Arts : Sculpture : Ludmila Kremnjova
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«Woman Builder»

I. Svetlov

       Different stages and tendencies of development of soviet sculpture of the last decades were reflected in creativity of L.L. Kremnjova (born 1926). But at the same time she represents the individual phenomenon. Kremnjova has her own approach to problems of plastics, individual character of searches and features of art evolution. For the first period of her creativity, which has begun at once after graduating of Moscow state Surikov's art institute in 1955, fast professional growth is characteristic. Her sculpture "Woman-builder" (1958) received high estimation as the poetic image of working human and as the modern designed plastic composition. Impressing effect of this work has been determined by the well thought parity over the whole and details. Active rhythm of movement of the figure, decorative expressiveness of working costume, contrast combination of sharp vigorous silhouette with soft processing of coarse-grained suffer of a granite has enriched the perception of the sculpture, has made it dynamical and multiplane.
Other works of Kremnjova belonged to the end of 50th-60th years also are executed in poetic tune. Good knowledge of plastics of human body - the result of systematic studio learning of nature - is felt in them. Imaginations of the artist and concrete impressions are in organic correspondence in best works of this period.
And nevertheless already in that time these relations had begun to seem to the artist too passive. The habit precisely to follow a nature, helping in one or another professional question, held down in searches of floppy and wide solutions. So far the intention to the large generalized form accrued for Kremnjova. Composition "Song About Peace" (1966) has become program for her development, in which plastic researches «Song About Peace»served to incarnation of actual civil theme. Using popular per these years trick of frontal layout of figures in multicurly composition, she tends to create typical images reflecting drama and simultaneously pathetic representation about modernity. Showing tragical conflicts of XX century, Kremnjova poetizes eternal tendency of human to harmony. Unfortunately, some grotesquely made images conclude into the contradiction with spiritual image of mother with child and also with the common atmosphere of contemplate lyrics.
Such monumentalisation of forms, which have arisen in whole as response against its pettiness (often per those years), has not resulted, however, to the birth of individual and floppy plastics, capable to express complex spiritual dynamics of our days. Number of experiments has followed, Kremnjova persistently searched for new paths of construction and association of plastic forms. Female heads, either planar and lengthened or exaggeratedly round and volumetric, figures of clowns solved in the thinly thought over parity of rhythmic repetitions and contrasts, all these works (of the end of 60th - beginning of 70th years), without dependence from how successful were some of them, have not resulted to qualitative new. However there was a sensation, that they precede something much more important and significant. There should be a jump not only in plastic thinking, but also in the most figurative vision of the artist, that the lines of creativity adequate to the features of her talent were planned.
Such period has occurred for Kremnjova in the middle of 70-th years. Completely naturally it has coincided with manifestation common for Moscow sculptors of interest to psychological deepening in complex spiritual processes of our days and to new comprehension of individual role of many representatives of Russian culture and public thought. In this atmosphere the art of Kremnjova has found an informative context, has become more assembled and simultaneously artificial, unchained.
Much in it was determined by attention to the theme of intellectual meditation, images of the people discovering Authornew horizons of knowledge, moral and aesthetic trues. In the middle of 60-th years Kremnjova, participating in competition on monument of Leo Tolstoy in Moscow, has detected propensity to the thoughtful psychological analysis of the person of the writer and philosopher. Her project was remembered by constrained nobleness of common plastic solution and internal complexity of an image of the person of extremely powerful spiritual organization. Investigating the person, who has left noticeable trace in development of civil culture, sculptor reveals new sides and new values. It seemed there is nothing common between contemplate meditation of Spinosa and passionarity of Giordano Bruno. However in both cases Kremnjova carries away essentially the same - greatness and depth of spiritual enlightenment.
Such her works of the second half of 70-th years, as "Gogol" (1977) and "Mirror" (1978), are devoted to problems of creativity. Is remarkable, that these psychological images come to Kremnjova, as well as to a number of others her colleagues, on the basis of revealing tangible materiality of sculpture. In such plastic manner is realized inherent to the artist ability to achieve completeness of sculptural composition and at the same time its expressive concreteness. Skilful use of this trick means for her a new level and character of plastic generalization. Clearness of the form, easily surrounded by a sight, internal validity of construction, restraint and subtlety of accents - all this as the best expresses tendency of the sculptor to transfer complex psychological collisions without surface, external accentment. The enthusiasm of Kremnjova to the grotesque manner of Gogol, vital reality, and sometimes, opposite, illusoriness of his characters, and at the same time clearly perceived fantastic pictures on pages of his books has determined her perusal of the image of the writer. Miniature statue created by Kremnjova has become by reflection of deep internal struggle, occurring in him. Slowly going forwards Gogol as if he delays himself by movement of a hand.
