The Sculptor as an Endangered Species

The very first brief glance at Andrey Ostashov’s sculptures will suffice to understand that their author has a perfect sense, primarily of the line, into which he embeds the volume and the shape. Overall, he is an audacious artist, belonging to the long endangered, but still existing breed of aesthetes and philosophers. For more than a century now, concept, provocation, and negation of mandatory beauty have dominated the world of mainstream art. But for our hero, beauty is indispensable and inherent. As a man, he is composed, harsh, and laconic, but his sculptures are exquisite, tender, and they flutter under the gaze of spectators, they are filled with live sensuality. Actually, this approach is absolute archaism; this sentimentality in visual arts has long been condemned and rejected, anathematized by art critics. This notwithstanding, talent has no stereotypes. The sincerity and integrity of the author captivate and makes you muse – about the habits of perception, about “beauty” in art, and, finally, about the idea that the master has materialized in his work – so complex, multidimensional, and precious.

 

As they reflect on Ostashov’s sculptures, art experts and spectators refer to the aesthetics of the East and the West, the depth of implications of ancient epics and myths, and the combination of all of these complex and multilayered stories in works of the contemporary Belarusian sculptor. However, a sculptor is, first and foremost, the creator of the form and line, an expert on bronze and stone, a creator of surface and volume. These are his principal ideas and his main words. His language is unique and powerful, and he is responsible for what his viewer will hear. Everything else also matters – the young daughters, who are protected by his icons, ancient myths, from which his stories and faces originate, virtuoso sculpting techniques, and culture of casting… As you go on about Andrey Ostashov’s work, one cannot but focus on this, very significant quality of his art – his professional culture. It is manifested in every aspect – the design of his workshop, his manner of speaking, his conduct, the clarity of his drawings, the subtlety of his sculpting, the thoroughness of his casting, and exquisite tinting of the surface. And also in the design of presentation and exhibition – which demonstrate his respect for himself, his work and the audience. Andrey Ostashov is probably the last representative of a rare breed.

 

Elena Tyunina

Ph.D. in History of Arts