Exhibition of September
«Made in Saint-Petersburg»
5 September - 14 October 2017
There are wings of artists,
Tailors and railway men,
But only the artists discovered,
How these wings sprout.
"Made in Saint-Petersburg"
Among those who are fond of high gastronomy, there is a popular, nice word for "terroir", its origin is simple and guessable - Latin "terra" just means "earth", "soil".
A more concise definition of the terroir was given by the wine expert from America Hugh Johnson: Terroir is an environment of origin. The Frenchmen are more mystical-poetic and shorten the concept of terroir, calling it "the spirit of the place".
The classical definition makes understandable and explainable combinations of objects who’s beautiful by their lived life, the emotional density of still lives and the defenseless children's transparency of the images that live on the canvases of Rimma Babkina. Terroir - a combination of soil-climatic factors and special characteristics of the terrain: relief, wind rose, water bodies, insolation, the surrounding world.
The artist was born and works in Saint-Petersburg, she studied here, and she lives here. She looks into the olive-steel waters of rivers and canals, raises her head to the changing Saint-Petersburg sky, walks along the imperial Peter’s squares and the fragile streets of Kolomna, walks the ungainly Komarovo coast ... and paints in this unique city what she feels.
She paints from childhood, from Leningrad youth, after traversing the path of a person who is in the constant process of learning, cognition and discovery - she graduated from the Leningrad Art School named after Vladimir Serov (since 1992 Saint-Petersburg Art College named after Nicholas Roerich), then the Leningrad Higher School of Art and Industry named after Vera Mukhina (since 1994 Saint-Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy named after Alexander Stiglitz). Just entering to the "Mukhina" school, becoming a student of the Department of Industrial Graphics and Packaging, Rimma Babkina began to make beautiful simple objects - a package in which lies a loaf of bread, a usual pack of cookies, a box with a turtle fodder: everything that each of us perceives as an integral part of the daily kaleidoscope, suddenly stopping by looking at the real, great beauty and warmth of images oа everyday things. An amazing fact, but the author of philosophical still lives and portraits, leaving a sense of read essays, her works are present in almost every home - porridge "Clearly the sun"; products of the "Predportovy" and "Hlebburg" combines; crackers and sooshki, bread and muffin of bread factory "Karavai"; cakes Smolninsky bakery; pelmeni and ice cream of the cold stores "Kolpino" and "Slavmo" and an almost endless list of design lines of products from manufacturers in Russian regions: Barnaul, Syktyvkar, Khabarovsk ... Many pet stores sell food for birds, reptiles, fish and decorative rodents of the company "Zoomir", boxes with which remind of the best English fairy tales - so strong are images and so animated representatives of domesticated fauna. Not for the first decade they have been working under the logos created by the artist, the Theater "Russian Entreprise" and, almost a museum, the "Armory Yard" shop; in cooperation with the publishing house "Diamant" in 1996, there were two illustrated by R. Babkina, children's fairy tales - "Alice in Wonderland" and>Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There". The publishing house "Profession" cooperated with the artist in the production of reference books on librarianship and educational literature for the Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts. The design of jazz music festivals "Autumn Beats" and "Open Music" gave life to the first flying character - a recognizable, kind and simple-minded dog, as if peeking out of a gateway somewhere on Voznesensky Prospect and suddenly soared with fallen leaves or sheets torn from a music paper notebook, in a fit of still warm, but already insistent autumn wind. And there was still many, many things, invariably interesting, made with the impeccability of a professional and the subtlety of a very observant person. This was all just is Work, daily, with interest, with passion, bringing joy and daily bread, the work that was asked for, which they ordered, sometimes rushed with deadlines, sometimes asked to make adjustments or change everything. But there was always one regular customer who probably was born the day when a small Leningrad girl Rimma Babkina took a pencil and held her first conscious line, or maybe it was just a dot, or maybe it was chalk and asphalt, and maybe a ballpoint pen and wallpaper - it does not matter, but only important thing that it was an internal impulse to the image ordered by the future artist to herself.
Then appeared the portraits painted from nature or are the embodiments of fantasies, images of their own, soaring dogs, still lives, disposing for an endless viewing. And in each canvas the attentive spectator will find how the stamp of the sender, the detail-hint at the place of painting the picture - the city of Saint-Petersburg. It is here that we still perceive the oyster as something outlandish - the one-half-sister of the pearl - received from it as a present its pearl luster and impossibility of general availability. A tender April tomato with a tail that has dried up in a long road like a cake is wrapped in a white parchment, like the first long, desperately smelling of grass and the whole greenery of the world, cucumbers are the true sign of spring, familiar to every Leningrader from unconscious childhood. Amazing, almost museum, household utensils;
tools, partly forgotten purpose; sea stars of bad; lunar clove of garlic and a bouquet of rosemary - a moon and a Christmas tree on a winter night in the suburbs; an onion that grows always and everywhere and, with some sort of ineradicable hope, always grown on the windowsills of city flats until the appearance of the first merry flowers of mother-and-stepmother; mummified hot pepper, whose acuteness is not subject to the change of conditions and, it seems, if an unreasonable child licking the canvas with its image, will certainly burn the tongue. The coffee grain, like a chopped bead with a groove for a thread, a Shakespearian vial, a canvas, pepper beads - everything that was in the past and is in the present, alive and lost, tangible and felt only by a hint of an event - turns Rimma Babkina's still lives into frank stories.
... The stories are real and fictitious, like an inseparable pair of Angels - morning and evening, whose by their faces are giving confidence that here will be always like now. On their faces, which did not see the southern sun, readiness for everything, in exquisite clothes and compound armor is not striking beauty, behind the shoulders are the wings of birds of the Baltic north and it is easy to believe that with the rising of the moon or the appearance of the first rays of the sun they will be frozen on the roof of one of the palaces of the English Embankment, and then, having rested for a cup of unchanged coffee, will continue to protect the city and townspeople.
Such a simple story is an exhibition of an artist in her city. And such a simple task - to see, sight, recognize, feel, and perhaps meet.
With love and respect, V.V.