Четверг, 29.06.2017, 08:40

Художник
Геннадий Добров
Artist Gennady Dobrov
(1937 - 2011)

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Аrtistic biography
1. Preface
2. Childhood
3. The artist in his own words
4. Moscow Secondary Art School (1951-1956)
5. Moscow V.I.Surikov Art Institute (1956-1962)
6. Life lessons (1962-1973)
7. The artist in his wife’s words
8. "Autographs of  War" (1974-1980)
9. The author’s point of view
10. The musings of the artist’s wife
11. Opinions

12. Painting (1980)
13. Perestroika (1986-1990)
14. The 90’s
15. Afghanistan (1989-2001)
16. "The Gallery of  Dead Martyrs" (1997)
17. "The Mentally Ill of Russia " (2002-2004)
18. The last years of  life (2004-2011)
19. Epilogue
20. Afterword
21. Brief artistic biography






17. "The Mentally ill people of Russia” (2002-2004).


«Unrepentant».
(36 years in prisons and hospitals
for the murder of his boss - state farm foreman)".
Omsk psychiatric hospital. 2002.

"Instructions father."
Omsk psychiatric hospital. 2002.

       In the early nineties the threat of eviction from the art studio in Stoleshnikov lane in which he had worked for 15 years already hang over Gennady. Several times they sent terrible preventions - to release the workshop within 2 weeks, disconnected heating. And they didn’t give a new one. Once he complained of his misfortunes to a good friend -psychiatrist. And he heard in reply: "Come to me to the hospital tomorrow morning. You will have a rest, will lie at us, will drink drugs, and you will forget for a while all the adversities. We will help you. While you stay in hospital, they won’t touch your  art studio".
       "Am I the patient, - thought the artist, - or this "new" life so changed me, that people have already taken me for the madman? But maybe, it is the Destiny pushes me there to look and paint that almost nobody ever sees. And if sees, that, hardly will draw. After all neither Fedotov, nor Vrubel  leave us the faces of their last friends - mentally ill people. And it is a pity. . ". So in 1993 in the "Moskovsky Hudozhnik” newspaper (of July 9 and 16) there was a sketch with Gennady Dobrov's drawing "On Poteshnaja, 3".
       Probably, there are subjects and images in human soul which disturb and torment him all his life. Often the images of our childhood mentally influence on our character, the attitude to the people around us.





Ministry of Health
of the Russian Federation



08.08.03


To the chief doctor
of the Volgograd psychiatric hospital specialized type with intensive supervision -
 T. Kuznetsova.




Volgograd region
Kamyshin district,
the village "Dvorjanskoe”.


Dear Tatyana Alekseevna!

     The department of the psychoneurological help convincingly asks you to render assistance to the deserved artist of the Russian  Gennady Dobrov in creation of the graphic series of drawings under the conditional name "Russian Psihochroniki".
    We ask, at opportunity, to render assistance in placement of the artist Dobrov G. M. in the territory of the Volgograd PBSTIN.
     Earlier Dobrov G. M. successfully carried out similar work in psychiatric hospitals of Omsk, Kostroma, Kaliningrad, Amur, Jewish and Magadan areas.



Yours faithfully,
Head of department

 
 
A.Karpov




      The post-war country in which the future artist started to form, was occupied by the people who were little similar to the modern one; as often happens that a little person is not similar to himself in his childhood, youth and in old age. Could we not lose our mind at those deprivations, fear, "pokhoronka” (news about death), at those sufferings in which people lived for long 5 years?
      The future artist in the windows of Omsk psychiatric hospital saw them in the far childhood. He often reflected: "The war is everything: quarrel, treachery of relatives, humiliation, undeserved insult - everything that we, full and educated, create with each other, breaking all the "precepts", passing all the "borders".  
     In the Kostroma psychiatric hospital the artist drew Tamara who knows only one pose - an embryo pose, a pre-natal pose in a belly of mother. She is in hospital for 56 years. She isn't wounded, not contused. She was the cheerful rural laugher. Who could offend her SO, that she has only one desire - to hide from the world, not to see and to hear anybody


      Over the series "The Mentally ill people of Russia” Gennady worked from 2002 to 2004. The first drawings were made in Omsk, in psychiatric hospital on the 1st line where he lived with his parents after the war. Then he drew in hospitals in Kostroma and in Kaliningrad, in Blagoveshchensk and in Birobidzhan, in Magadan, in Kamyshin, in Kazan, in Syktyvkar...
      " The Mentally ill people of Russia” series has something in common with "War of Autographs". But if in the first series of the artist, were not only war victims, but also the wounded heroes, here the victims are all.



