Mental journey

Ivan S. Čujkov – Variante I–XII

Ivan S. Čujkov, Variante XI, from the series Variante I–XII, 1978, photographs, alkyd enamel, hard boards, 12 parts, each 84 x 127 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, photo: Carl Brunn

Travelling? At that time, only works of art could do so, but not their creators. As soon as a first relaxation of the Iron Curtain was tangible, already presentations of unofficial Soviet art took place – in 1976 in London and Paris, in 1977 at the Dissident Biennial in Venice – among them works by Ivan S. Čujkov from the circle of nonconformists around Steinberg, Pivovarov, and Kabakov. 

Čujkov copied the template for the series Variante I–XIIa black and white postcard from the Baltic Sea, twelve times, enlarged it, and painted over it in color, with cartographic characters such as hachures, colored the sky deep blue or created openings to idyllic motifs such as a sunset or trees. Naturalistic photography, abstract painting, unicum and series, excerpt and panorama, realism and illusion are the determinants of the image of the unbound nature.