Reviews and Articles

From Avant-gardE To Guinness Book of Records, Or Broken Shadow PLAY

Daria Kurdyukova, “Culture” newspaper, August 28, 2008.

Last year, the Central House of Artists hosted the last exhibition of Moses Feigin (1904-2008) - works written after a hundred. This spring, an entry appeared in the Guinness Book of Records: "The oldest working professional artist Moses Alexandrovich Feigin." At the end of April he was gone. And now in the same Central House of Artists they have arranged an exhibition in his memory.

Almost the same age as the last century, he could tell a lot - about the revolution, about the leaders who succeeded each other, successive artistic tastes. About VKHUTEMAS-VKHUTEIN, where he studied in the 20s; about Osmerkin (from whom he studied and from whom he did not give up during the years of persecution), about another teacher and another "diamonds" Mashkov, about "Amazon avant-garde" Popova (from her - an energetic abstract direction in the painting of Feigin himself). About OMH - the Society of Moscow Artists, which briefly united in the late 1920s many former associates in the Jack of Diamonds. About how he was born in Warsaw, and after moving to Russia never went abroad, how he volunteered for the war. But this exhibition is about something else.

He is called the last student who entered the "Jack of Diamonds" (he did not have time to work properly with the society that was split in 1917 - he was not the age). Communication with hooligan avant-garde artists was not in vain - Feigin's coloristic boldness sometimes almost discourages: red, yellow, orange "semaphores" from his paintings.

It's hard to imagine, but one of Feigin's other, non-artistic, colored impressions was the observation of pouring molten iron (they say that the production theme turned into a color extravaganza for him). Edge to edge, in two rows, closely and "stuffy" hung in the CHA graphics and paintings. Works with the imprint of the once fashionable cubism, abstraction, figurative expressions (this is the word that is adequate for them), as well as - there was such a thing - quite socialist realist things. So, brought to the CHA "Children at the Balcony" or "Annochka" in 1946 would easily fit into any building of a large old library.

Feigin himself said in an interview that he had to earn his living by commissions like a portrait of Stalin (his "four-story" head) for a house on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment. Since the end of the 60s, Feigin almost completely abandoned reality - and the broken shadows of fantasies groaned, twitched. Circus performers, harlequins, violinists - and with such a set of associations that can compare a black and white harlequin with a prisoner, and a colored one with an artist (his back is a sheet of paper) with a cross and a noose circling next to him. This is interspersed with religious subjects - the Crucifixions. And also Don Quixote and Charlie Chaplin, who drags a huge shadow-coat behind him. All together reminds of recurring almost obsessive dreams - sometimes sad, sometimes nightmares.

The twentieth century was too generous with the events that provoke them. To the voice of color, Moses Feigin adds the voice of plastics - this is not only a tense pasty surface, but also foil, rope, a pencil glued to the canvas. Painting takes objects and at the same time struggles with simple objectivity. Now in two small halls, Feigin's paintings and drawings are breathing heavily, sometimes interrupting each other. But this neighborhood of them is another evidence of the good love of the relatives of Moses Feigin, or rather, a lot - a whole crowd - of evidence of his memory.
M.Feigin Reviews
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