Red Art Archive

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My Mother Paola Volkova -Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

To see the previous post My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir  Part 1 On Monday evening, the day you were taken to the Izmailovo Hospital, my brother called me on Skype. He said I should come to Moscow. My husband and I were on vacation in Ostend, a Northern Coast Sea resort in Belgium. “Are you sure?” I asked. You had just returned from Rome. In a few days you planned to come to see me in Paris. “Yes,” he answered laconically and nodded his head as if to make sure that I would understand him. The next morning I headed to the Ostend train station. It was mid-March. Europe had registered a record snowfall. Trains had practically ceased to work in Belgium. The departure information board announced cancelations through the end of the day. I could not leave on Tuesday The usual 2 3/4 hour trip to Paris became an impossible journey. Hoping to get to Paris by Wednesday evening, I tried to book a Thursday flight to go to Moscow. But the travel-booking web-site Opodo demanded the number and date of issue of my Russian passport. That was at home in Paris. So the ticket reservation had to be postponed until my arrival in Paris. First thing on Wednesday morning I went back to the Ostend train station and bought tickets to Paris. The clerk at the station advised that we leave as quickly as possible. “There is too much snow. Trains are delayed. God […]

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My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

7.04.2020 Posted in Red Art, Red History, Red Writing No Comments

My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 1 15 March 2014 Dearest Mom, today is the first anniversary of your death. In the Orthodox religion this date has something to do with the soul finally reaching its final destination. A pivotal moment for your future. Family and friends get together to mark this moment together with the deceased. They will meet in Moscow. I decided that I would not attend. I would stay at home in Paris. I woke up early this morning to spend the whole day with you. From my window I saw the first rays of the rising sun over Sacré Coeur basilica. How to explain my decision not to come? I used the pretext of having too much work to do. The family has probably found my excuse disrespectful. But I could not face going there, to smile and talk. I could not even look at your pictures. ***** Most of all I miss that tenderly-sarcastic look in your blue eyes. It is far away. Somewhere in the skies. Sociable as you were, by now you must have met most of your friends – the poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, film directors Andrey Tarkovski and Theodore Angelopoulos, and those you would have liked to have met while you were here – painters Giotto di Bondone, Sandro Botticelli and Kasimir Malevich – to discuss with them the indefinable mystery of great works of art. ****** Your death was unexpected. You were 82. I […]

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Excellent Review of my book about Angelica Balabanoff

Excellent Review of my book about Angelica Balabanoff. I would like to share with you excellent news! Barbara C. Allen, Ph D, Professor at La Salle University, wrote an excellent review of my book “The Strange Comrade Balabanoff. The Life of a Communist Rebel“, McFarland Publishers. The review was published at the beginning of March in The International Newsletter of Communist Studies, p. 179-183, XXIV/XXV (2018/19), nos. 31-32 and is available on https://incs.ub.rub.de/ Dear Barbara, thank you so much for the awesome review! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion and your experience.

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Sandro Botticelli Primavera explained by Paola Volkova

17.08.2018 Posted in Red Art No Comments

A well-known Russian art critic Paola Volkova explains Primavera pâinted by artist a celebrated Italian Sandro Botticelli in 1478 in her Art Program “Bridge Over the Abyss”. Her explanations of who was Sandro Botticelli, why he painted Primavera, how was it like to live in Florence of the second half of the 15th century, why the Medici family invested in art and why this painting is important in the 20th century, totally captures the audience. You will find out about the compositional principle of the patinting, why Bottivelli was called the poet of lines, and which artist may be called his successor in the 20th century. The Art Program “Bridge Over the Abyss”, filmed in Moscow in 2013 for a TV channel “Kultura”, consists of 19 videos each devoted to a famous painting including Las Meninas, Melancholia, Kiss of Judas, The Ship of Fools, The Night Cafe, Guernica and others. Success came overnight. Up to this day Paola Volkova remains the leading artcritic in Russia who books about fine arts continue to be all time bestsellers. To share a video https://youtu.be/KFAD89RAV48

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Icons of Modern Arts: the Shchukin Collection – at the LV Foundation – A perfect excuse to come to Paris

24.10.2016 Posted in Red Art No Comments

Icons of Modern Arts: the Shchukin Collection -an exhibition currently held at the LV Foundation in Paris and a perfect excuse to come to Paris. In Paris, in the Louis Vuitton Foundation opened the exhibition “Icons of Modernism. Shchukin Collection”. This extraordinary exhibition highlighting around 150 masterpieces  (Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Renoir and many other world renowned painters) opened to the public on October 22 and goes on until the end of February. One of the greatest world collections of French art is reunited together for the first time in 90 years since Shchukin has left the mansion at Znamenka in 1918 after which his collection has been nationalised by the Soviet state.  To get a preview of a preparation for the exhibiton here is the video installation by Peter Greenaway & his wife.  The 478 page catalogue  is available in French, English & Russian (49,90 €) and includes forwards by Francois Hollande, Vladimire Poutine, Bernard Arnault, the great grandchildren Arielle Badou and André-Marc Delocque-Fourcauld who spent years compiling data on the great Russian merchant & collector (http\://www.collectionchtchoukine.com). For more information about the exhibition: http\://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/en/expositions/icones-de-l-art-moderne-la-collection-chtchoukine.html  

