Victor Alimpiev, Sergey Pakhomov: Alimpiev — Pakhom

It’s difficult to imagine artists more different than Pakhom and Alimpiev. The art of the former gave him a reputation as a radical fool, of the latter as a sensual perfectionist. In OVCHARENKO, Alimpiev's graphics with its elegance of crystalline figures are reflected in Pakhom’s response drawings made with pig's blood.


The series of one artist is copied by another, but there is no hint of imitation. Pakhom interprets the images created by Alimpiev without regard to the artistic methods and stylistics of the latter. Adjacent to each other, the series "explode" on the walls of the gallery. Starting from the graphics, the artists come to an installation permeated with the tension of two poles.


Alimpiev draws sharp rays on the wall with mathematical precision. The beam of lines hangs like a trace of light passing through a prism. The space between the rays is organized on the same principle as the perspective matrices in Alberti's drawings. Pakhom in his painting proceeds from a completely different logic resulting in a deliberately by-product of the action. Blood on the wall has not only an independent aesthetic value of the image, but Pakhom also creates a sign-index which indicates the artist's practices that produce this image: handprints and blood splattering. 


The exhibition "Alimpiev-Pakhom" unites contemporaries who have long become mythological figures, and perhaps the unloved, hackneyed word "classic" is applied to them. There is not just a dialogue, but a dichotomy between carriers of different optics and different artistic thinking. However, both artists are not foreign to formalism, for them art is a self-contained system with its own laws, which Alimpiev and Pakhom closely examine, fix and try to expand, constantly experimenting.




The technical aspect of Alimpiev's graphics is no less complex than his painting, in which the surface of the canvas is modelled by repeatedly superimposing picturesque layers, image and glaze on each other. In the works from the series "Focused, talking, overturned" over the original outlines made with a watercolour pencil, lines of crayon pencil are applied. Then the sheet is washed, "erased": watercolor strokes are dissolved, retreating from the disappeared non-watercolor lines and paper whiteness becomes exposed. After that, the procedure is repeated many times.


The tautology of these actions assumes that the drawing is created on the plane of the sheet as a geodesic relief, in which the interaction of all materials is partly unintentional and random. In the target image parallel blurred lines enclosed in the borders of the shape repeat it vaguely following the difference in height. The paper void is transformed into a volumetric, almost tactile form. The glass refraction of vibrating pencil phrases and the splitting of angles from sheet to sheet gives the effect of multiplied movement. Not the least role is played by the color that marks each particular bend of bone and muscle. The sequence of images revealed in the series indicates a gradual shift in the artist's optics, which first captures the plasticity of the model, then the plastic possibilities of the lines, and at the end – the plasticity of the point. The coordinates remaining from the gradually disappearing image with their configuration only point to the split prototype. Stellated dots grow on the border of the image, spearing into the leaf with their carved rays. The final decomposition occurs when only the radiate points remain on the sheet.


Each work in the series expresses one of three prototypes depicting a female head: focused, talking, or overturned in ecstasy. Focused, talking, and overturned froze in tense readiness to split. Fixing the voltage follows from the logic of the drawing. All three images can be embedded in a logical sequence with a semblance of plot between them. But it more looks like they are drawn into another intermingling that stands above their relationship with each other – the rhythmic refrain of radiate decomposition.




In a series of responses to Alimpiev, Pakhom chooses blood as an artistic material. This decision is not devoid of slyness.

Nitsch made pig's blood the emblem of Viennese actionism. Pig's blood flowed in the gallery in 1992. Pachom works with a reference through refraction: the material that marks the work as "radical" is used in combination with classical techniques and graphics.


But his method hardly can be called graphical. Drawings rather lie on the border of painting and calligraphy. Somewhere the smear is intermittent, somewhere it is obscured by an occasional thick spot, the shape of which deceptively resembles an inkblot. Short, thick, emphatically rough bloodstains hide the borrowed image that they recreate. The focus shifts to the formal characteristics of the works: almost abstract composition, changeable, uneven texture; color, with many nuances: from the translucency of umber to the impenetrability of minium.


The final color scheme of an image made in blood is submitted to randomness. Saturation constantly varies, as erythrocytes peel off from leukocytes. Their different ratio, which is impossible to calculate, changes from pouring from one container to another during drawing. Finally, with each layer, a new shade appears, unlike the one that marks the neighboring spot. Many factors suggest the" unintentional " color, the dependence of the product on the biological and physical laws that can be ignored or subdued while working with a pencil.


The series contains a number of contradictory qualities in the grid of which there are homage / independence of the method; radical material / traditional technique; painting / calligraphy; elaborate style / unpredictability of the result. Ambiguity that prevents the identification of Pakhom's works is their main property, due to which the copies acquire autonomy. It is in ambiguity that the individuality of the method of Pakhom lies.

Ambiguity wanders with him from project to project, stopping this time at a new point of reference – the Alimpiev’s graphic series.