THE MOSCOW TIMES

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Timur Novikov is one of the key figures of the last quarter of the 20th century in Leningrad - St. Petersburg. The artist, who had many apprentices and associates, was the founder and ideologist of the «New Artists» Association in the 1980s and the New Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990s. In Novikov’s work, there are three main stages, when he, following the spirit of the times, radically changed his style: the expressionism of the times of the «New Artists» (until 1986), geometric appliqués on fabrics (1986-1993, the last date is conditional, the poet Joseph Brodsky says about Novikov's departure from geometry in his famous dialogue with Novikov in the Stedelijk Museum in September 1993). And the last stage - colorful «baroque» works on fabric, which he created until his death in 2002.

Horizon is an identification mark of Novikov's creativity second period, the most famous and explored. The artist begins to use ready fabric for his works, sometimes monophonic, sometimes with print. The pieces of fabric are sewn horizontally, and the seam is read as a «horizon», and various figurative applications appear on the background. Almost in all Novikov's texts, explaining the change to working with finished fabrics, turns to the everyday side of life and protects it precisely as opposed to elitism and subtlety. Novikov refers to the comfort of everyday life, the intimate «bedside» world of joys hidden from the eyes of others by screens and curtains: «My works are simple - they are not loaded with information - rest is what I try to give to the viewer. In reality, a man rests while contemplating a landscape. Even contemplating a very beautiful face, we do not rest. Maybe only flowers relax us in a still life, but they are, rather, a part of the landscape. The desire to make a pleasant thing to the viewer makes me turn again and again to a landscape, mostly marine. Every time I work, I compare it with the space above the bed - will it be possible to see it every day? Won’t it spoil the mood?» (1989 text for the exhibition in Turku).

The origin of the space that is formed due to the seam, is attributed by some researchers to the impressions of the Far North, where Novikov lived as a child, while others recognize in it a panorama from the Trinity Bridge in the city on the Neva. The artist himself deduced the image of the horizon from his experiments with reproductions of Malevich's works: if a white circle is introduced into a black square (the sign of the Moon), the plane immediately becomes a space, and Suprematism becomes more humane.V

Novikov claimed that his geometric applications on the fabric are the development of Suprematism, and cited Malevich's «Red Cavalry Gallops» (1928-1932) as the example, in which figurative elements likewise invade the abstract canvas, transforming the plane into a three-dimensional space. In the same magic way - thanks to a half of the sun with rays - a horizon is born from the seam in the «Poppies» work. Blue fabric becomes the sky, and a typical floral print is the poppy field. This miracle of the revival of conditional and patterned images resembles a vertep theater, when in a small wooden box with puppets the viewer suddenly recognizes himself and his world.
 

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