While working in a factory, on the side Petrochenkov
mastered a variety of art forms on paper - drawings,
etchings and watercolors - until one day in the 1970s, when he needed
a birthday present for a friend, he had the idea to apply his drawings
on the porcelain surface of a rectangular cheese plate. He built his own
kiln and experimented with drawing and painting on different porcelain
surfaces-in addition to cheese plates, tiles, dinner plates of all sizes
and eventually eggs.
While entirely unique among his contemporaries, Petrochenkov's
work on porcelain surfaces continues a long tradition in Russian
and Soviet art. Beginning in the time of Catherine the Great,
Russia's best porcelain factory was located in St. Petersburg,
where under imperial patronage they produced plates and vases to honor
military heroes and commemorate significant events of the Russian court.
After the revolution when peoples' artists took over the Imperial
Porcelain Factory, the avant-garde tradition of message plates was born,
featuring bright and bold designs applied on porcelain by such leading
artists as Malevich, Suetin and Chekhonin. Petrochenkov is a direct
descendant of this tradition.
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