Rabin Oscar

Shawl and Violin 90x110 cm, oil on canvas, 1974
About work

The painting “Shawl and Violin” is a metaphorical picture, it is distinguished by the emphasized mundaneness of things that surround a person in everyday life. Sometimes it is an image of sloping houses in the suburbs, near the Moscow railway station, a table with food in a country house, etc.

The artist imitates on the canvas real objects of mass culture – a violin and a shawl, they consist of a special sign system of O. Rabin, which creates in his series a bleak atmosphere of Soviet life.

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Date of Birth: 1928

Oscar Rabin (1928-2018) – Soviet and French artist, one of the founders of the unofficial art group “Lianozovo”. Organizer of the world-famous “Bulldozer Exhibition”. Knight of the Order of the Russian Academy of Arts “For Service to Art”.

He was born in Moscow in a family of doctors. From the age of thirteen, remaining an orphan, he was brought up by the artist and poet E. Kropyvnytsky, who was his first teacher and introduced him to the works of artists of the Russian and Western avant-garde of the early twentieth century. In 1946-1948 Rabin studied at the Academy of Arts in Riga. In 1948 he moved to Moscow and entered the Moscow Art Institute named after V. Surikov, where he was soon expelled “for formalism.”

Oscar Rabin’s works are an eloquent and realistic depiction of the 1960s. The artist was at the origins of non-conformism. He is considered one of the organizers of the “Lianozovsky group” and the so-called “Bulldozer Exhibition”. From 1958 to 1965, his barracks in Lianozova (a suburb of Moscow) was the unofficial center of Moscow’s cultural life. We see this barrack, this era in his works, which was so disliked by the representatives of official art at that time.

Conciseness of form, stinginess of color – still life and landscape within one canvas, this is the style of O. Rabin – a harsh reality, unfolded. This is the incorruptible truth of life, which was perceived by the communist authorities as dissent, and the denial of socialist realism programs in art led to the deprivation of Oscar Rabin of Soviet citizenship.

Settling in Paris in 1978, he found a new breath and international recognition. O. Rabin’s work is an intertwining of genres and artistic techniques, the use of elements of collage and assembly. The dramaturgy of the works is underlined by chronological notes – fragments of newspapers and documents, stickers and labels.

After moving to France, O. Rabin’s work largely lost its social orientation. The artist’s compositions have become more complex and fractional, the color – more intense; favorite brown-gray range has been replaced by a predominance of blue-green tones, which contrast with flashes of red and yellow. In recent years, a permanent motif has appeared in the artist’s work – the Jewish quarter of the Marais in Paris.

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