Artist Leonid Stroganov, (Saint Petersburg)

THE EXHIBITOR OF THE SALON “ART EN CAPITAL” 2013

LS-Port-BIG-5Thoughts about the visual arts lead me to memories of how I, as a teenager, loved to watch work in the port. It was in Vyborg, a small town by the Baltic Sea. I especially liked the evening. The mysterious darkness, breathing in the heavy moist sea breeze, the unintelligible subdued sounds, whistles, rattles and subtle clops, fascinated me. Wisps of the fairway, winking in the dark, created a music of excitement, the way into the abyss of a dark and mysterious Baltic night. During the day, the mystery would disappear, everything would fall back into place. Similarly the visual arts, in my view, must contain a secret within it, like a certain quality of understatement. This is what fills the work of fine art with an internal content, and transforms an everyday image into a mature and meaningful artistic statement. That is precisely what determines the value and meaning of the dialogue of the artist with the viewer.

Leonid Stroganov for the readers of the ”Russian Art & Paris”.

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LS-Port-text-1Leonid Stroganov, a graphic artist, works in a currently rare technique of etching. The specifics of printmaking are historically closely associated with the art of making books, with its refined and intellectually rich aesthetic. It is quite natural that Leonid Stroganov, an artist-intellectual, not only has his own outlook, but also a brightly expressive individual style. The etching sheets of the author are filled with symbols, signs, and puzzles that engage the viewer in a dramatic art space: between truth and fiction, life and death, beauty and disorder. Every detail in his prints – is part of a surprisingly musical universe, where everything is interconnected in a complex game of semantic reflections. From this, perhaps, arises a unique rhythm, the nerve of the line of the author’s drawing.
•   The heroes of etchings are fantastic, fictional personas in the image of people. The constant transformation, a rebirth one into another, is most noticeable in the early diptych “Eating” and “Running away” (2002). In later works, traces of recent metamorphosis are seen in the hands of “The Venetian”, in the face of “The Courtesan” (2010), in the feet of the bookplate of Brodovych “Adam and Eve” (2008), in the right hand “of the Magi” (2006) and in other works. These intentionally stylized techniques emphasize the belonging of the characters to a different aesthetic reality unfolded in the field of author’s myth.
•  Series “The Silence” (1999) – is one of the first made by the author in the technique of etching. In this series, which is mysterious and surprisingly melodic in a youthful way, the third sheet is of particular interest. On a gloomy background of deep space there are nude, separately seated figures of a man and a woman with a baby sleeping peacefully in their arms. Immersed, each in their own world, both he and she are alone. Above them, in the upper world, submitting to their own music, unseen creatures fly on a predetermined path, and in the lower world, listening to the melody, wonderful fish swim by. He and she are in an infinite space, where everything is on a predetermined path. The juxtaposition, in which a LS-Port-text-2man and a woman are in the third sheet of the series “Silence,” occurs in the author’s work more than once, for example, in the previously mentioned bookplate Brodovych “Adam and Eve”. The small size and chamber genre of the bookplates do not stop it from being one of the artist’s strongest works – the engraving is beautiful in its artistic idea and deep in meaning. Heroes of a biblical myth are depicted lying on the roots of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they are arranged with their backs to each other. Adam and Eve are close, but not together – they are far from each other. The audience’s glance at the lying down lonely and confused characters creates a special sense of the timeless existence of personas.
•  Leonid Stroganov returned time and again to the first people of the world. Several works were made with the plot of “Expulsion from Paradise”. Two large-sized works were completed by the author in 2009. One of them depicts Adam and Eve in the moment when they leave the gates of heaven. A huge portal is framed by two dark figures, wrapped in donkey skins. They walk side by side; their closed faces and expressive gestures speak of desperation. They wander along the same road, but each has their own skin, every person for themselves. The author reveals through this Biblical story, the theme of human loneliness. The second work on the same LS-Port-text-4subject, in the form of a diptych, is striking by its expression. Adam and Eve appear emaciated by suffering and eternal journeys. In all the works on the theme of the Fall, an important place is devoted to the image of a root turned inside-out from the land, or of roots blanketing the ground. The root is a metaphor for the origin of that which is hidden from the eyes, which gives vitality.
•  A particular perception of time is present in many works of Leonid Stroganov. The author builds his work in such a way that his characters still exist timelessly, even if the text is full of symbols and attributes that refer to a particular historical period or literary composition.
•  Travelers wander timelessly on their way from the cycle “Moving” (1999). On one of the sheets of the series of the same name, under number one, a group of people is depicted under a starry sky. The wagon, a boy with a backpack, people in hoods, a woman holding a baby next to a man, all wandering after a donkey. Who are they? Refugees, pilgrims of the Middle Ages, whose life was on the road? Unwittingly, you pay attention to the last figures: “A donkey, a woman with a baby, and the man nearby”. The combination is perceived as a quote: “Holy Family on the way to Egypt.” But the woman is not sitting on the donkey, but follows him, and the face of “Joseph” is hidden under the mask. A Miracle – in the ordinary flow of life, but it cannot always be noticed and understood. In the artwork there is no emphasis on the faces of characters. Perhaps they have not yet found their persons, have not found their identity. Through the procession, attention is drawn to the figure of a teenager carrying a load on his shoulders, precisely because he has a face. The boy with the backpack is similar to the artist himself. Does this mean that he walks among his characters behind a cart along a road in the flow of people? There is a feeling of not only a myth, but also a parable. There is a special feeling of a mystical-philosophical “Stroganov” aura, which is the hallmark of the work of this young and very talented artist.

