Elena Figurina

Elena Figurina (painting).
The name of Elena Figurina is well known to the cognoscenti of Soviet contemporary painting. Her works, so strikingly forthright in their exposition of the most intimate aspects of man’s psyche and so uncompromising in form, gained the favour of the public from the very start of Figurina’s contributions to the exhibitions of the Association of Experimental Visual Arts. Yet, it is not only due to her personal achievements that Figurina owes her success in art: in fact, she has for several years been reckoned among the recognized leaders of the new avant-garde movement which broke ground in Leningrad in the 1970s and 1980s. The artist takes her own in art. Having no formal training and learning mostly from Old Masters and her fellow-artists, Elena Figurina soon found her artistic formula and succeeded in working out a distinct style of her own. Her tremendous will-power and profound devoting to art helped Figurina to work independently and stay free from outside influences. Regarding style, Figurina may be ranked with those artists whose creative manner combines a search for a modern formula with a serious study of Russian humanistic tradition. On the one hand, her remarkable interpretation of the subject matter, her technical prowess and the unique quality of her painterly manner showing, as it were, a complete disregard of conventional norms and canons makes Figurina one of the most vigorous and consistent advocates of Soviet avant-garde. On the other hand, her striking ability to delve deep into the sitter’s inner world and the extreme moral rigour of her paintings make her art congenial to the best traditions of Russian realist school of painting. …Elena Figurina’s art treats the moral issue of the day, focusing upon the relative value of good and evil, gentleness and violence in the modern world. Her emphasis on asserting humaneness and concern for others’ well-being as the main ethical principles of man’s individual existence, her ability to convey to canvas the minutest shades of emotion, to highlight the innermost feelings of her heroes, imparts to her works a sense of warmth and immediacy…

Tatiana Shekhter