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Oleg Vassilyev. Memory Speaks. Themes and Variations

27 January - 23 February 2005
Marble Palace

This first retrospective exhibition of Oleg Vassiliev's works held in Russia introduces the oeuvre of one of the protagonists of the unofficial art of the 1950s-1960s. Oleg Vassiliev's works, a poetic interpretation of the past and the present life, reflections on the concepts of space, light, and colour. A lyric who has found his own style and theme in painting, in the Soviet times he was known only as an illustrator of books for children. The present show, which comprises more than 100 works of painting and graphic art from museum and private collections of Russia and the USA, allows Russian public to re-discover the oeuvre of the artist, who has lives and worked in the USA since 1990. Oleg Vassiliev was born in Moscow in 1931. In 1947-1952 he attended an art school, in 1958 -graduated from the graphic department of the V.I.Surikov State Art Institute. Since the early 1960s, together with Eric Bulatov, he earned his living illustrating books for children. They collaborated successfully for 33 years. The time free from illustrating publications was devoted to oeuvre. In the 1960s Vassiliev investigated the abilities of painting as a specific language. Using Favorsky's system as a base, he studied the "picture world" problem, the world's surfaces and boundaries, the inner energetic currents, the way objects and space transform within the canvas. In was then that certain themes emerged; those have stayed in Vassiliev's oeuvre well after he left Russia, and are still present: memories of home, roads, woods, fields, friends, family. From the 1980s onwards Oleg Vassiliev;s works of art have been exhibited throughout Europe - in Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, - as well as in the USA. This exhibition has been organised together with the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Kolodzei Art Foundation (the USA). A catalogue for the exhibition has been published.