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 Nikolai Zarubin

Born:   February 13, 1948
Deceased:   1998



The prominent Russian artist Nikolai Zarubin (1948-1998) defined his art as visual representation of his philosophical and ethical outlook on the universe. A bright representative of the national tradition of philosophic art he developed his own unique method.

The artist blends together the visible and invisible, thought and intuition, science and myths, earthly beauty and supreme cosmic order, visual symbols and esoteric knowledge, abstract philosophic notions and artistic expression. Zarubin’s paintings saturated with multilevel implications give an attentive viewer much food for thought. They convey the artist’s insight into the dialectics of existence, the nature of the all-embracing unity, the regularity of cosmic laws, and similar problems.

A Talk with Father

Nikolai Alexandrovich Zarubin was born on February 13, 1948 in an Altaian village, Siberia. In 1975 he graduated from the Art Graphics Faculty of Moscow Teachers’ Training Institute and was assigned to the city of Perm. He taught at a teachers’ training college, and at children’s art schools and studios of the city. From 1983 till his death in 1998 Zarubin worked in the Art Fund of Perm.

Nikolai Zarubin became a living legend in Perm as a creator of an artistic myth of the ancient land located on the border of Europe and Asia. He was one of the first to poetically and aesthetically comprehend the peculiarities of Perm’s history and culture, landscape and geographic position.

Eve. Green Wave.

Zarubin took part in numerous exhibitions but became famous only after his first personal exhibition in 1991. The last nine years of his life were the most fruitful: he created his most powerful canvasses, such as “Carthage. Might and Its Futility”, “The Star of Bethlehem”, “Egregore (Patron) of Perm”, “Earthly Incarnation”, and others. That was the period of “conscious” work when the artist’s philosophical insight manifested itself. During this period personal exhibitions were almost annual, and each of them was an event. The last, posthumous exhibition in 1998 was entitled “Nine years of flight”.
Unexpected Rain

“Everything that is above and below is full of great coincidences” – this utterance of Maximilian Voloshin had given Zarubin a clue to his paintings of the last period. The universe is seen as a complicated structure of the heavenly and the earthly spaces which are growing into each other with infinite numbers of reflections, intersections and coincidences. These projections of the big onto the small, and the growing of the specific into universal became the basis of the artist’s vision. This is a principle of fractals: the plurality of entities, similar yet differently scaled comprise the unity of a gigantic branched structure.

The Star of Bethlehem

Zarubin discovered one of the most vivid natural forms symbolizing this principle: stone is a tangible manifestation of eternity. Its multi-millennial crystalline deposits formed the specific wealth and energy source of Perm region. By its geological biography, Perm is located above a gigantic crystal of salt, the prehistoric ocean bottom coming up to people through galaxies of semi-precious stones, minerals and jewels. In Solikamsk town (Perm region) Zarubin visited some mines and enjoyed fantastic patterns from the chronicles of the planet Earth, the aesthetic impressions arousing philosophical conception. Thus, intuitively, the artist found his manner of “organic painting”. His latest canvasses are jewel-like, with subtle gradations of colour and textures. This “mineralization” turns Zarubin’s painting into an infinite flow that fuses multitudes of fragmentary images and sensations into the initial continual omni-being.

Nikolai Zarubin

“Everyone has a star that flares up for them. The Star of Bethlehem appeared at the birth of Christ. A little personal star appears for each of us, and we are here to work hard to discover the essence of our inner self. It feels like we are wearing heavy diving suits here. Our feelings are limited by the three-dimensional space. There are certain restrictions our spirit has to overcome in order to find itself. If we go beyond the limits of time, space, and conventional thinking, then we reach our “Supreme Self” which transcends the three components.”

Nikolai Zarubin



Article by Olga Kholmogorova from the book “Nikolai Zarubin. Painting”

Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin

Tags: Russian artists     

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