Vladimir Piatnitsky (1938-1978) Vita nova, 1974

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Lot 68*
Vladimir Piatnitsky
Vita nova, 1974

£ 10,000 - 12,000
US$ 13,000 - 15,000
Vladimir Piatnitsky (1938-1978)
Vita nova, 1974
inscribed in Cyrillic, titled in Latin, dated '74 Fall-Summer,' and further inscribed in Cyrillic 'Property of L.G. Piatnitskaya' (verso)
oil on canvas laid on board
35.5 x 49cm (14 x 19 5/16in).


  • Provenance
    Collection of Larisa Piatnitskaya (1940 – 2014)
    Thence by descent

    Possibly, Moscow, Moscow United City Committee of Graphic Artists (Malaya Gruzinskaya, 28), The Artist and His Time, 1988

    "Moscow bohemia has never known such a dazzling phenomenon," so wrote the renowned poet Evgeny Golovin about Larisa Piatnitskaya (1940 – 2014) ("An essay about the author of 'The Triumphal Procession of the Cultural Revolution - the Triumph of Romance' L.G. Piatnitskaya – Lorik," in L. Piatnitskaya, Triumph of Romance, Moscow, 1998, p. 31).

    Larisa Piatnitskaya, also known as "Lorik," is arguably one of the most extraordinary figures from the Moscow art scene of the late 20th century. For over 30 years, Piatnitskaya –a specialist in cultural studies, artist, writer and publisher - played an instrumental role in the life of various Moscow underground artistic movements collectively known as 'Soviet nonconformist art'. In the 1960s, together with the legendary writer Yury Mamleev, the poet Evgeny Golovin, and Alexander Dugin, Piatnitskaya became one of the founders and most vital members of the mystical intellectual club known as the "Yuzhin circle." In 1974, Larisa took an active part in the famed "Bulldozer" exhibition of Soviet avant-garde artists led by Oscar Rabin which was infamously razed to the ground by the Soviet authorities. An avid supporter of the free exhibitions movement and organizer of many subsequent "apartment" viewings of unofficial art, in the 1980s Piatnitskaya emerged as one of the leaders of the City Committee of Graphic Artists at Malaya Gruzinskaya, 28 - for a long time the first and only haven for artists working beyond the margins of Soviet ideological prescriptions.

    A number of albums published by Larisa Piatnitskaya which were mostly based on her private archives (The Triumph of Romance, 1998, The Feasts of My Revolution, 1999) still serve as rare documental evidence of the most remarkable events of underground culture and convey a unique portrait of the Moscow 'intelligentsia" of the 1970s and 1980s. Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, Lidia Masterkova, Ilya Kabakov, Evgeny Rukhin, Anatoly Zverev, Oleg Tselkov, Dmitry Plavinsky, Vasily Sitnikov and Ernst Neizvestny number among names on an impressive list of artists, writers, poets, collectors, patrons, and many others featured in these photographs from important unofficial exhibitions, casual meetings, private viewings, and many other significant moments of turbulent underground life during the Brezhnev era.

    The central theme of Piatnitskaya's publications and her other work is the freedom of artistic expression which largely became the motive for her own contribution and support of many independent artists including her husband Vladimir Piatnitsky, Anatoly Zverev, Vladimir Yakovlev, and Vladimir Kharitonov. As recalled by her contemporaries, combining a unique sensitivity towards art with an uncompromised responsiveness to those in need, Piatnitskaya was assiduous in providing her friends with the necessary support, from organizing personal exhibitions to publishing numerous catalogues and dedicated albums. According to Timofei Reshetov, "Lorik lived an active, interesting and unpredictable life. Her involvement in all matters related to her personally, her family, friends (event distant ones) cannot be overestimated. To each [person] Lorik has something to say that they need [to hear], she sees though and captures the essence of a person... I personally witnessed this as even a single, fleeting meeting with Lorik could change a person's life..." (T. Reshetov, Lorik. The Apostle of Love, Moscow, 2015, pp. 4-5).

    Vladimir Piatnitsky and Larisa met at a friend's house in July 1966. This acquaintance quickly grew into a deep connection, a partnership, and later marriage of two independent artists which lasted until Piatnitsky's sudden death in 1978. One of the most extravagant couples on the Moscow art scene, "Lorik" and "Piatnitsa", as they were called by many of their friends, both retained a close connection with the literary occultist circle of Yury Mamleev which in many ways may have inspired Piatnitsky's work. After Piatnitsky's death, Larisa put her efforts into organizing various exhibitions of his work, including the exhibition at Malaya Gruzinskaya 28, in 1978 and 1988, and published several catalogues and albums in his memory (The Artist and His Time, 1988, A second on the left, a second on the right..., 2004).

    A philosopher, mystic and esoteric, Piatnitsky is perhaps one of the most distinctive artists of his generation. His metaphysical art inspired by the early 20th century Italian tradition conveys an endless labyrinth of mysterious worlds, fantastical creatures, and symbolic meanings which reveal the multidimensional complexity of the artist's vision. Simultaneously, Piatnitsky's work is defined by a skilful play with a variety of artistic methods, styles, and genres, developed into a highly individualised artistic language.

