The art of contemporary Sankt-Petersburg artist Andrei Gennadiev blends old Russian traditions with modern twentieth-century expression. Influences upon him range from iconography of Byzantine art to the metaphysical concepts of those Sankt-Petersburg artists who became known as "The Sankt-Petersburg Group". Indeed, the "programme" of the latter group states that "the icon is the most complete and perfect form of the revelation of Beauty of the world. It was they desire to create a new style of painting based on icon's harmonious beauty of design,depth of lyrical filing and bright,complex colour relationships.
Mysticism, which permeates Russian art and thinking also pervades Gennadiev's work. The artist's striving to preserve spiritual values,to penetrate, aesthetic, ethical, and religious strata of life is summed up in his declaration that: " Art is an intermediary between the soul and the surrounding world. It should give man opportunity to explore himself and to better evaluate the events that overtake him.
Metaphysical symbols from a variety of cultures and eras are evident throughout Gennadiev's art. Reaching back to ancient Egypt, the artist uses their astral-occult signs as well as traditional Egyptian form and color.And like the fifteen-century Dutch artist Hieronimus Bosch, Gennadiev employs esoteric Christian symbols in his work.
Andrei is an artist who works in several media.He is an accomplished painter as well as printmaker who excels in lithography and etching. Based on his personal interpretation of nature he creates finely controlled images. By combining a variety of symbols and decorative elements, the artist lends mystery and secrecy to his works. Signs of the zodiac,the fish,a heart of a house, and Chinese symbols are frequently integrated in Gennadiev's etching and lithographs. Like the German-Swiss painter Paul Klee with his "ideographic style",Gennadiev wants his signs to be evocative as visual facts and, at the same time, to stimulate our thinking. He believes that his variations of color and composition in placing these symbols will affect each viewer differently. In fact, his combination of abstract forms and vibrating colors often creates high tension. To explain his use of signs, Gennadiev says: "At different times, I was preoccupied with astrology, palmistry,Eastern culture and Christianity. From each I adopted what was indispensable for the expression of my thoughts and ideas."
The most striking Gennadiev prints are his hand-colored etching. the appeal of these works is their elegant yet enigmatic design and their luminous jewel-like colors. The artist's use of intense red,blue,purple,ore green colors against a black background creates a pulsating sensation. He uses colour blends and deeper tones to magnify the luminosity of a new colour. Touches of gold or silver create a radiance reminiscent of medieval icons and book illuminations. The impact of Gennadiev's colors is often heightened by his fantastic interpretation of his subject matter. Familiar objects are given a surreal treatment.
This complex Russian artist has participated in numerous exhibitions in Russia as well as aboard. His works were first introduced in the United States by International Images in 1984. Gennadiev's artwork are in many museum collections. Asked to describe his artistic credo, Gennadiev explains that " a unity of thought, feeling and action is important. One has only to observe Gennadiev's works of art to realize how successfully he transforms his underlying philosophy into unique images.
Elena Kornetchuk Ph.D.