Every painting of Alexander Oligerov is nothing but magic. Images of birds, people and other creatures – recognizable but simplified to the extreme, are mixed with irregular geometrical shapes, intricate lines and beautiful calligraphy – the letter from the past; written in language unknown on this planet. All these random objects, combined together, first – trigger an association, and then shape crystal-clear message. But the moment you try to verbalize it, the clarity vanishes, like a moon in a light of a day.
Alexander’s works tells us simple truth. But the only way for us to perceive it, is through subconscious: surpassing all our barriers: social, cultural, personal. No wonder, his paintings are equally understood and popular all over the world – from Russia to Australia, from Mexico to Taiwan.
Alexander is one of a handful artists who manages to works in the style of intellectual modernism and abstraction, but managed not only to preserve, but further develop the depth, warmth, and the spirit of realistic style.
Alexander is a winner of many national and international prizes, the creator of his own unmistakable style. Professor, mentor, PHD, proud father of two remarkable talented daughters, wiseman, optimist and incredibly generous person. And truly: he has so much to give. For his unique talent and tireless work, this summer Alexander was given the highest Federal award: Gold Medal in the field of arts.
Alexander Oligerov was born in 1965. He graduated from the art and graphic department of the Russian State Pedagogical University of St. Petersburg. In 2004, at the Master Class international art festival in St. Petersburg, Oligerov received the first prize and the Master’s Cap in the Painting category. In 2006, he was awarded the silver medal of the Russian Academy of Arts for his work presented at the exhibition “250 Years of the Academy of Arts of Russia” in St. Petersburg. In 2011, he won first place in the Italian contemporary art competition Made in Russia in Milan. In the same year, he received three special prizes in Moscow at the Art Preview competition of contemporary art at the Academy of Arts of Russia, including the prize of the Russian Art magazine for the best painting.
Secrets of the Red Sphinx
Novgorod artist represented Russia at exhibitions in Munich and Paris
Munich hosts the international exhibition “Art as a System of Adequate Reflection”, which was a continuation of the Paris exhibition “Artists – Witnesses.” The only representative of Russia on them was Novgorodian Alexander Oligerov.
Alexander, what do the names of the exhibitions mean? And why did you represent our country?
Alexander Oligerov: Artists have always been witnesses, always reflected in their work the processes taking place in society. And recently, more and more people on our planet have remained outside the framework of modernization and globalization. They live below the poverty line, and exhibitions are designed to draw the attention of society to their problems.
Both events were organized by the Paris and Munich unions of artists, and for the fifth year now I have been in the Paris Union Les Seize Anges.
What wind brought you, a resident of Veliky Novgorod, into the Paris Union of Artists?
Alexander Oligerov: In 2007, I went through two competitive tours and became a participant in an exhibition organized by this union. The event was held in Paris and was called “Meeting of artists of four continents.” The French jury selected the work of 100 artists from almost all over the world. My works were a great success, all the paintings were sold out, the mayor of Paris approached me to meet and take pictures. As a result, I received an offer to join the Paris Union and participate in all its projects.
Tell us about the works that you presented at the exhibitions.
Alexander Oligerov: These are two paintings from the Red Room art project titled Revolution and Red Sphinx. Sphinx is an image of stability, stability, stagnation. Revolution, on the contrary, is breaking all foundations. I wanted to show two extremes between which our society constantly rushes.
Both works are in the style of lettrism. This is a modern branch of modernism, which involves the use of unreadable texts as graphic elements.
The fact is that I was always very interested in handwriting. It reveals the character of a person, it is unusually individual, it cannot be falsified perfectly. In the manuscripts of great poets and writers, I am attracted not only by the content, but also by the visual component. And in many works I use text elements, because handwriting can say no less than lines and colors.
And why is the room red, not blue or green?
Alexander Oligerov: Red is a special color. This is strength and power, wealth and blood, the energy of movement and a categorical prohibition. Unfortunately, in Veliky Novgorod, a cold-gray color scheme prevails most of the year. It happens that people in the fall, winter and spring lack vitamins. And I do not have enough red, crimson, orange. I start, so to speak, color scurvy. To fill up the shortage of red, I paint.
However, the Red Room is far from my only project. There is a large cycle of work devoted to unwritten verses, there are collections of Color Dreams and Water Black and White, there is a project called Barcode Archeology, where I am trying to create direct links between modern economics and contemporary art.
Veliky Novgorod is an unobvious choice of place of residence for a representative of contemporary art. Why not St. Petersburg or Moscow?
Alexander Oligerov: We can say that Veliky Novgorod chose me. It was here that I took place as an artist.
Of course, from the point of view of contemporary art there is no artistic environment. As in any small regional center, academic art prevails in Novgorod. But it is a very beautiful, calm and whole city. Great place to raise children.
In addition, Veliky Novgorod is located between the two capitals, and I very often exhibit in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The “provincial” registration does not prevent me from organizing solo exhibitions in France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the USA, Norway, Finland and Switzerland. After all, the main thing for the artist is not the place where he lives, but his paintings.