Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Desert Of Forbidden Art

Past few days have been filled with thrilling and what seems at first sight accidental discoveries. In the debris of Internet I came across a captivating painting by Vladimir Lysenko.  I never heard this name before and the search brought me to Uzbekistan – where I am flying tomorrow!
Bull, Vladimir Lysenko. 141.5 x 109.5 cm. Collection of Nukus Museum.

Works of Vladimir Lysenko and other Russian and Uzbek avant-garde painters of first half of the twentieth century were under oppression of the Communist regime. During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision were executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags, but it didn’t stop young Igor Savitskiy, who was a painter himself,  a scientist, an archaeologist and a brave and curious mind.

He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist's works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art, which is now considered the world's second largest collection of Russian avant garde art (after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg).

My stay in Central Asia is very short this time and the city of Nukus is far out of a trajectory of the journey, but I have absolutely to find my way to the desert of forbidden art. I will keep you posted!

Have a good Sunday.


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