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Olga Kopenkina: Introductory remarks to the chrononology

The 1970s and the beginning of the ’80s were not very eventful in Belarus art life. During this time, the progressive art scene was formed by only a few individuals. Vitaly Chernobrisov (b. 1941), an untrained primitive expressionist artist, occasionally participated in exhibitions in the Leningrad artistic underground. His paintings were acquired by private Russian art collectors, such as Nikolay Blagotatov and others, who favored non-conformist art. Chernobrisov became an active promoter of underground art and lifestyle in Minsk. Meanwhile, the academically-trained painter Israil Basau (1918-1994)—and member of the official artists’ union— became an influential figure, and is often referred to as “a father of Belarusian avant-garde painting,” because of his distinct individual style of painting that defyied the aesthetics of socialist realism. His popularity among the younger generation of artists grew in the ’70s, although his work was largely neglected by the official Union of Artists and rarely seen in the exhibitions. While Chernobrisov was an active participant in the unofficial Belarusian art scene in the ’80s and ’90s, Israil Basau continued to be an outsider within both official and avant-garde art scenes, until his death.

My Chronology is based on this research:

Volha Archipava. Belarusian Avant-garde of the 1980s. ‘pARTisan’s Collection’ series. Minsk 2012.

The pARTisan is a media project, which includes pARTisan magazine (since 2002) about contemporary Belarusian culture, pARTisan’s Collection series (Belarusian artists’ albums, since 2009) and web-portal (since 2012). Project’s Editor-in-Chief – artist and writer Artur Klinau.


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