by Ksenia Harina, art critic.

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Адам и Ева

“Adam and Eve”   Etching. (40 x 30 cm)

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The modern Saint Petersburg graphic artist Leonid Stroganov debuted in art with an impressive series of etchings “King Lear”. The sophisticated viewer will immediately feel a dissonance because a series of etchings requires quite serious creative experience and of course, maturity is needed for Shakespeare… All right!  And yet… The talent of Leonid Stroganov is bright and obvious. Few artists of this age have an established style and a distinct artistic vision. Even rarer is the wholeness and strong inner conviction of his own truth. These are imperative qualities without which many talents have faded.
•  The bas-relief style of Leonid Stroganov etchings, their intense drama, is realized in full effect in the William Shakespeare series. No less interesting is the dynamism of compositional solutions, the amazing artistic unity of tonal and rhythmic rows. Tonal accents impeccably build the dialogue of gestures in the etching “King Lear – 1″. The complex range of emotions in the sheet of “King Lear – 10″ comes from the black and white rhythm of the composition. The determination and non-triviality of the compositional structures of each sheet is very enticing. Determination, without which it is impossible to create a new artistic image or, by the description of philosopher N.Berdyaev a “creation of the nonexistant”.
•  A series of urban landscapes of St. Petersburg – the city, roadway of which have seen each and every Russian artists, is a difficult task for a master of any rank. For a series, it is insufficient just combination of scenes. It is very essential to have a new quality – the Saint Petersburg of Leonid Stroganov. And on the etching plates of this artist, such a city arises. This is not quite an ordinary St. Petersburg. Dostoevsky is not seen on its bridges, but perhaps Bulgakov may appear just around the corner. This city is still tragic at night, but a little provincial in the light of day. This is a different St. Petersburg. A St. Petersburg through the eyes of an artist from a new generation. This city can be liked by not everyone, but it already exists, because there exists a new and intriguing artist – Leonid Stroganov.  ©

by Russian Art & Paris

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Куртизанка

“The courtesan”   Etching. (42 x 28 cm)

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Leonid Stroganov was born in the city of Saint Petersburg in 1979 year. After graduating from the Saint Petersburg Art College named after Nicholas Roerich (1999), the artist was continued his education at The Institute of design, applied arts and humanities under the guidance of the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Oleg Yahnin (2002). Since 2002 he is a member of the Artists’ Union of the Russian Federation. The artist-graphic Leonid Stroganov lives and work in Saint Petersburg, Russia. 

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EXHIBITIONS

AeC13-8

Etchings by Leonid Stroganov in the exhibition of the Salon “Art en Capital” 2013, (Paris).

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Russian B-2French B-2Gallery B-2
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Russian spelling: Художник Леонид Строганов, (Санкт-Петербург)

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