Aleksander Kharitonov


Aleksander Kharitonov
Personal website of the artist

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      Lost, but not forgotten

      Pillars of Kronos


      Memoirs of Jerusalem

      Hills of Jerusalem


      The Lonely Corsair


      Red Safari

      Dream with Irises

      Irenic Noon



      The City of Rose Rocks

Invariable Array Is Connecting Everything in the World...

      Quite successful and demanded as an architect, in early 90s surprisingly for many, Kharitonov changed the vector of his creative application, having made up his mind to devote himself to his old-established and inappeasable passion – painting – the raging heat of which had been agitating for many years. In 1993, his first personal exhibition was held in the Artist’s House in Kuznetsky most. It was immediately followed by recognition and success.

      Once in a conversation an art critic, quite esteemed by me, said: “Who may be astonished by beauty of graphic spot or preciseness of drawing? Contemporary art is primarily conceptual. What is important is idea. Artist’s gesture”.

      Quite probable. But the problem is that many present-day exhibitions fitting into the mainstream, have very little to do with … art. Conceptual ideas remain a sui generis play for those initiated, not touching the spectators. However, there’s commercial art, to put it in a different way, “art of presentation”, rather ambiguous by its ideological and art characteristics, because such art is merely a stage property for our interiors. It only remains to regret, that idea of art as of a dream, as of “incomplete beauty” is fading away. That’s why, it’s so pleasant to meet an artist, whose creativity, in all its depth and conceptuality, is fascinating with its aesthetic and to put it more precisely, with poetical beauty.

      Beauty is more picturesque than the canvas surface – this is the first thing which comes to the front when you see Aleksander Kharitonov’s works for the first time. Painting in all fairie radiance of colors strikes us, not allowing to pass by casting a bored glance.

      The first impression is abstraction. Very beautiful and harmonious by its coloristic solution. Sometimes, it’s described as lyric or expressive. First, spectator’s eye embraces the canvas on the whole, then it starts wandering further and further, going into depths. Out of seemingly occasional bunching of strokes and lines the image is formed, which is dissipated at the next moment, while spots give rise to a new combination – a new image. It’s an endless chain of transformations. The painting is breathing, pulsating. The spectator is as if involved in the stream of consciousness, hardly being able to note new and new images. Flower petal is transformed into a butterfly’s wing, butterfly’s wing – thin and fragile – dissimulates in its transparency, leaving memory thereof in new-arising petal.

      A sumptuous bouquet of semi-fantastic flowers-creatures.... An artist uses pure unclouded colors. Even earth (“Transformation”, South idyll”) is colored with superfine gradations of pure paints – like red, yellow and white clays. Primitive painters took the first colors from the earth. In Aleksander Kharitonov’s works, the flowers upsprang in the earth, dissolving into components like solar spectrum. The Earth endowed them with beauty and they return this beauty to them, coloring it with bright carpet. At the same time, these bouquets are like splashes. This sensation significantly emerges not only due to compositional and coloristic orchestration, but resulting from changing character of the stroke — tender, transparent, at the periphery of the canvas, where mild gradations and fusions of colors give rise to iridescent extravaganza, but gradually, as they come closer to the energetic centre, brush touches are becoming more and more energetic – multi-colored array sparkling and opalescing like precious stones placers. Place of explosion, the first cause, as if reminding of the legendary Big Bang, life originated from. Endlessly expanding Universe.

      This is a primordial Chaos, fraught with Cosmos. This is an inexhaustible depository of opportunities, forms, when the slightest change gives rise to a new silhouette. Impetuosity, movement in debacle of abstraction and then a pause – a town or a village getting lost in dense vegetation – either reality or mirage. Phantom cities. «Memoirs of Jerusalem». This is not the city itself, but an image of it, its genetic memory: at a certain moment the canvas starts reminding of a piece of ancient rubbed parchment, preserving the traces of old writing. But the artist “wrote” this letter with architectural fantasies – old constructions, bleeding through the extravaganza of coloristic strokes, forming bouquets of exquisite colors. Arabesques of thin dry grasses and branchlets, as if covering with cobweb of time what fell in oblivion. But the visions shine through this cobweb, disrupting the veil of oblivion, obtaining eternity. So, by means of artistic tools, the present is intertwined with the past, as if they are present at the same moment. The realm of ideas and material world coexist.

      In drawings of architectural fantasies sophisticated filigree writing is combined with rich expressive painting – making a strange harmony, based on conflict. Superfine color fusions — and their collisions. Agitating red, mischievous green, bottomless depth of blue and kingly radiance of yellow, sparkling like icon frame gold — «I saw the distances flashing in the Sun’s rays”. Heat and cold, tenderness and aggression, up-to-the-minute and eternal. Elements and order. Feeling and reason. All this is melted in inseparable unity of opposites.

