Vladimir Ovchinnikov, St. Petersburg Artist
When Vladimir Ovchinnikov's solo exhibition opened at the State
Hermitage Museum, the Swashbuckler camera was in place, ably directed
by Alexander Gutman. The 8-minute video documentary captures more than
an exhibition opening, it records a moment in the history of the city of
St. Petersburg and the process of change in the new Russia. In addition
to an interview with the artist, the video presents commentary from Hermitage
Director Mikhail Piotrovsky, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoli Sobchak, and others.
Russian art historian Mikhail German notes Ovchinnikov's first experiment with
sculpture and compares the significance of his paintings to Chagall's.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov. Pilgrim, 1995. Oil on canvas, 140 x 220 cm.
The name Pilgrim, inscribed on the boat's life ring, suggests an
allegory for the ship of state that represents Russia in 1995,
loaded with familiar Ovchinnikov figures journeying in strange and
troubled waters. Among the passengers, one looks forward with optimism,
one looks backward in despair, and one is a gambler who puts his faith
in the luck of the draw. The captain has abandoned his post, leaving no
one to steer the ship, which at any rate is becalmed in a moment of choice
between a bright or dark future.