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"Vladimir Baranoff-Rossine: Colour-Musical Kinetism"
2007-12-19 until 2008-04-21
State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg, , RU Russian Federation

On December, 19 the State Russian Museum opened the exhibition of Vladimir Baranoff-Rossine in the Benois Wing of the Mikhailovsky Palace. The exhibition comprises circa 60 works of art from the collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Volsk Regional Museum of the Saratov Region, Alexander Radishchev State Art Museum in Saratov, Tambov Regional Picture Gallery, Davitson International S.A. company (Switzerland), collections of V. Tsarenkov (Paris), M. Mkrticheva (Moscow), A. Tselovalnikov (Moscow). The exhibition continues until April 21, 2008.

The name of Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné is sadly less known in Russia than in the West of Europe, though the artist was born in Russia, got excellent professional training and matured as an avant-garde painter there. After the revolution the artist contributed to various events of na-tional cultural life. Baranoff-Rossiné’s explicit oeuvre embraces painting and sculpture, colour-music and design. Georges Annenkoff wrote about the artist: “Throughout his whole creative path he would invariably appear (chronologically and logically) in the first ranks of the most various avant-garde movements. He was a companion and comrade-in-arms in the hard battles stirring the artistic world”.

It equally refers to the epoch of the Sturm und Drang of Russian avant-garde in the second half of the 1900s and the time when the artistic youth first ever contributed to the Stephanos (1907/08), Wreath (1908) and Impressionists (1909) exhibitions. The contributor to these exhibi-tions, young Vladimir Baranov studied at that time at the Odessa School of Art (1903-08) and the High School of Art at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg (1908-09). In 1910 he came to Paris almost at the same time with Marc Chagall. There he energetically embarked on a path of artistic experiments and cultural life of the world capital. Young Marc Chagall, Alexander Ark-hipenko, Ossip Zadkine, David Sterenberg, Chaim Soutine and other emigrant artists from Rus-sia, who later constituted the cream of Ecole de Paris, worked at La Ruche famous workshop together with Vladimir Baranoff. In 1912-14 Baranoff-Rossiné got acquainted with the editorial staff of the Soir de Paris magazine, where the artists of the Russian colony met Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire. The artist’s talent evolved from postimpressionism via fauvism and cubism to orphism and abstractionism. In 1911 he created Smithy, a canvas already marked with cubistic features and in 1913 he produced polychrome kinetic sculptures. Apollinaire mentioned his Symphony No. 2 in his review of the Salon des Indépendants, 1914.

1915-17 Baranoff-Rossiné spent in Norway. His Christiania. Fjord (1915) was most characteris-tic of this period. The artist resorted to the motif of the Möbius strip which perfectly embodied the artist’s concepts of “dynamic painting” and tonal music thus peculiarly interpreting the fea-tures of orphism and cubism. The exotic scenery of Norway, its “northern” light and the artist’s Parisian experience determined the peculiarities of the figurative solution of the canvas. In the vortex of the quaintly writhing Möbius strip the female silhouette appears and disappears turning into a hint or a scheme. The canvas with its pulsating rhythm of waves is carried out in the “rain-bow” colouring of pure and phosphoric paints. In Norway the artist created the “optophonic” (colour-musical) piano. Optophones are the piano keyboard operated lens projectors with hand-made moving disc slides. In 1916 the master held first ever optophonic concerts in Christiania and Stockholm.

In the 1910s Russian painting developed so rapidly and so many events took place and new names appeared that by the time the artist returned to Russia in 1917 the public and the artists had already forgotten the name Baranoff-Rossiné. In the first years of the Soviet regime Ba-ranoff-Rossiné was involved in the major activities hardly imaginable by his Parisian avant-garde colleagues. Baranoff-Rossiné realized his multifaceted talent and interests and social tem-perament as member of the Izo-Narkompros, decorating Petrograd for the October first anniver-sary, developing training programmes on the base of the world avant-garde achievements and discoveries in the field of colour-music marked with a synthetic approach. In the field of easel painting the artist created a number of cubofuturistic compositions and nonobjective works full of dynamics and permeated with the motifs of the Möbius strip. In the early 1920s he actively collaborated with the musical section of the State Academy of Artistic Sciences and Association of Inventors. He was keen on the problems of “dynamic painting” and its confluence with sound art. As a result, he improved the optophonic piano. In 1925 the Soviet Committee for Inventions patented the “Chromotrone” – “projective device reproducing changing light and colour impres-sions”.

In 1925 the artist left his homeland for good. He had a little more than a decade and a half left by fate for life and oeuvre. In Paris Baranoff-Rossiné worked actively in the stylistics of surrealism, continued his quests and research in the field of colour- and light-music. The life of Vladimir Baranov-Rossinй ended in the Auschwitz concentration camp on 25 January 1944.

It was not the scope of the master’s talent but the concourse of circumstances in public and art life of the country (first of all ostracism of “formalism”) and his forced emigration that were the true reasons of seventy-year oblivion of his oeuvre in his homeland. His works were not exhib-ited and his name was not included into the dictionaries and history books on national art.

The State Russian Museum expresses its sincere gratitude to the museums and collectors con-tributing the works by Baranoff-Rossiné to the exhibition.

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