      In Confrontation you can see winter and summer, life and death. With sumptuous bouquet of stranger flowers the shrub has broken through the cover of non-existence, exploded white dumbness. Everything, touched by spurts of flame arising from its petals, filled with life, swirled and sky-rocketed, bringing forth polyphony to the solemn quietness of the Space.… And the round dance of transformations started spinning. You see either the flowers, or birds, or smart sprites, or a blade of grass turning into the tree. A head of some animal emerged out of spots, an eye looked out of the petal. And maybe, this is merely a play of imagination, like one can see his/her future destiny in the occasional configuration of coffee residual matter?

      In this fragile kaleidoscope of occasional elements one can perceive fragility of all our ambit and what we are – of feelings and the World, the mystery of which will be never unriddled either empirically, or through logical reasonings. In Kharitonov’s works there is no flesh (even in those where the paints are loaded), there’s only spirit. There’s only thought, only feeling, giving rise to image, as fragile and illusive as feeling itself. Incessant guessing, enigmas without answers… And knowledge of the way.

      “Adam” embodies the primeval beauty of land. It refers to the times, when nobody had an idea of death. Evil hasn’t interfered into the world. To the time, when there’s no bloodshed. Before the original sin. It’s the beginning of human life. Disposition of Providence.

      Let’s take Wild hunting. It embodies abruptness and ruthlessness, unavoidability of death and hope for salvation. Exploded quietness. Only the locks are flying, but these locks are the birds who survived. Or is it – a struggle of flowers and birds? As if it were a mussy shrub of white flowers and birds, flying apart in dismay. So who is hunting whom? It seems as if folly overwhelmed everyone, breaking harmony.

      It happens so with many Kharitonov’s works that along with all harmony of coloristic combinations, they have nothing to do with quietness, like restless human spirit.

      The Birth of Prophet. Abrupt light flash, illuminating everything around. Prophet is light, making see everything, which is concealed shamefacedly.

       «The Lonely Corsair» — is a tireless pilgrim, who is a stranger to quietude. He’s eternally driven forward by his dream. What is his dream about? Maybe of Poseidon’s Isle? Fabulous Kitezh, miraculous isle, a dream, memory is irresistibly carried to through all the cataclysms. And somewhere, over far — «Bethlehem» -away city the star of “Bethlehem” is rising. Divining the track (the stages of ascension) the glance is uprushing. Christmas and presentiment of tragedy. The star, born in Bethlehem, got lost among the («The Hills of Jerusalem»).Jerusalem – is a city-man. It’s the city crowned with nimbus.

      In 1911 Wassily Kandinsky wrote his famous philosophical and theoretical work Concerning the Spiritual in Art.

      How to express the spiritual? Most often it happens through abstraction, through deliverance from everything which can remind of our earthly life, from any hints to reality. But Kharitonov’s abstraction has nothing to do with abstracting from reality. This is a different reality, the artistic principles of which correlate with principles of a well-known empathy theory. Reality of thoughts, dreams, fantasies. Subtle mental substance. Spiritual travels to the depths of memory. This is the subtlest reality of psychic responses and impulses which is inexpressible in words.

«It’s impossible to express archaic mental procs in words… ». They may be exprd only in music or in brush’s touch to the canvas.

      Is it abstraction? Yes. But in Aleksander Kharitonov’s painting avant-garde “utopia” of eternal searches of novelty is dying, but its plastic heritage is preserved, still nourished by its expressive capabilities. Is it expressionism? Yes. As soon as these canvases are an indifferent conversation of the artist. They reveal his pain, his sufferings, his joy. Feelings, splashed to the canvas, pulsating in the rhythm of lines, sometimes making a cobweb, through which passion is breaking through. This is sophisticated and exquisite expressionism in the Arts Community way. In architectural fantasies one can guess reminiscences of the 17th-18th centuries’ landscapes. But these landscapes are not chamber, because there’s too much space in them. The range of associations is expanded due to intensified attention to artistic heritage, to cultural past. This ambiguity adds third dimension and complexity of articulation to the artist’s works.

      What nurtures Aleksander Kharitonov’s creativity is not only historical and artistic, but also panhuman superpositions, constituting cultural territory the artist lives in. Such works as The Sun of Scythians are rather symbols of culture, of its multi-layered character, expressing the destiny of cultural values in contemporary world.

Liya Adashevskaya