Creation by human thought and hand is sooner or later absorbed by the eternal poetry of nature: Atlantis by the ocean, the temples of Egypt by the desert sands, the palace and labyrinth of Knossos by volcanic lava and the pyramids of the Aztecs by the jungleâ€™s tentacles. For me, it is not the birth of a civilisation which is of greatest interest but its death and the moment its successor is born â€¦â€™
1937 - 2012
Dmitry Petrovich Plavinski is one of the best masters of the Moscow â€˜unofficial artâ€™. Between the 1960â€™s and 1980â€™s he was among the so-called â€˜twentyâ€™, a group of Moscow artists called the â€˜avant-gardistsâ€™, back then he also took part in many exhibitions which at the time were notorious. In his own words, the artist describes the artistic movement he developed as â€˜structural symbolismâ€™ where an integral view of the world disintegrates into a sequence of symbolic forms, subsumed into the strata of time â€“ the past, present and future. Astonishing for their execution, Plavinskiâ€™s etchings and Indian ink and brush drawings, his painting as well as his graphical works stand out for the unusualness of their intricate texture and technical execution. The multiplicity of meaning and metaphysicality are somehow historically intertwined with the material and continue in the vein of the classics â€“ DÃ¼rer, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1959 onwards, Dmitry Plavinsky travelled extensively and worked in a number of northern Russian towns â€“ Novgorod, Pskov, the Ferapontov Monastery, Yaroslavl and Kostroma. The artist began with abstract painting (1962-1964). In 1964 he produced a graphical book of grasses painted from life after which he finally moved across to figural painting, as well as texture painting, and his works increasingly included religious motifs. In the middle of the 1960â€™s the artist created large canvases entitled â€˜Gospel of Johnâ€™, â€˜Novgorod Wallâ€™ and â€˜The Ancient Bookâ€™ which used plastic and ligatures of scripts from ancient Slavic texts. Etchings played a prominent role in the artistâ€™s work.
â€˜â€¦The most important thing is always the same â€“ a love of structures; structuralism permeates everything: whether the artist is painting pictures, studying stone bowls, exploring mushrooms, bark, insects â€“ in all cases he is searching for this astonishing rhythm in various structuresâ€¦If there is no structure, the artist cannot work. If they exist, then it matters not if he paints with care from nature a web of leaf veins or, placing some plaster onto a board, enriches it with imprints of pieces of hessian, mesh, different objects â€¦Plavinsky is not interested in colour, the job of colour is solely not to impede the revelation of structureâ€™. L. Kropivnitski, 1965