First Day - St Petersburg 2019
Day two and the first of our appointments arrives at the apartment, which is a bit of a miracle given the numbering on the postboxes at the entrance to the building!
It is Oleg Eldeukov … but as we discover, really Oleg Ildiukov – let us explain; Julian Ravest who founded Artists of Russia, discovered Oleg back in the 90’s and liked his atmospheric black and white studies of the city, but at the time spelt Oleg’s name wrong, and being too polite to correct him, Oleg has been going by the name Eldeukov ever since, even signing his pictures with that name! We couldn’t believe it … in fact it was only during a conversation about his son who plays in two Russian bands (Malinen & The Grand Astoria) and how we could find him on social media (Lucy was match making for her daughters) that he explained, otherwise it would have probably been more years until we discovered we were calling him by the wrong name all along. Can you believe it!! He has just been given a studio by the Artist’s Union and is very excited that he now has the space to create bigger pieces – we have been asking him for a while for his beautifully lyrical figurative work to be made on a bigger scale, and now he has the opportunity to create just that, we can’t wait to see them.
Next up was the burst of positive energy that is Andrei Smirnov. He wanted to show us this video of him flying his latest plane in his customary top hat, as he wanted to thank us - sales of his work through us has funded the new wings. His passion for flying is evident, and watching this amazing plane whizz through the air at 300km an hour and Andrei’s control over it is similar to his mastery of the brush – plane/brush both cut through the air making the most amazing dynamic shapes. We explain to Andrei how difficult the art market is at the moment and he says that we are lucky to be dealing with Russians who know how to survive, and that the secret to surviving is positive art. He says positive change happens in moments of crisis, and he will make sure that his art reflects that.
George Voronetsky echoes that thought and says that when things are quiet it gives an opportunity to do things from the heart. It is his mum’s work that we show – Taisa Voronetskya, and even though she died some years ago he explains that her vibration and energy informs everything that he does. We tell him that we know very well the importance of a mother’s energy and how that legacy continues. We notice a difference in Vychalev Sinkevich too, who visits with his wife, and with her feminine energy next to him he is softer, smiley, more relaxed than on previous visits, and it is good to see.
After our apartment appointments we head out to go to see Luminitsa Taburtsa and Alexander Dodon … as always, there are a fair few flights of stairs to climb, and then we are into the wonderful studio space that this couple inhabit. On our last visit an art class was in full flow, with the wonderful Luminitsa directing operations amongst the chaos. It wasn’t an ideal time to try and choose work, though we attempted it, but sometimes things work out in their own sweet time frame, and two years on, it was great to see a slide show of Alexander’s latest commission which has just been completed – a ‘Chinese Room’ in a private house, decorated from top to bottom in the most amazing lacquer work and Chinese style paintings on silk. It took a year to complete and they are just finishing off the last piece of the project – paintings of bookcases which will cover some unsightly plumbing. Believe us – there is nothing unsightly about this incredible private ‘palace’ which is just outside of St Petersburg! So, with this enormous commission out of the way, Alexander has returned to his own project called ‘Parkland’ – a series of oils set around one of the famous parks on the outskirts of St P … we forgot to write the name down, but Luminitsa wants to take us there on our next visit … she engineered the visit to the Fine Art Academy on our last trip, she is a major maker of magic and memorable excursions so we can’t wait! We cannot wait to receive the nine oils that we chose of Alexander’s, and the oils that we chose from Luminitsa’s work … it may have been a two year wait but it will have been worth it! We toasted that plan with a pint of stout in a mock English pub of course.