The paintings at this exhibition represent various stages of the painter’s trajectory. They range from fantastic figuration to figurative abstraction. If it is true that art resides upon the artist’s capacities of making visible that which is invisible, then in the work of Youssoupov we find molded the perception of art in its purest form. Each painting reveals the unsuspected substance of a world that surrounds us but we seldom see.
The canvas treatment, its execution, reveals craftsmanship that resemble characteristics similar to the stony calcified surfaces of Roman frescoes, while the playful and caricature like religious imaginary leads us to think of the Eastern paintings, particularly those of popular Russian tradition. Amalgam, synthesis, influences, pave the road of a good painter; (“nothing comes from nothing”) but to develop an individual technique, to mold or create and original perception of the exhibition, are attributes of a great painter.
Color and the formal disposition in the work of Youssoupov correspond, with the lushness and richness of Klimt and the fantastic weightlessness of Chagall, while his sense of collectivity in his playful universe reminds us of Brueghel’s humanism.
Youssoupov traces free strokes, without apparent methodical orientation; aleatory movements, which accentuate the playful, disjoint between the figures. This is perceived in the agglomeration of figurative elements that, while its organic integrity is identifiable, the viewer in a puzzle like game must organize their dialectical sense.
This painting irrupts, bursts, with the strength of a solid personal style in today’s pictorial world, mostly residue of: the geometric formalism of the postwar, the minimalism of abstract expressionism and the intellectualization of conceptual art. We find ourselves before a delicate and beautiful painting expressed with its own voice, aloof from styles and movements, full of rage, irony, and humor and imperishable.
The multiple figurative perspective and convergent centers has been manifested since the painting of the Baroque in contrast to the open Renaissance style, e.g. Van Eyck’s atmospheric perspective. Its influence is herein evident. In almost all of the paintings, the composition gives the impression of an overflow, which the frame cannot hold in; a hint of a subtle invitation to imagine the subject matter continuing beyond its proposed physical boundaries. An uncertain restlessness is experienced by the viewer, a foreboding of something hidden that intrigues and invites to return to the canvas time and again to recompose, to mend, to repair and apparently incomplete universe formed with unconnected elements.
In that going back of the eye, time and again, the hidden subtilties, its diverse meaning and the details of a textile like character are discovered, minutely and meticulously imbricate
The clean and refined technique is not imposed on the image, but rather enhances it. The spatula, palette knife seems not to have touched the surface of the canvas. Its effect is beautiful and the relief that its stroke produces is always compatible with the subject and gives significance to its from. Thus we see it, for instance, in “Saint Christopher”, the flowing water of the river where the Saint introduces his foot; in the luminous quality that irradiates from the contours of the Christ in “The Supper” the rain that trickles over the umbrellas in “Under the Rain”. There is no technical ostentation or exhibitionism but rather, and more so, the use of an original and impeccable technique that supports the color’s autonomy and the graceful movements that flows, taking advantage of the minimal space within the composition. Form and content thus become indissoluble, as it occurs in the small watercolor “The Fall of Icarus” or in “Day and Night”. In the latter, the distribution of the planes insinuates the natural antithetic parallelism of the central subjects. The night slides taking with its dark mantle a fairytale and happy humanity, which illuminates the escape road with torches while the lovers seek protection from the light. Above, day rises imposingly with luminous mustache and beard, taking the place of the night that slips away diagonally, almost obliquely, like a serpent that is forced to leave the painting. In the upper part, clew balls in relief simulate clouds.
The color, always autonomous, at times, dissolves in translucent like kaleidoscopic bridge, extended through delicate figures and the exuberant arabesques, thus producing a polychronic effect. Other times, its autonomy becomes more conspicuous throughout zones of solid tones. The figures and the objects acquire freedom on their own through the centrifugal circles and the lineal movements over which they graciously slide with serpentine movements from one extreme to the canvas to the other.
The paintings of Ildar Youssoupov are a fantastic reflection of the external and legendary worlds expressed with deliberate naiveté and playfulness. It is rich in timeliness objects and populated by humanly formless faces with puppetry characteristics. Unconnected with one another, in both gender and species, they appear to have been invited to share a common space where color and story give them meaning.