In counterbalance to this laconic solution, which sense is opened in artistically tightened figure of the sculpture itself, "Mirror" attracts with complexity and singularity of composition. Half-figure of the author and her reflected silhouette, made in moulded baroque frame, derivative structure, personified polyfaciality of a human nature with its timely different manifestations, contrast between strong-willed concentration and pensiveness. The plan, born by free creative imagination of the artist, was carried out in many respects due to strict discipline in selection and association of the plastic forms.
These important for modern sculpture characteristics are inherent also in decorative works of Kremnjova. Large portrait panels in the building of Ashkhabad library (1974), ornamental lattice of the hotel "Tourist" in Rostov-upon-Don (1976), compositions decorating the boarding house on Issyk-Kul lake (1978), intense and refined on rhythm the sketches of monumental reliefs, taking place in workshop of sculptor - all this are various manifestations of other side of talent of the author.
Inherent to Kremnjova feeling of form and rhythm expressively displayed in the decoratively ornamental panels. Full of expression, quite often witty on figure, but clear in main articulations, they are called to bring to architectural ensemble active major note. Saturation of decorum and sometimes introduction of color promote this mood.
There is a sensation, that all created by Kremnjova earlier, was only prelude to the present stage of her creativity. It persistent searches of synthesis of visual impressions and imaginations, logical clearness and emotional saturation of images, decorative and psychological trends bring more and more significant results. The art of Kremnjova nowadays finds qualities of maturity, the character of her interesting talent is opened deeper and deeper.

Monument to victims of Stalin's repressions

M. Yablonskaya

Works of Kremnjova already more than twenty years involves attention of experts of sculpture and cause interest of spectators. Her art acutely and actively cooperates with life. Kremnjova, as well as whole her generation of the artists, are peculiar intense researches, constants creative discoveries. But in her works are distinctly visible also the special independence, originality defining the person of the artist and creative individuality.
In 1949 Kremnjova entered in Moscow Surikov's art institute and engaged in workshop of M.G. Manizer, on memoirs of many of his students - person of high culture and intelligence, tactful and unpersuasive teacher.
Among the various factors rendering influence on creation of the artist, main - person of the artist itself and own potential possibilities. Especially acutely it is felt on experience of present average generation, to which Lyudmila Kremnjova concerns. Happened so, the lot felt on her, as well as on other artists in that time, to form herself by herself. Not all satisfied per student's years. "I hated what I made, - recollecting one of the best students of Manizer's workshop L. Kremnjova. - Illusion of nature, craft and only craft. It was very terribly - needlework, clean and cold. And after lessons I long sat and thought - what for all this? There was a moment, when already almost has decided to finish with sculpture ". Anyway studying have brought its benefit. "Till now, - speaks Kremnjova, - I do not need in "stage" nature. By the way I, due to craft training, feeling quite liberated, with closed eyes can draw and mould figures in different poses".
She, certainly, felt and knew that sculptural language exists. But how to reach this? Representations about traditions and information on world art in general were poor in those years. It is possible to assume that exactly the tendency to overcome craft constraint till now predetermines creative impulses of the sculptor.
Kremnjova had understood how to express feeling by the form due to drawing. Friendship with artist Alexandra Nikolaevna Korsakova (widow of Tatlin - com. Red.) has served as a push in this respect. She, probably, felt and understood the essence of torment of Kremnjova. "Mila, draw, - she spoke to me, - draw maximal. Yours emotions will be expressed in drawings more spontaneous, more direct, than in sculpture. And this is just necessary for you now". And is real, the release of Kremnjova from constraint in sculpture was begun from drawings. Just in drawings she found free and figurative possession of form.
Already in first years after institution sculptor rather actively participates in exhibitions. As well as for all people of her age, special value had for her the exhibition devoted to VI World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow. You see here works of the young artists of all countries of the world not only were on display, but also directly were created. Essentially it was the window which has opened in the world of wide and bright information on modern art. Then the path becoming common for the young soviet artists began also for Kremnjova. Before them there was the first vital problem - to leave from descriptivity and thus to refuse from plastic language deprived of associativity. She, as well as many of her colleagues, participates in searches of upgrade of specificity of sculptural form.
