archive:Personal exhibition dedicated to 105 years of National Artist of Russia IVAN TITOV
Passing along the sphinxes on quay Nevsky, the Greek statues of goddess Flora and hero of antic mythology Heracles, (I had learned about them later) under the lofty portal columns of The Academy of Art, I came in a caban jacket and a beret with a few drawings in a folder – for want of all, but tempests and passions in my soul.”
I. Titov. From an autobiography
Notion of “realism” and god forbidden “ soc. realism “ instigates today contradictory reactions - either boredom or rapture, with a tint of curiosity.
Boredom in people who still remember artificially refined features of inexistent heroes of labour: stout women toiling in the field, with obligatory bundle of wheat in hands, and stylized warriors in helmets and caps. Rapture with a tint of deride, in passers-trough cosmopolites who consider this like a kitsch of disappeared soviet epoch.
It is strange that distorted reality of already forgotten time is still in demand and stylish “eternal boys” in expensive scarves are successfully exploiting and selling in the west works in style of “adieu foul USSR”. Works where the sky is too bleu, banners too red, people too muscular. Pleasure of mocking fallen giant. And even more, pleasure of making money shamelessly on what’s not dangerous. Kicking proudly dead elephant and making photo for souvenir. How nice, how gratifying for their ambitions…
There are even manifestations of “realism” beyond grasp, when ridiculed are not fictional heroes of yesterday but no less than eternity. But this is from sphere of psychiatry and …
When you are turning over the pages of Titov’s catalogue from the publishing house ”Soviet painter”, amazingly, you have a feeling not looking back to past, but looking into the future. It is soul and heart warming real “realism” where boats are in the harbours of different seas. Looking at the calm movement of waves, you have no thoughts, that after few years everything will have become alienated and locked in endless fight between states. Simply sea, boats and stillness.
Anxious “Waves at Gurzuf’s rocks” painted in1957 doesn’t predict a tempest. Solar splendour of Genoa fortress of 1967 captivates with unshakable confidence that there always will be the sun. Ivan Titov’s artistic realism is akin of a good documentary film. Here, good means genuine, without gloss; life as it is.
Painting, which reflects the melting time, which doesn’t permit to forget. This painting is giving wonderful possibility to unwind time back, for looking attentively into the eyes of Abkhazian boy in the red head cover. The eyes with such a dignity, so wise, that you want to ask “ Do you know what will be there? But how do you know?” and when left without the answer, to swallow the lump, remembering the stories of friends about the traces of never-ending war, if only calming down sometimes.
Realism, apart from the terrible isms, is first of all the reality, though everyone with it’s own. But say please, who voluntarily does refuse the life of quiet joy... Is it possible to stay indifferent, when even painting’s title “ The Flowers and Citruses” render you sentimental, begetting desire to touch bleu petal, feel bitter smell of orange and correct a curtain?!
Why the rage of acidic colours, when there is a soft beauty inviting into quiet contemplation. Contemplation so necessary for our souls, our memory. Knowing, when you have never seen, how nice is a spring in Moldavian village, and beautiful buffalos reclining once in Kishinjev bazaar.
Returning into the past, not so long ago, is like returning into the fairy-tale. Ah! The mountains of Gurzuf! Blossomed crimson! In everything there is such a joy, usual human, unpretending joy, without pathos, like untidy peons in someone’s, long ago disappeared garden…
This calmness is so piercingly bright that eyes are closing involuntarily when you see Pljuschiha in 1944 winter. Not simply the street, but the view of the street from artist’s window. And the strange feeling that this have never existed! But that existed nevertheless!
Existed boys in frayed jackets, having nothing but folder with drawings in it, wanting become a painter. And yes, they had a joy. Joy always was with them.
Ivan Titov is incarnation of what is called “pure dedication to art”
And exactly that dedication, without a tint of mercantilism, keeps the flowers unfading. The flowers, put in the vase long ago, in 1945, are fragrant today. It is the truth.
Aleksandra Panfilova. Moscow 2007