    Within the range of media and genres used by the artist, spanning the less well- known abstract compositions and 'momentary' portraits to surreal cityscapes and grotesque illustrations, it is not unusual to find a 'programmatic' still life such as the offered lot Vita Nova. It is possible that the painting dated '1974' was created for one of the official exhibitions of the time which may justify the choice of artistic method. However, even when framed by the tradition of an 'academic' still life, Piatnitsky does not betray his principle of abandoning a sense of reality and creating a metaphysical space in the painting. In Vita Nova, the most ordinary objects laid out on a table transform into mystical characters and evoke the sense of a mysterious, haunted space around them while putting forward a completely different vision of the object itself available only to the artist.

    Symptomatic of Piatnitsky's extraordinary passion for literature, the title Vita Nova brings to mind the eponymous text by Dante Alighieri. It is symbolic that the painting with reference to Dante's most biographical work on the conception of courtly love was created in the "Summer-Autumn' of 1974 around the time when Larisa and Vladimir Piatnitsky were married. At the same time, Vita Nova, while preserving a variety of interpretations characteristic of Piatnitsky's work, may also convey the aspirations of the artist's generation concerning the "new life" of creative expression, free of social and ideological pressure.

    Более известная под псевдонимом "Лорик", Лариса Пятницкая - вероятно, одна из самых незаурядных представителей московской культурной сцены второй половины XX века. На протяжении более 30 лет культуролог, художница, писательница, публицист "Лорик" играла инструментальную роль в жизни целого ряда движений московского "андерграунда", подходящих под общее определение неофициального искусства СССР.

    Являюсь частью значительного собрания неофициального искусства Ларисы Пятницкой, предлагаемые щесть лотов (68-73) в своем роде документируют историю личных отношений Пятницкой с представленными художниками Владимиром Пятницким, Сергеем Бордачевым, Анатолием Зверевым и Владимиром Яковлевым, и в то же являют собой наследие неоценимого вклада Пятницкой в поддержку общественного движения 70-х и 80-х годов, которое она сама называла "Культурной революцией".

    В июле 1966 года, в гостях у друзей, Лариса познакомилась с художником Владимиром Пятницким. Это знакомство вскоре переросло в глубокую связь и партнерство двух свободных художников, впоследствии ставших супругами, которая продлилась вплоть до безвременного ухода Пятницкого в 1978 году. Одна из самых ярких пар московской неофициальной сцены, "Лорик" и "Пятница", как называли их многочисленные друзья, вместе участвовала в движении за свободные выставки художников, оставаясь близкими к литературному и оккультному клубу Ю. Мамлеева. После смерти супруга, усилиями Ларисы было организовано несколько выставок Пятницкого в том числе на Малой Грузинской, 28, в 1978 и 1988 годах, опубликованы посвященные художнику каталог Художник и его время, и альбом Секунда слева, секунда справа..., 2004.

    Пятницкого можно назвать одним из самых необычных и узнаваемых художников поколения шестидесятников. Метафизическая живопись художника-философа, мистика и эзотерика Пятницкого, вдохновленная итальянской живописью начала ХХ века, представляет собой бесконечные лабиринты загадочных миров, таинственных смыслов и фантастических образов, с помощью которых открывается сложное и многомерное видение художника. Вместе с тем Пятницкого характеризует высокое мастерство в освоении удивительного многообразия художественных методов, жанров и стилей, умело складывающихся в единый художественный язык. Среди разнообразия жанровых решений Пятницкого, от редких беспредметных композиций и моментальных портретов до сюрреалистических городских пейзажей и гротескных иллюстраций, нашлось место и "программным" натюрмортам, к которым можно смело отнести представленное произведение Вита Нова, датируемое 1974 годом. Вероятно, картина была написана для одного из выставочных показов этого периода, что могло обусловить выбор художественных средств для композиции. Однако, даже в рамках "академического" натюрморта, Пятницкий не изменяет своим принципам ухода от реальности сюжета и построения метафизического пространства. В натюрморте самые обыкновенные предметы принимают загадочные, полумистические образы, и наполняя таинственным значением пространство вокруг себя, реализуя совершенно иное видение предмета, доступное одному лишь Пятницкому. 

    Отражающее необыкновенное пристрастие Пятницкого к литературе, название картины Вита Нова воспроизводит в памяти одноименное произведение Данте Алигьери "Новая жизнь". Символично, что создание картины, отсылающей зрителя к самому автобиографичному произведению Данте о любви, приходится на лето-осень 1974 года, когда состоялась свадьба Владимира Пятницкого с Ларисой. В то же время, Вита Нова, со свойственным живописи Пятницкого многообразием смыслов, может олицетворять и чаяния поколения художника о "новой жизни" и свободе творческого метода от довлеющих идеологических канонов.
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