As well as many others, artist is experienced inevitable in this process temptation of "severe style". In her creativity appears widespread in those years "monumentally-easel" principle. Among the first works of the sculptor is selected "Woman-builder" (1958, granite). Not only for creativity of Kremnjova, but also for all plastics of this period "Woman-builder" - one of examples of vigorous work with program generalization of the form in counterbalance of illusionist slackness and weakness of many works of past stage. Many works of those years are executed in granite - material that promoting monumentalization of form. It is necessary to notice that in general on the boundary of 50th-60th years material becomes the important factor, which abstracts sculpture from illusionism.
"One of the sin of illusionism, - considered V.A. Favorsky, - consists just in non-recognition behind a material of a material form. One of essential differencesMonument to victims of Stalin's repressions of realistic style from naturalism, - as he fairly noticed further, - consists in the organic handle with a material, as with the tool of the image" ("Creativity", 1967, ¹1). Running forwards, we shall mark: later, in the beginning of 70th years, Kremnjova addresses again to the image of woman-builder ("Woman-builder", 1972, bronze), but already on other level of interpretation of nature, approving subsequently, that already then - ten years ago - "new" woman-builder has seemed to her more truthful than first one. In works of the boundary of 50th-60th years Kremnjova, as well as others sculptors of her generation, tend to expressiveness of form, incarnated in a material. Many of her works of that period are executed in stone or are moulded with account on translation in stone. In one from them - "Lullaby" (1966, plaster) - forms and sizes are not simply generalized, but also is frankly giperbolized: the image which has embodied of the eternal and invincible, as nature, force of motherhood, gets symbolical sense. "The Stone Century" - so, slightly sneering, L. Kremnjova names that period of her creativity.
It is visible, that per 60th years, in creativity of Kremnjova, as well as in creativity of others adherents of "severe style", with all its open declarativity, interesting and important plastic-spatially solutions are become ripe. They are visible in composition "Song about peace" (1967, aluminum).
It is characteristic this turn to metal, more floppy, pliable already, than stone, and consequently, capable to more complex revealing of volumetric and space constructions. Triangle lays in the basis of space outline of the sculpture. The space serves to transmit of spiritual strength and drama of the content. Kremnjova interprets the classical space construction in her own way. The sides of the triangle were moved apart and as though sink derivating in the basis of two acute corners. One of them is created by figure of invalid of war, other - image of young mother with child on her knees. Central figure - grieving mother. Her outline is the sharpest ledge from the space of pyramid - upper corner of the triangle. Separate blocks of figures creating material space of composition, make many-valued, figurative-symbolical whole. They express main trinity of the emotional state of modern person: memoirs on tragedy of war, about sufferings and about grief of the losses, which have merged with dream of the endless peace. Shifting and moving apart sculptural sizes inside the common space whole, sculptor figuratively subdivides shades of uniform emotional sounding of the image. Two space spheres are precisely allocated inside common composition: figures of invalid of war and grieving mother, separately from them - young mother with child, her figure is placed contrastingly in relation to two first. Two separate spheres in the common space organism emphasize a symbolical content of the work. Existing physically and chronologically simultaneously in the present, the two first figures symbolize the past, whereas third - personify the future. Tendency to construct the sculpture on complex space-plastic expression of sense completely obviously.
New stage in creativity of Kremnjova - 70th years. In a counterbalance to many colleagues of those years she does not become especial easel artist. Her objective still - generalized, non-specific image. And, probably, just in it sources of her creative originality marked by specific alloy of concreteness and abstractness, but not of a plot, and most sculptural form.
The period of enthusiasm of stone come to the end. Per 70th years the period of sensitive bronze, has started and little later has started the period of shamotte. Turn to these materials is natural. They correspond to exact, concrete handmade moulding, fixedness of a sight on a nature and constructibility of internal size of a sculpture.
New approach to nature and sculptural form is determined just in those years. "Now I mould very little from nature, as itself. For me the nature - is the vital atmosphere, from which it is impossible to distract, even if it's desired".
