From 4 October to 13 November 2022, an exhibition devoted to the outstanding Russian avant-garde artist, Alexander Labas will be held at the Museum of 20th-21st Century Art of St Petersburg. Labas’ graphic works will be shown, which, so far, have not been exhibited in St Petersburg. The works preserved in the artist’s family will be provided by the Foundation for the Preservation of Artistic and Cultural Heritage of the painters Alexander Labas and Raisa Idelson.
The exhibition presents Alexander Labas as a romantic meditator, a dreamy artist devoted to his art. His very original drawings, executed in various techniques, evoke a sense of miracle. With his art, the painter-romantic glorified Mankind’s achievements looked at through the eyes of a visionary.
His are prophetic words, “I am convinced that with each decade my works will be understood better and better, and in 50 or 100 years they will resound in full force, and everyone will see our time in them…”. One hundred years have passed and the poetically creative works of the master have become more timely that ever, and the time depicted in them appears full of enthusiasm and inspiration.
The compositions of the 1960s –1970s presented at the exhibition are colorful, free fantasies of the artist, creating the aesthetics of the new world. He is telling, as it were, a heartfelt story about cosmic discoveries, about the incipient future, about human conquest of boundless spaces and infinite time.
The Colour Compositions cycle, with most its drawings based on the interaction of colored spots, circles and intricate lines, reminds one of the whimsical and unpredictable human mind. In these works, nature, and more broadly, space, surround people, making them part of one and the same world. Portraits with figures dancing, sitting, sleeping, and floating in weightlessness fall into some parallel universes, filled with lucid dreams.
The Inhabitants of Distant Planets series tells about strange anthropomorphic creatures that could become characters of some intergalactic saga. The Fantasy series is populated by a variety of biomorphic creatures, symbiotes. According to the artist, all could coexist peacefully with humans, surrounded by unprecedented beauty of nature that has survived in the technogenic world.
Each series has a number of sheets with abstract colorful constructions. Upon closer examination, however, it becomes clear that they, too, are devoted to man as a part of the vast Space.
Alexander Arkadievich Labas (1900—1983) was a Soviet artist, representative of the Russian avant-garde and post-Futurism of the 1920s – 1930s, one of the founders and member of the Society of Easel Painters. He started painting at the age of six, at first in the studio of Vitaly Mushketov and in the Stroganov School of Art and Design; he studied and later taught at the Higher Art and Technical Studios (VKhUTEMAS). He studied under Kazimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky, Konstantin Istomin, Aristarkh Lentulov and Ilya Mashkov. He created such works as The First Soviet Airship (1931), The First Steam Locomotive on the Turksib (1931) and In the Subway (1935).
During his long life dedicated to art, Alexander Labas never betrayed his talent. He experimented, sought unusual forms of expression, giving himself devotedly to creative process.