      "... The grey-bearded person entered the room, humble shape more reminding the wanderer, than the master, whose works gained wide popularity. He opened an impressive format folder and began one by one to show the drawings. Made in pencil, they possessed such a magic that heart - clenched the people offended by God, looked from the sheets, appealing to favor. I felt the same shock in my youth when I saw "Kaprichos" by immortal Goya for the first time. But Goya drew the infernalny world, and Dobrov draws from life, erecting it up to the height of a bible parable. It proceeds today nearby, but we cowardly pretend that we don't suspect about its existence...
     Why he, talented and highly educated, chose the so tearing soul  subject, I didn't ask him about it. Probably, such real creators are to be, who force over the bases and make us to look at the world by other eyes. They advance time in the search so recognition comes to them with delay. Creating masterpieces which are estimated subsequently by the fabulous sums, often they are doomed to poverty, if, of course, to consider as poverty a certain set of material benefits...
     Is creativity of Gennady Dobrov demanded?  Yes, it is.  Because the compassion to which his  works of art appeal, induces to mercy.  And the world needs it today".

Ekaterina Kuzemko.
"The Magadan Truth"
July 18, 2003.




"Separate сhambers for scabies homeless people". 
 Kostroma psychiatric hospital.
2002


"Here we all sit on Article 102 - murder". 
Kazan medium security psychiatric
hospital intensive tracking.
2003.


«A letter to parents to Chukotka from their daughter, whom they have long since abandoned».
 Magadan psychiatric hospital.
2003.


"Orpheus descending to hell..."

      " The Mentally ill people of Russia" is so unusually called  a series of drawings of the Moscow artist Gennady Mikhaylovich Dobrov. At once after the exit it drew attention - despite the medical term - the most "motley" audience - not only by amazing skill of the author, but by his special attitude towards the chosen subject. Some years of work - 50 portraits, the whole gallery of the inhabitants of the provincial mental hospitals, district "grief houses"...
      Whoever saw these works - the doctor, the colleague artist, the militaryman or the rural person, the inhabitant or the intellectual - he will find in them something important for himself and he undoubtedly becomes a little another person, a little more human, conscientious, wise.
      Certainly, Dobrov is not the first in this "extreme" subject. There is not and was not, evidently, a big artist who doesn’t reflect on the tragedy of madness. Bosch, Brueghel, Goya, Van-Gogh... - here some of the brightest names.
      Fools on the medieval paintings, angry, ugly, pity; madmen in the German, French, Spanish painting; "dream of reason" - yesterday and today...
      For a simple person a soul illness – is a tightly boarded dark room where it is better not to look to, a nightmare, the most terrible of executions.
      For the artist - an occasion to ask the most formidable questions to himself, to his time and – to God.  
      To this series Dobrov got ready through all his life.
      Here – the impressions of the Omsk childhood, very first, just a boyish plan and - the last project of his life; here – a qualitatively new step on his unusual artist's way.
      A silent cozy art-studio in the ancient area of Moscow, with a overgrown garden, with a big pear-tree showering fruits in autumn, with a whole team of cats and a noisy husky Martha, - this is almost an idyllic monastery where faithful Margarita, the wife and the first assistant in works, always waited for the Master, irreplaceable Lyusya, - was the temporary "port of registry" of the artist.
      He always somewhere went, or gathered, or had already come back and to start considering new expedition. And it is interesting: for many years of our communication I have never heard that Dobrov created something by request. It seems that he received orders from the Lord God.  
      From Afghanistan the artist has brought the series which has stunned the Muscovites by the works the drawn under attacks, on the streets of the ruined cities, in the hospitals and on the roads; his "The Afghan Diaries" are still waited for the publisher.
     He broke in the refugee camps when people ran from there, he could spend hours to draw in the thrown barracks of the concentration camps of the World War II - and came back home with lots of drawings and traveling records.
      With the beard like Tolstoi, simply, almost poorly dressed, he went, as having the power, there, where the mighty of this world has no pass - and all the doors mysteriously opened before him.
      Certainly, Dobrov is one of the best draftsmen of his time; in 1997 he "was nominated to the State Award; his works were exposed in the most prestigious halls of Moscow; the authority of the artist is indisputable in the chosen by him sphere. Still a step – another one, and he could make a brilliant career of the «court artist», but it would be anyone, only not Dobrov.
      He - like a vibrating string, set up by someone once and for all on the one  tormenting  note of a pain and suffering.
      And whatever occurred around, whatever bases were unsteady, governors changed, wars stormed or peace descended on the earth - Dobrov wrote his enormous chronicle of grief, and did it   a l w a y s.

