's mortality. Boris Zaborov sees a book as a certain distillation of culture, since it stores human knowledge and experience. Still, the artist thinks, there is a danger that people will lose their interest towards books in the times of new technologies and media space, which puts the very existence of books at risk. Sculpture objects shown at the exhibition - ruined bronze books and albums with reduces to dust or tattered backs - cry of their defencelessness and the hazard which looms over them. Boris Zaborov is an artist of his own. He avoids becoming a member of any group or sharing one's interests; he does not look at any fashionable tendencies; but rather seeks to rehabilitate the universal of the human experience through his art. There is always a clash of the time which ruins and the reminiscences which save. Zaborov got his art education in Russia, was born anew as a painter in France, absorbed the European culture. The problems which interest him are very well known to the Russian culture - to remember the past, to feel the present, and to think of the future.