Such her works, as "Blind", "Woman-builder" and "Woman-fencer" (all - 1972, bronze) quite convincingly characterize this stage, enable to understand its features. The concreteness of moulding now incorporates with grotesque witticism of idea. There is a generalized representation about complexity of modern outlook, about it drama and, simultaneously, keenness and humanity. Creating images of "Blind" or "Grieving" (1975, bronze), Kremnjova "bents" the form, alters or exaggerates of proportions. She does not deform, and as though tensely moves units of the form within the limits of its fixed space, not breaking its constructibility.
Sculptor paid a lot of attention to portrait genre ("Wiser", 1973, bronze; "Man's portrait", 1974, shamotte; "Female portrait", 1973, bronze) etc. And, probably, it is quite logical and naturally, that the originality of her creative position is most full appears just in this genre - initially easel on the nature. Difficulty interpreting nature in sculptural form, extending or shortening proportions, resorting to picturesque and chiaroscuro effects, to graphics linear drawings (hair, eyebrows, eyes and so on), sculptor achieves the impression of originality and witticism of the characteristic of images. Thus portrait basis is felt always purely and distinctly.
The same original "concrete abstractness" is present in works of the master on "legendary" images. You see just the person becoming a legend, also is a "ready" combination of concrete with abstract. The images of Spinosa (1977, shamotte) or Giodano Bruno (1978, bronze) are interesting in this sense. In each of them - unique portraitability in an alloy with abstractness achieved by original proportions, density of moulding, hard constructibility of construction and abstract symmetry of composition.
Rather closer in time historical portrait exists and develops as the special and independent area of creativity of Kremnjova. And quite logically proceeds from the position of the sculptor: concreteness and abstractness of representations about the person are alloyed in historical portrait more than in "legendary". Historical portrait differs from "legendary" by higher density of concrete in perception of the represented person.
Created by Kremnjova portraits of N.V. Gogol (1975, bronze) or A.S. Pushkin (1976, bronze) convince that the remoteness of the person in time obliges the artist to especially strong emotional perusal. «N.V. Gogol»Modernity of approach becomes clear just in this. Kremnjova's treatment of image of A.S. Pushkin is on this line. His face is moulded with special expression. Figure of the poet is given not less pathetic, though little bit more abstractively, extended up, is precise rhythmysized by contrapost movement of hands. The sculpture as though presses "inside", that also promotes expression of drama of the image.
Portrait of N.V. Gogol is solved, perhaps, even more acutely. Here grotesquely concrete characteristic of the face is paradoxically connected with generalized, got up to the state of abstractness by plastic pose of the figure. Just in this acuteness of combination of concrete and generalized - original persuasiveness of solution of the given historical image.
Is characteristic, that the life of a hero closer to us on time, the more he is familiar to us, the more generalize, monumental Kremnjova treats an image, considering especially important to realize and to express it historical value.
Just this position has stipulated solution of the image of Anna Akhmatova (1977, bronze). Powerful, like a column construction of the composite block from the first sight gives representation about significance of the model, about her bright personality. Sculptural sizes are divided large, clearly, precisely on rhythm, the image is architechtonical and due to all these -really monumental.
Chamber portraits, especially easel portraits practically were absent in creativity of Kremnjova of former years. However, interest to chamber portrait at times appears in her art per the last years (portrait of artist A. Korsakova - 1982, bronze). But now and again, tending to psychological true of a model, Kremnjova "supplies" a figure with an own architectural field, thus breaking boundaries of special portrait task.
Seems, 70th-80th years - time of greatest luck of L. Kremnjova. In this period she with more and more assurance takes form and space. Her creative language finds bright artistism. Complexity and poetics of plans mark auto portraits of the artist, among which composition "Mirror" (1980, bronze) is especially interesting.
Auto portrait especially complex genre for sculptor. Matter, probably, that plastic, by virtue of its real subjectivity, is less illusory, than planar arts. But therefore is more conditional and symbolical. Here all informative field defines by the language of form. Besides auto portrait is the total sum of personal self-consciousness and its plastic incarnation. Kremnjova solves the task of an auto portrait difficulty, symbolically, though is concrete from the point of view of real subjectivity: two auto portraits are given in "mirror reflection". It is known that any model of a portrait expresses representations of the author about the world through the person of a model. Creating an image of herself, the artist, naturally, aggravates the responsibility in an estimation of the world. Her task becomes especially moral. Kremnjova solves this complex task, as always, on original way. The concept of "mirror", inevitable for an auto portrait, here becomes actual, subjective: the mirror is represented concretely. It is differentiates two auto portrait images in the space of the composition. Thus representation about full junction of concrete-personal and objectively estimated is created in the art of the artist. These both are absolutely identical: the ideas of art completely express the person of its founder.
