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Alexander Rodin. Perfectionism or a “Dynamic Equilibrium” of the “Meliorative Ecstasy”

For Alexander Rodin his life and creative work are indivisible. His paintings can be enjoyed over and over again, and any time you look at them, new submarines, continents or planets pop up. “For a long time Alexander Rodin has been diligently painting the universe with the microscopic precision” Yaugen Shuneika, an art critic, once remarked. “The longer one peers at those silver-black abysses the deeper they become. He decided to pick up additional impulses from the cosmos through performances, just to envision himself as an alchemist or a star finder. In any case, shapeless, dark garment makes him look like some alchemist”.
Alexander RodinAlexander Rodin. Performance in Belarus
By the way, due to Rodin this outfit has gained some sacral sense. The costume, which the artist wears at various happenings, actions and performances, and his distinctive manner have given birth to many followers and copycats

Alex Rodin’s performances as well as his paintings are a priori philosophical. The artist tries to be engaged in an inward dialogue with himself more than with the outer world. The visual imagery is also very detailed. That’s a manifestation of Alexander’s passion for constructing a monumental mosaic. Rodin strives to refine, to improve the world, but at the same time to put together its whole and complete composition.

Probably that’s the reason why many of his performances feel rather dragged out. Some people even get impatient and irritated. Clearly, those who got used to immediate expression and quick culmination would be disappointed. If you want to be well-prepared to Rodin’s performances, you should watch it with an internal readiness for a theatrical performance. And it’s vital to understand an essential aspect of Alexander Rodin’s creative personality – the result of his actions prevails over artist’s development and appearance. Understandably, Rodin’s long journey to himself hasn’t been a bed of roses. Suffice it to mention his first solo exhibition that was held in Minsk in 1988. “I displayed around fifteen works – those I felt would definitely reflect my mindset – ‘Dynamic Equilibrium’, ‘Meliorative Ecstasy’, ‘Block #6’...”, looks back the artist. “Obviously, the exhibition scared the museum authorities and the week after it was opened, they blocked the entrance – the paintings were left hanging but no one could see them”.
Meliorative Ecstasy. Diptych. Oil on canvas, each piece 150cm x 120cm
Diverse sides of Alexander Rodin are seen throughout his paintings and performances. He seeks to cover everything – both abstractionism and cosmic landscapes. He often turns to technique called “pointillism”. Rodin’s works have always been notable for their multiple meanings. They are compared to a game of chess. Some of his admirers once said: “The first impression from his paintings - they couldn’t have been created by one person”. Alex Rodin is an experimentalist in his nature and never repeats himself in his works. Nevertheless he is very comprehensible. In his creative search he resembles Wassily Kandinsky and seeks to develop a certain philosophical composition. To my mind, the following opinion once expressed about Alexander Rodin, is very precise: “There’s no sense to put any barriers on the way of knowledge – they won’t work. As soon as certain human beings are alive they will go ahead; and there always are those who don’t choose a secure and safe road. And there’s the only one criterion, based on which one can look for that uneasy path - disinterestedness of the quest per se, mixed with desire to achieve the goal. And it happens that on this way to the very top of the mountain, this person not only avoids gaping abysses but explores them down the bottom”.

Things have come round in such a manner that nowadays Berlin is an unofficial capital of contemporary art. Berlin competes with Paris, but it’s just a nominal contest, everything has been already decided long time ago. Maybe it’s no mere chance that an untamed global creative energy is concentrated in Berlin, which lures artists with different aesthetical views; and here Western and Eastern cultures have united, and socialist values lost the battle and at the very same time rose as historic heritage and cultural achievements.

In 2001, a huge exhibition of contemporary Belarusian art “Dach” was on show at the internationally famous Kunsthaus Tacheles. Alexander Rodin took part in this event and it changed his future life. In terms of artistic experience all his previous visits to foreign countries were just experiences, nothing more. But since 2001 Rodin has become a member of European art community. Forever. Since then he lives between Minsk and Berlin. He’s on the wing all the time and actually it resonates with his spiritual postulates – and certainly it corresponds with the universe his soul belongs to. That’s what Rodin wrote for a flyer to his art show “The Night of Unknown Subjects – III” (Minsk, 2004): “The humankind is living with a feeling of upcoming deep and irreversible transformations. With a maniacal persistence it’s striving to puzzle out universal mysteries and psychological riddles. And who knows how to restrain those who go forward?.. Artist’s imagery, figural structures, formal coloristic rhythms are all almost helpless against such mind-blowing progress. The art is only an echo of this overwhelming pressure”.
Alexander Rodin. Night of Unknown Subjects
Night of Unknown Subjects. Oil on canvas, 135cm x 180 cm
But what is Kunsthaus Tacheles? What draws artists from all over the world to this place? Alexander Rodin defines “Tacheles is a European sacred caw. Tacheles is diverse and unpredictable, it’s not easy to grasp its ambience, but it supports artists and inspires them”. This art house has created an idiosyncratic commune of experimentations. In this context the following occurrence might be seen as a striking contrast: in 2004 Alexander initiated an art event “The Second Invasion of Tacheles”, which was supposed to run on all cylinders in Minsk biggest exhibition hall, the Palace of Arts. The idea was to put an exhibition of paintings together with ongoing art and music performances and dramatic readings. As a result, the “invasion” appeared to be shallow, since the day after opening the action was halted by officials – they let only Rodin’s paintings on display. There was no physical blockade as in 1988 but no freedom of creativity like in Berlin either. And nowadays Alex Rodin is still one of few architects, who try to launch a bridge of closeness between Belarus and European.
Alexander Rodin's works in Kunsthaus Tacheles
Alexander Rodin's works in Kunsthaus Tacheles
There are hundreds of artists in Belarus, who herd themselves in some communities or unions, but as a result, only a handful of people stay on as Artists and even less remain in history of Arts. Those few artists create their own galaxies and steer a course for a society. Two points of view are equally true about Belarus – it’s the geographical of Europe and it loiters on its periphery. Though so far Belarus resembles a blank in the center (or on the periphery?) of Europe, and the latter doesn’t have any clear vision of our art potential. But thanks to Alexander Rodin and the like, we all hope that eventually global art map will have no such blanks anymore.
Zmitser Vishneu

The original article in Belarusian posted in “Dziejaslou” magazine
Adaption and translation from Belarusian by Bella Belarus, 2009©

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