Autobiography & Critiques

Autobiography & Critiques

autobiographie - version française

I was born in a town famous for its flowers and pretty women. The sun which shined down on my town, Rostov-on-Don, opened my eyes to life and gave me strength.

The day of my birth, the mid-wife said on seeing me “this little boy is not born in white shirt but with a paint brush in his hand” because a lock of hair on my forehead predicted my future towards painting.

My first steps towards the art world were taken at school, where on the day of the end-of-term examination, I painted better than the other schoolchildren, a black crow with glass eyes. This painting allowed me to immediately pass into the second year. Once I tried to paint a still life represented by some oranges on a black velvet background. In spite of all the care I took to try to reproduce the strange colour of this fruit, intensely lit up by the sun, my efforts were in vain. I then understood that I first had to learn to paint the sun before attempting the oranges. Everyday I painted the sun which led to a temporary blindness which left me seeing the sun in the form of a big, black hole. This illness passed thanks to God and mankind.

After having read the life of Van Gogh, I understood that I wasn’t the only one who sought to comprehend the mysteries of the sun. However I swore never to cut off my ear as he had done.

My studies and my work which continued at the former Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of Saint-Petersburg, today known as the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, gave me the opportunity to imitate the works of Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Ivanov. Even during the night, I dreamed of arms, feet, ears and faces.

One night in 1982, something happened to me. It was as if an explosion of light erupted inside of me. I jumped up out of my bed and started to paint on a canvas until I finally passed out. The following morning, I woke up to see my first painting « Mirror ».

My passion for Filonov and his system were the cause of my intense disagreements with my professors at the Academy who told me that if I continued to paint in my fashion, my children would starve, etc. I therefore decided to leave the Academy and carry on my experiments alone.

My system “Sens-Art” (Art Sensitivity), as I understand it, is a development of the “Russian Cosmos” which carries on the tradition of the school of thought of Filonov, Kandinsky, Malevitch. This is to say, to consider the cosmos as a new measurement since space and the energetic demonstration of the human mind in the Universe become objects of the image.

God help me to perform my task!

Spatial screens of Savtcheko
We  live in the world of spatial screens.

The first screen is a mirror which gives us an idea of who we are and  forms a notion of image. This art is like a spatial screen in its best  manifestation. It is  full of symbols that  allow to implement  the protection and introection. In other words, the artist’s  pictures  projected on the platitude create an idea of environment space and allow to realize the  world around and  to understand the human nature.
The movement SENS-ART was founded in 1983 in Leningrad  by Russian and French artist Valentin Savtcheko. Developing the idea of « Russian cosmisme »  of the end of 19-20 centuries , he has created his own conception of space, his global vision of the  world.  If for Nicolai Fiodorov,  the founder of «Russian cosmism», this was the  harmony of  the  worlds with  their  resurrected fathers, for  the author of « Cherni kvadrat » (« Black square ») and the founder of « suprematisme »  movement  Kazemir Malevich it is  planetary vision itself ,  for Savtcheko, the combination of  the global idea about the Universe and a  symbol which can be recognized   and  which is created by the  mankind  as a sign of existence is important. Being educated on the  ideas of Kandinski, Malevich and Filonov, Savtcheko thinks that  consideration of  images as minimalist  initial structure of  pure geometry is a totalitarian gesture. Though within previous centuries  the  development of the artistic style of Savtcheko  from the «  new wild » pure picturesque paintings to abstract compositions with collage and assemblage elements was occurred, his works are still  characterized by a specific manner  of narration,  usual for  symbolism in  art. The  pictures  of Savtcheko are inhabited by personages in his virtual spatial world. Savtcheko tells , for instance, the same   story as an  unknown Russian icon artist or  a painter of Renaissance Luka Siniorelli in his paintings « After Revelation ». But  presentiment of « After Revelation » is made by the man living in the crossing  of 20-21 centuries. Using an old technology of oil painting including the collage, Savtcheko creates the impression of virtual space, space of computer which is designed  by digital technologies.
To be in the space of Savtcheko paintings means to be  in virtual icons which are full of traditional symbols, mass product of the update  technology (elements of optical fibre) and abstract geometric compositions of the  third dimension. The Savtcheko paintings are symbolic screens which return the diversity of new virtual world with the help to traditional technology.
Olesya Turkina
Art Critic
Russian Museum – St Petersburg
October 29,   2000   Paris