      Omsk, Kostroma, Kaliningrad, Blagoveshchensk, Birobidzhan, Magadan, Kamyshin - "a coolest route" of the artist this time, the Russian "grief houses", provincial mental hospitals...
      There are two incomprehensible secrets which equally attract and frighten: Death and Madness; because, practically, it is one secret.
      In madness as in death, there is no category of time - here forever "31 martobrja". It is "Elizium of shadows" which, apparently, existed from a century and always raised the central question: is madness the area of Existence, or - is the non-Existence? Or, what is more exact and more terrible – the area outside of  Genesis?
      From chamber - to chamber, from  camera - to camera, from one prison insulator to another one – the artist Dobrov goes to these "the forgotten settlements", listening to, as the great Florentine, terrible and shrill confessions, looking into the faces of people, as if alive entered in the Book of Dead.
      In «The Mentally ill people of Russia» series there are 50 drawings - portraits, sketches of everyday life, the whole gallery of characters, destinies, diagnoses... He worked with a pencil, quickly, densely, in a mode of "a front strip", and at once - clean, in the style of the old realistic school.
      In general, by nature, Dobrov - is the deepest realist. He shouldn't "disorganize" a form, build something new, unusual in colors and forms. He has another task.
      The world is fantastic for Dobrov especially in its extreme points: wars, madnesses, crimes, - in those extreme conditions where there is a constant feeling of a thin side between life and death.



"Letters from home. Tears of a psychopath".
Kaliningrad strict regime psychiatric hospital.
2002.


"Penitents killers."
Kamishyn strict regime psychiatric hospital intensive tracking.
2003.


      Laconic records - explanations to the portraits of the mentally ill people imperceptibly turn into the short stories, as a spring squeezed, collisions of the unwritten novels.
      What passions burn down these souls!
      Here is the abandoned Romeo eternally waiting his Farida, and there - "the prisoner of honor", brutally revenged for old, still children's, humiliation, here is a 40-year-old girl with Down grieving for "father-scoundrel", there - "spouses" eternally in love from a female chamber of chronically ill, "a fighter for truth” - the "Aryan" who has forever got confused in the prison corridors, the Yakut girl dreaming of the native land... Their clinical records fit into one or two words, deafening, as the death sentence: "is betrayed", "is thrown", "is deceived", "is scolded", "is mutilated", "is almost killed".
      On our eyes there is the origin of absolutely new art - documentary genre. There is a search - on a joint of the fine arts, literature, science – of a modern language, trying to say that is hidden from eyes, is locked behind seven seals, the language adequate to the scale of this reality.
      Pain, fear, despair, rage, tenderness - everything is naked, brought to the extreme degree and - at once stood in one point where there is no movement, there is no time - their place is occupied by "one motionless idea", as from Pushkin Germann.
     As if the house where the light burned yesterday, live voices and the laughter was heard, and today everybody left it and, who knows, whether people will return there? As in the sick Tamara's unsolved history who is sitting on the chair, having drawn her feet, having densely captured the head that nobody and nothing to see, and so – for 56 years...
     According to Dobrov the soul illness - is a strange intermediate space nor yet death, and not live areas. Here - the terrible tension of the immovability, that makes the main torment of the sufferer.  
      ... The person alive, the person dead; the patient spoiled, fallen, gone mad, destroyed by a torment of  inexpressible pain. Pain in these walls - and in the drawings of the master - the main thing making the person, his main feature and a sign of Life. Where is pain – there is the place of people alive.
      Only Orpheus, only Dante dare to descend to the country of the Dead; it is allowed to the artist to look for the person where he, maybe, not present.
      To pass these twilight spaces, force and fearlessness of not an ordinary person is necessary: superforce, and maximum of fearlessness, a special, method is necessary.
      This special method of the master is very simple, but it isn't either transfer or copying. It it a gift you’ve born with. Dobrov's method is his ability to the greatest compassion.  His path - the path of the  selfless ascetic, you can’t teach it, as you can’t teach holiness.
      He cries over every living person, in each finding the wreckage of some grand design, and in this sense each of his works is also a prayer.
      The loneliness of the forgotten, the lost, the desperate comes to the end in his portraits, in short stories - parables – as the world, at last, have heard their pain.
      The trees and high herbs are swaying when the artist sees off to old mortuary of the hospital  unfortunate deceased person whom he drew just yesterday. He  alone sees off him, and mourns, and it seems that the nature mourns together with him. Who knows whom the earth leaves now who have  suffered, perhaps, for all the living people…


T.Nikitina, screenwriter, literary critic,
member of trade-union committee
of the Moscow playwrights


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