25 Nov 2012
Still Life With Porcelain Figurines, signed.
Oil on canvas, laid on panel, 71.5 by 91.5 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, USA.
Literature: A Time to Gather... Russian Art from Foreign Private Collections, St Petersburg, Palace Editions, 2007, p. 25, the present work can be seen on the wall of the collector’s apartment.
Still Life with Porcelain Figurines is a splendid example of the themes and techniques which characterise Sergei Sudeikin’s mature style. These elements, to a large extent, developed as a result of his intense cooperation with the Blue Rose and the revived World of Art movement, as well as his theatrical design collaborations with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The Symbolist influences of the former give rise to the subtle mysticism surrounding the work. In it, one discerns the blurring of borders between consciousness and dream, between the stage and real life, so characteristic of these artistic movements which viewed art as a means of exploring ulterior realities. Simultaneously, the background and foreground seem to merge, the figurines and the vegetal patterns creating a unified decorative surface reminiscent of the set designs Sudeikin created around the same time for Diaghilev’s productions. The elements of this surface, with their surreal, grotesque theatricality, seem to come alive from their lethargic state as one engages with the work. It is precisely from its contradictory nature, its ephemeral, border-line character, that this exquisite still-life derives its beauty and magnetism.
Notes on symbols:
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