August 11, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum of 20th- and 21st Century Art of St Petersburg will be the opening of a solo exhibition of Irina (b. 1941) and Yuri (b. 1944) Gretsky. The artists constitute an amazing creative conjugal union, bound by a single artistic and worldview idea.
The Gretsky family are one integrity, one destiny for two. They have been living together and creating in the same studio for many years; all their works, created in co-authorship, always bear two signatures with the same surname.
They always depict what is around them. They create landscapes, portraits, objects, and installations. The world in their works is usually represented through a view from above. It is as if they rise above the earth and from some cosmic heights cover all the space around them with panoramic vision. The theme of infinity and eternity is the basis of their artistic Weltanschauung. In their works, they combine in an unusual way the earthly world of the "lowlands" with the heavenly world of the "highlands." One may think that the masters intuitively grasped that the incalculable and inexpressible Truth exceeds any ability of human understanding, that everything divine is cognized only through participation. That is why symbols indicating the boundary of the connection between the two worlds, visible and invisible, become one of the most important expressive means of their work.
In landscapes, they strive to reflect the idea of the path from the earthly world to the boundlessness of the cosmos. The artists depict rivers and roads as symbols of the flow of time. Whimsical curves of rivers with the sky reflected in them, rapid lines of roads and tunnels leading to the light, form a model of the universe, which has no boundaries. In the quiet village landscapes with a string of huts reaching up to the heavens with their sharp triangles of roofs, the boundaries of closed rooms open up, and a tiny corner of the village world joins the immensity, the individual becomes part of the immense expanses.
In portraits, as in landscapes, the artists juxtapose reality and metaphor, reflecting on human destinies on the scale of the world. The depicted models are represented very schematically, without any concretization. Even the faces are not elaborated in any way. But the signs of visual resemblance are perfectly recognizable by subtle characteristic features of a particular person. The objects painted in bright colors, logs, stools, trunks, stumps and bottles, continue movement into the unknown, transformed to appear in a different version. Their forms and rhythm of lines unravel the greatest mystery of the creation of the world, because every thing has its point of contact with the Divine energy.
The compositional center of the exhibition is the Rainbow in a Boat monumental installation. The boat is the keynote of the work of Irina and Yuri Gretsky, referring us to the legend of the Biblical ark. The image carries an idea that has become fundamental to the art of Irina and Yuri Gretzky, that of a one's life journey and salvation through spiritual transformation.
The exhibition includes about fifty works, paintings, installations and objects created between 2005-2018.