Alexander Baturin

from The Russian Museum

Alexander Baturin was born in 1914 in Helsinki (Finland). Till 1930 he lived in Shandrinsk, then moved to Leningrad. In 1931 he met one of Malevich's students, Vladimir Sterligov, and this determined his way for good, both in art and in life.

Sterligov's workshop was one of informal centres of art culture of Leningrad in 1960-1970. Sterligov influenced his students greatly because he went on after Malevich developing plastic form. Only instead of the straight line of suprematic universe of Malevich, in his universe form was built with S-like curve.

Having taken much from his teacher, Baturin found his own way to express things. According to his words, the main thing in his creative work is nature and mastering of its plastic forms. He does not look for dramatic scenes in it, Baturin finds harmony and equilibrium. His main and favourite genre is landscape.

In 1995 in Paris Baturin Institute was founded. In 2002 the artist was rewarded with order Druzhby.

The exhibition in the Marble palace shows 30 works of the artist (drawings, pastel, paintings) from the collection of the Russian Museum."


"Alexander Baturin was born in 1914 in Helsingfors (Helsinki). He came to Leningrad to continue his studies, in 1931 he made acquaintance of Vladimir Vassilievich Sterligov, MalevichТs disciple, and attended his studio.
SterligovТs system Ц the conception of a special globular (Уdomical globularФ) space, a complex system that synthesizes irrefutable logic and poetic belief in the initial ordering and rationality of the universe. The Universe is understood as a formula, striking in its simplicity, yet this formula is revealed only to those dedicated.
Sterligov was repressed. His pupil, Baturin, also spent long years in labor camps and in exile. But he managed to preserve optimism and his dedication to art, he also remained true to the ideas of his teacher. A genuine Sterligovian, he paints from life bearing in mind a clear-cut structure of composition. Baturin sees Nature as the simplicity of the complex and the complexity of the seemingly simple. He organizes his pictures with the help of powerful and quiet color planes gently cutting through one another. It feels as if his universe had more than three dimensions, but this does not disagree with the two-dimensional canvass, on the contrary, it reconciles space with him while he creates an amazing combination of almost mathematical calculation and mystical divination. The artist is endowed with a rare ability to harmonize the alien: thus, in the well-nigh monochrome plane of the sky he finds and accentuates a huge variety of nuances, while reducing the complicating volume of leafage to the minimum. And the spectator, guided by the piercing sharpness of his eye, arms his own eye with different, artistic, optics.
Much in the art of Baturin is determined by his universality. He has worked in industrial design, his ability to draw upon structural plastic formulas and to shun pettiness did a lot of good for his laconism.
Alexander Baturin is a laureate of the Punin prize, an acknowledged Master, his works are represented in the major museums of Russia, he exhibited his pictures not only at home, but also in the U.S.A. and France, his pictures belong to various private collections in many countries. By rights, he symbolizes both the victory of his own creative personality and the fruitfulness of SterligovТs method, which he has been developing."
(M. Hermann)


"Baturin (b. 1914) is the oldest of Vladimir Sterligov's students and disciples. An artist with a heroic destiny of his own who spent long years in Stalin's camps, he is entirely uninterested (as is often the case with many worthy people) in turning his former suffering into a stepping-stone to present-day success. An amazing love of life and faithfulness t artistic principles helped him endure terrible ordeals, and even in the gulag he was able to observe the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Baturin first got to know Sterligov in 1931, when the latter's teacher, Kazimir Malevich, was still living, but their next meeting, after all their misadventures, took place a quarter of a century later. There was only one way to grasp the teacher's principles and stay true to them as deeply as Baturin did: to make them completely his own, to fuse them with his own individuality.

The school of Malevich and Sterligov equipped but did not enslave Baturin's eyes. The harmonic logic of the world, indiscernible to the ordinary observer, is an open book to him. He possesses the ability to slow down time in his pictures to such a degree that at times it seems to have stopped altogether. The artist sees in nature the simplicity of the complex and the complexity of what appears to be simple. The smooth surface of water reflecting a calm sky may be nuanced in the subtlest way, while the intricate bulk of the crown of a tree is rendered with the crudest visual formula. The artist reveals to the spectator the true possibilities of the human eye and mind, its particular intellectual an aesthetic optics, attainable only by a �happy few�, to use Stendhal's favorite expression. Baturin's paintings are constructed delicately and powerfully with colored planes defined in space, sometimes smoothly intersecting one another. In his universe there are more than three dimensions, but this does not fight with the canvas; on the contrary, the space makes peace with it. Concentrated volumes, vacillating, semitransparent planes, calm colors � warm ashes, darkened gold's, umber rusts, specific, extended splotches like color �swimming� to the canvas � all of these produce the impression of an unprecedented combination of logical calculation and secret, sorcerous wizardry. "


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