TOTART: Natalia Abalakova & Anatoly Zhigalov

Anatoly Zhigalov


Life is posited between two opposing forces which manifest themselves in society and in nature, perceived in the duality of order and chaos, necessity and freedom, objective and subjective, the State and the individual. Together they create the dynamics of birth and development.

Art reflects the same duality, but in terms of myth and religion which restores to man his original wholeness and place in the Cosmos.

The artist’s advantage is a starting point in the absolute freedom of the creative impulse; the rest is material. The means of expression are determined by numerous social and cultural, biological and psychological factors. ‘Art’ on the one hand and ‘life’ on the other define the boundaries of the artist’s ‘field of action’. The centrifugal forces restrain the artist’s within the boundaries of tradition and guarantee that he will be understood. The centripetal forces (in effect the spirit of cognition) sweeps him beyond the boundaries of the acceptable and thus challenge the barrier between the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’, to finale become one with real life. In this sense art is something to be overcome and herein lies its eternal novelty: that in the course of overcoming art the artist gives birth to a self-developing system which evolves by the same principle as life itself.

Human consciousness has been fragmented by technological progress. The over development of the State has thrust the individual into the faceless and soulless hands of General and Necessary forces.

A ‘fabricated nature’ emerged to stand between man and nature itself. Above the individual and the human community rose the repressive state. Man, sucked into the current of time and history, has only habit to save him from its overwhelming pressure.

The artist, in his resistance to the insistent pressure of the ‘general’ intuitively destroys the fixed stereotypes of consciousness to open up new vistas. He shakes things up to provoke a re-appraisal of values. One thing only can help him look reality in the eye and that is the permanent revolution of the spirit.

To achieve this, the artist can choose from two strategies: either the exploration of unshakable universal structures or the live gesture of human spontaneity (represented by the polarities of Constructivism and Expressionism).

Only complete absorption in history allows us to truly see: that is, if man does not suffocate. But even those who survive cannot bear witness, for there, amongst the private and banal, the simplest and most original way may be revealed. Unless a seed first falleth to the ground and dies, it will not be born again. Death and oblivion aggressively oppose life and memory.


July 1989

(«Natalia Abalakova and Anatoly Zhigalov Zhigalov. Works 1961-1989». New Beginnings. Soviet Art in Glasgow 1989. Third Eye Gallery and E.V.Vuchetich Artistic Production Association )

TOTART about TOTART | TOTART: Actions, performances. Installations