Practically the entire House of Arts of the city of Brno and its immediate surroundings were filled with paintings and sculptures by Viktor Pivovarov, an 85-year-old Moscow native who has lived and worked in the Czech Republic for 40 years. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the preparation of the exhibition called Monk Rabinovich’s Gardens. In the end, thanks to the delay, viewers can see the author’s latest works.
The show will run until July 3 and its organizers have also published Pivovarov’s statement to the Russian aggression in Ukraine. “War reports announce that the city of Vasilkov near Kiev is being bombed. My grandfather and grandmother lived in this city, my mother was born here,” the artist recalls. “The only weapon I can hold in my hand is a paintbrush. But I can’t defend any living soul with this weapon. I’m helpless against violence. I’m desperate,” he added.
The Brno councilor for culture, Marek Fišer from the pirate party, then stated that, among other things, this exhibition could “introduce a different Russia to the Czech environment than the one currently struggling with Ukraine”.
The show is connected by the motif of various gardens and the figure of the monk Rabinovich. He first appeared in Pivovarov’s work in 2006 on a ten-meter-long scroll of the Sutra of Fears and Doubts, which was reminiscent of the Jewish Torah, or the five books of Moses.
The brewery also captured the scheme of the monk’s gardens on the scroll. “Monk Rabinovich says that if you are heading for the Higher, it is best to pray for a cracked light bulb or a stone on the way. Or simply for a fresh cucumber. There is nothing more sublime than a cracked light bulb. No one needs it. Neither nature, nor man, nor God, “says the painter to the character, which according to the curators can be understood as his alter ego.
He later returned to the subject, thinking, for example, of the monk’s garden as the imaginary equivalent of paradise. He created new paintings in 2020, and finally the exhibition is named after them.
Each Pivovarov’s garden provides a specific atmosphere, and together they are intended to create a comprehensive experience. “All that remained was a sigh, a little sad, a little blissful, and memories. Memories of all the gardens of pleasure and sadness we went through,” writes curator Máša Černá Pivovarová in the accompanying text.
The author was also inspired by a real garden, which is adjacent to his studio in Kunratice, Prague. It has recently undergone an adjustment that he himself has designed. He made sure that all the old trees from the original plantings were preserved. The Kunratice Garden also inspired her to work with outdoor space and place large sculptures in the Koliště Park at the Brno House of Arts.
Viktor Pivovarov was born in 1937 in Moscow. Since the beginning of the 1970s, he has been working mainly on freelance work, working in comprehensive image cycles. He was one of the founders of the Moscow Concept School, which he also wrote about in Czech memoirs in love with the Agent.
She came to the Czech Republic in the early 1980s after her marriage to translator and art historian Milena Slavická. He became a local citizen. “I did not experience the horrors of the gulag, but the horrors of ordinary life,” he said six years ago Conversation for the Memory of the Nation, in which he remembered growing up in a communal Moscow apartment.
He left the then Soviet capital as an important author of the unofficial scene, but the general public was better known as an illustrator. He accompanied with drawings by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales or texts by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelair or Igor Cholin’s poetry collections.
She had her first big exhibition in 2004 at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, from where she traveled to St. Petersburg. Last year, they presented over two hundred of their paintings and drawings at the Trade Fair Palace in Prague. Today, Viktor Pivovarov is also represented in the collections of the British Tate Gallery, the Paris Center Pompidou or the Tretyakov Gallery.