Oskar Yakovlevich Rabin (1928 Moscow – 2018 Florence)
“Eau de Vie”
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 46 x 55 cm
Solzhenitsyn in painting
Born in 1928, Oskar Yakovlevich Rabin’s work, celebrated in the West as ‘Solzhenitsyn in painting’, honestly and eloquently reflected the mood in society during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
An outstanding master with a deeply individual way of seeing the world, Oskar Rabin was one of the originators of non-conformism and one of the organisers of the ‘Lianozovo Group’ which grew up around Evgeny Kropivnitski. Over a period of seven years (1958-1965), the former camp barracks in Lianozovo, where Oskar Rabin lived with his wife, Valentina Kropivnitskaya, acted as the centre of the progressive intelligentsia. Surrounded by his family, life in a Moscow suburb with ‘ignoble’ objects from everyday Soviet material life and its dramatic absurdity was for many years the central theme of Rabin’s creativity.
The artist’s favourite genres included landscape, still-life and interiors, continuing in the tradition of 1920’s European expressionism. Trying to imbue his painting with a social-critical tone and bring out the ‘anti-humanity’ of modern man’s environment, Rabin uses a distortion of perspective, the principals of deformation and the destruction of large-scale relationships.
The uncorrupted truth of life
Through his emotionally saturated style, as well as his laconic manner, Rabin interweaves different genres and artistic devices, elements of collage and assemblage are introduced into the paintings. The drama of the works is highlighted by chronological ‘markers’, denoted by fragments of newspapers, stickers and labels. The uncorrupted truth of life, seen by the communist authorities as dissidence, released from the chains social-realism, was cause for Oskar Rabin to lose his Soviet citizenship. Moving to Paris in 1978, he gained there new inspiration and international recognition.