Plastic good luck of "Mirror" is not casual: complex subjectively-space perception of surrounding - organic property of the art of Kremnjova. «Mirror»"Once - it was in Pereslavl - I has seen and understood, that the whole world - sculpture, that all in it is constructed on the combination of a subject and space".
70th-80th years have appeared fruitful for the sculptor and from the point of view of complicating speculations above links of nature and person, nature in general - with its figurative interpretation. "Not news, that the nature gives an occasion for the most various generalizations, - artist speaks. - So, for example trees have helped me to understand much in… person, from the point of view of plastic".
This statement is interesting because rather untraditional. And really, tree is possible to perceive, as something, reflecting the person: it grows, bears on itself traces of age, grows old, as well as person. Here is the widespread concept of using wood as one of the most expressive materials in creation, for example, folklore images. Series of figures and reliefs of Kremnjova "Man and trees" (1974, ceramics) is based on likening of a person to a tree, this series showing about complicating, symbolical deepening of the figurative world of the sculptor.
Complex plots, symbolical ideas express in a relief (having wider narrative possibilities), easier than in a round sculpture. Let's mark that the images in figures of the sculptor are also created in the same system of associative representations - powerful, vigorous on manner, complex on thought. It is, for example, series of figures "people-cactuses" (1970, paper, pencil) and others. Therefore in figures and reliefs sculptor tries to express one of the problems recently most acutely exciting her, namely - movement of an image not only in space, but also in time.
History and modernity appear in direct unity in reliefs: "The glory of these days will always shines", "We born to turn a fairy tale into the truth", "Artist and model", "Meditation" (all - 1983, shamotte). Composition "Adam and Eva" (1982, shamotte) also expresses the unity of time appearing in eternity of defined human properties - product, in which the aspect of a modernity appears as acute wittiness of subtext.
"There are no emptiness and direct lines in nature, - sculptor speaks. - Nature, therefore, and art do not suffer monotony. Large sizes it is necessary alternate with finer. All in nature and in art is created on contrasts". These principles underlie works of Kremnjova, embodied the most different idea, created in various genres. Feeling of contrast connection of the forms helps her in creation of such compositions, as "Sun inside me" (1975, bronze). Condensed sizes, space and chiaroscuro transitions in the associatively given female figure create an impression of romantic enthusiasm. And the through break in the top of silhouette on contrast with common density really gives rise to sensation of shining, bright rays.
Speaking about predecessors closest to her on spirit, L. Kremnjova selects S.T. Konenkov, and A. Pologova - from the contemporaries. And, probably, not accidentally: there is the level of figurative generalization that common in art of these foremen, the level due to which their works settle down somewhere in between easel and monumental sculptures.
The art of L. Kremnjova is those. Polyhedral work with form, system of her generalizations, gift of architechtonical and rhythmical construction of sculptural masses give to her creativity features of bright decorativity. And all main properties of talent of the sculptor create the premises for her work in area of monumental plastic.
Soon after graduation of the institute - in 1960 - Kremnjova participated in competition on monument of L. Tolstoy. The monument made in granite was solved in traditionSculptural composition on Issyk-Kul of "severe style". Solved, by the way, enough brightly and expressively and has received the incentive premium. In the same time she created monument to Petr Alexeev in Tumanovo town of Smolensk area (1959, granite). Her consequent monumentally decorative works show how fruitfully develops her creativity in this sort of sculpture.
Among the most interesting works of different years - decorative complex on Issyk-Kul lake (1978 - 1979, shamotte). In this complex - sculptural groups, figures, decorative vases, fountains. Significantly, that this complex, as well as others monumental works of the sculptor (reliefs, including decorative ceramic inserts etc.), with all their variety are marked by uniform qualities, and main of them - free in professional working with form, feeling of material, decorativeness, professional artistism, poetic feeling.
"Each time - admits Lyudmila Kremnjova, - beginning new work, I go as if on an attack, on a gain. And in the beginning I always test feeling of fear, hope. Satisfaction from the made work arises not often". Anxiety, doubt, propensity to searches are in these words of the sculptor - but these qualities, in many respects cause perspectiveness and fruitfulness of her works in future.

Reliefs of series «Man And Trees» Reliefs of series «Man And Trees» Reliefs of series «Man And Trees» Reliefs of series «Man And Trees»