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17:57 | May 12 | 2012

At the junction of the contraries

Marianna Lukina joins traditions and innovative trends in her art.

Analyzing the state of the visual art of Yakutia on the turn of XX-XXI centuries, one unwittingly notices a cardinally changing set of ideas about painting styles and priorities. Two main areas are traced rather colourfully in this field – the realistic one and the so-called “modern avant-garde”, which is not particularly pronounced, and was locally named “art- Sakha modern.”

Scenic compositions by Marianna Lukina stand out among modern painters of Yakutia due to their anything but simple concepts. Looking at her work, one cannot help but reflect on what makes a picture a picture, that could limit a piece of reality, separate it from other things and turn it into something special, which builds a dialog with the creation, where the work becomes something more than just art, which is a property of real art that can affect a soul.

At the turn of the eras
Marianna Lukina began her creative development in the early 1990s, the period which was a critical time in the life of the country. The feeling of a certain impasse, which arose in the art environment, was accompanied by some fading of the true value of art. It refers to the art, capable of “educating a soul through a shock”, which has nothing in common with simple entertaining spectacle or experiments devoid of spiritual aspiration.
A solid basic training (the Yakutsk art college, then the Moscow art college named after Memory of 1905 year, the Moscow State Art Institute named after V.I. Surikov (class of Professor Salakhov)) allowed Marianna Lukina to participate in art exhibitions during studentship. At the same time her art began to gain distinctive features from the outset. Lukina’s works are notable for soft, subtle perception of the world in all its generalized philosophical diversity and depth which shows in all genres of the artist’s creativity.
Early works of Lukina “Portrait in Black” (1992), "Glowing at the Dance”, “The alarm raiser” (1992), the triptych “Ysyakh” (1994), the diptych “The Bull” (1994) and others are rare items of nationwide value, which appeared to be innovative among the works of her contemporaries.
Not only a natural peculiarity of talent is incidental to Lukina, but also a clearly expressed philosophical and aesthetic position. Lukina’s works being classically balanced always attract attention by an example of flawless imaginative figurative expressiveness.
A complex of phenomena that belong both to the present and the past is traced in the formation of the individual style of the artist. On the one hand, it is a natural focus on the best achievements of the national art school, on the other it is a connection with the ethnic culture of her people. There are good reasons to identify the reference to the experience of the art of “the sixties”, to Tair Salakhov, who taught the artist, in particular, to Mikhail Lukin, the father and a talented artist who had an extraordinary gift of a painter. Thus, in Marianna Lukina’s art we can see a sound attempt to combine many traditions - national, domestic and the classic western one.

Without primary or secondary
The main advantage of Lukina is the unity of art vision in its entirety. The absence of pronounced stylistic orientation can be attributed to her characteristic features. The plastic language changes in accordance with the intention of the artist. Lukina’s creativity undergoes a lot of interesting metamorphoses. Her style, palette and perspective change with a relaxed easiness. In her artistic romanticism she goes through different stylistic moves – from the elements of decorative origin, the sources of neo-realism to the retorts to classic images.
At a minimum of media of expression the expressiveness of Lukina’s works is maximal. Despite the fact that they seem to lack openly bright colours, however, lively spaciousness of air and sunshine is palpable in them.
Lukina’s creativity is attractive due to her special style. At the same time her style is not just a set of external features. This is a point of vision of the painter, her perception of the world. Paintings of the artist shed a mystical, inviting and surprisingly warm light, which immerses the viewer into contemplative meditation. In general, Marianna Lukina’s art always balances on the junction of the contraries: substantiveness and pointlessness, visible and speculative. Many of her works are direct retorts to the traditions of avant-garde, but they lack the audacity and controversy, which cause disputes.
Innovative search of the artist is integral to her traditionalism, her interest to national culture and voluntary orientation to the best achievements of national and world art. Marianna Lukina’s works are always deeply felt, and are notable for particular nobility and absolute veracity of the feelings expressed, a convincing delivery of the state of mind, which is especially striking when the author turns to the world of “dead nature” – to still-life. In Lukina’s works one will not find primary or secondary things. Every thing and every detail is important in itself and is subjected to the common integrated structure.

In motion
Lukina’s art does not stand still, it is constantly progressing, is in motion, just as dissimilarity of many of her creative products proclaim. For instance, reminiscences of the Northern Renaissance affected the work of the artist in the original lyrical poetic refraction. A superbly made and brilliantly quoting the classics of the world painting “Self-Portrait in a luxurious decor by Lucas Cranach” (2004) is more likely an appeal to the art of "the seventies" that reflected the invisible qualities of the soul through the beauty of the visible.
As we can see, the work of the artist is inextricably linked with the traditions of both classical domestic and worldwide art, as well as national and native one. Art and aesthetics of the latter have long been the subject of intense reflection of many contemporary artists and this trend does not in any way diminish the significance of their works. On the contrary, any reference to the traditions of the past, to a greater or lesser degree, is an integral process of creative development of any artist. Marianna Lukina was able to join traditional and innovative trends in her work and this alloy has given an abundantly interesting result.
Artist Marianne Lukina is a bright phenomenon, representing the modern processes of fine arts of Yakutia. Her paintings are always effective, ambiguous and sometimes unexpected, and it is always a matter of controversy and debate, which is a rare quality of a modern creative spirit. Her world is strange and authentic, concise and significant. It lacks casual features and is therefore harmonic.

A.V. Safronov