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Chinese Red Propaganda Poster

10.10.2014 Posted in Red Art 3 Comments

I have already written in one of my blog posts about the beautiful and meaningful Soviet Propaganda Posters. A few days ago a friend of mine offered me a book about the Chinese Propaganda poster, printed by Taschen Publishers. The book was a real revelation. Besides being totally Red – Red being the dominant color on just about every poster – it presented impressive images of Chinese communist propaganda. There are representations of  young smiling people working in the factories, thriving industry and agriculture, the easy-going life of women and children and dominating above it all – the portraits of Mao Tse-Dong, the leader of the nation. Certainly for many Chinese, at the time when these posters were created, the images might not have seemed as gorgeous. Because of the Cultural Revolution and the policies of Mao, millions were sent to the forced labor camps, were accused of treason and executed or died of starvation. In this sense, the Chinese poster is very similar to the Soviet one. The posters in the book made me think about all these similarities between the historical evolution of both countries. Just as with the Soviet posters, the Chinese ones remind us today of many events of the past and their consequences. They have also become rare items of art and objects of collection. However, coming from Russia and beeing accustomed to a rather ‘masculin’ Soviet poster, I found that the Chinese posters have a pretty  and ‘feminin’ touch of the Chinese culture, whether it be […]

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The Most Sought-After Living Red French Artist

11.07.2014 Posted in Red Art, Red Lifestyle No Comments

From 14 May to 22 September 2014 The Pompidou Center Museum in Paris is holding an exhibition of Martial Raysse. The author of the renowned “Red” Made in Japan –La Grande Odalisque, 1964.  The exhibit presents over 200 works (many of which are tinted with red), covering all periods of Raysse’s working life. From the most amazing and innovative works of Pop art which made this artist famous in the 1960s, in which he mixes the familiar images with different techniques— adding neon lights, film, flowers, flies and towels to the paintings, to pictorial and sculptural oeuvres made in the 1970s, and recently made large canvases.  Martial Raysse has been considered the most sought-after living French artist since 2011, when, during a public auction at Christie’s, his painting, Quinze Août, was sold for a record amount of money 1.777.500€.  So if you are in Paris during the time of the exhibition, it is worth a visit— as is the Centre Pompidou, with its loft-like space and mechanical stairs covered with transparent tubes which take you to the top floor. The view of Paris is magnificent. Complete you trip with a short stop at Le Georges, one of the Costes Restaurants, situated on the sixth and last floor. Transparent walls offer an amazing panoramic view of Paris. The restaurant is on the pricey side (starting from 20€per course), the service can be a bit pretentious, but it is still worth a visit. So stop by for a coffee or a glass of wine. […]

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Viva Frida!

14.01.2014 Posted in Red Art No Comments

A few days ago I visited a beautiful exhibition of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera paintings which was going on in Paris at  the Musee d’Orangerie. I think it was  the first time I had seen so many paintings by  Frida Kahlo. Her exhibitions are rare. Most of her works of art are in Mexico and hardly ever come to Europe. I have always been fascinated by Frida Kahlo, as a woman and an artist. I have been attracted by her strong nature, ability to overcome so many difficulties that life had reserved for her – illnesses, handicaps, inability to have children– besides she was unattractive and lame. And yet she  always came across as the most beautifully-dressed woman, who had many romantic liaisons  and who continues to inspire artists and designers even today.  I’m also interested in her because she is a Red Woman. Frida Kahlo was a communist.   And she was a painter. A great painter. Among others, the exhibition showed the most impressive  series of her  self-portraits.  With  incredible exactitude, they show the inner nature of a beautiful and talented young woman, portrayed with her favorite monkey, or her preferred jewelry, her hair decorated with Mexican flowers and ornaments, living through much pain and suffering because of her recurring illness. The exhibition also included  a separate room with the photos of her and Diego Rivera.   Even if I have seen most of the photos and paintings in books as reproductions, seeing the originals is always […]

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Soviet Posters and the Stories They have to Tell

11.10.2013 Posted in Red Art No Comments

An excellent example of Red Art is the Propaganda poster. The posters were used by the Soviet leaders as visual propaganda of communism. They remained a part of Soviet daily and cultural life until perestroika in the mid-1980s, when they were replaced by regular advertising. Produced in various quantities between 5.000 and 100.000, the posters often had a short life-span and were later destroyed. Today many have become rare items, and recently collector’s items, sold at  auction houses at prices often largely exceeding the initial estimate. The message and appearance of the poster depended on the changing ideology within the country. Some posters have interesting stories to tell. Nikolai Kupreyanov. Citizens, preserve historical monuments! 1919. The beginning of the Cultural Revolution caused tremendous damage to buildings, books, and works of art. Thousands of books are lost during the first years of the October Socialist Revolution, burned in the stoves or used as cigarette papers. Untold numbers of monuments and churches were destroyed by the Bolsheviks. This poster, as many others, is an effort to change people’s perception of cultural values of the monarchist, capitalist past. Its aim is to explain the importance of culture as well as the value of knowledge and education.     I. Boym The duty of every worker, 1930s. A remarkable poster created at the end of the 1930s, this shows an ideal life that does not yet exist but will come into being in the near future if the Soviet people put more effort into […]