Lysakov Art Company, PO Box 1706, Pebble Beach, CA 93953 - e-mail:


Ophrygian Flute

One is reminded of a story of Apollo and Marcion whenever he or she comes across Victor N. Lysakov’s art. It is the story of how Marcion has tried to outplay the divine Ciphered on a cane flute. Furious god of arts punished the courageous Marcion by stripping his skin. It is since those days that the skin of Marcion is stretched in a grotto in Phrygia. It dances every time the sound of flute is heard nearby but remains indifferent to the sounds of the harp.

This mythological tragedy was played out numerous times in the history of the arts. However, one can still come across this kind of bold courage even in our day and age.
I recall this story when I look at the paintings of Victor N. Lysakov not only because the theme of the flute is seen in a number of his paintings such as Pan (oil on canvas 1988), Flute Sunday (oil on canvas 1989), Melody for Flute and Fall (oil on canvas 1997) and countless others, but also because everything in the art of Lysakov is bold aspiration to recount the common plots in his own unique artistic language. These plots are commonly viewed as the shared experience of humanity and Lysakov shares these familiar stories in defiance of traditions of the past and discoveries of the present. Lysakov’s paintings are philosophic and artistic parables, filled with authentic imagery. Nevertheless, these paintings were birthed by a soul that is open and sensitive. You could say about this kind of soul that it has no skin. For it is the only way to be heard in our seemingly sophisticated age. That is why Lysakov’s art was noticed both in Russia and abroad. Numerous publications have swept the pages of newspapers and magazines since 1991. The critique and evaluation of his art became common for such reference books as Akoun and Mayer.

Lysakov surfaced in the art community of Moscow near the end of the eighties. He was an amateur artist and at the same time an energetic creator and participant of a vast amount of art groups, blocks and unions. He co-wrote manifestos and his exhibitions were successful throughout Europe. However, Lysakov was not a bright-eyed youthful lad. He had have already built one career before. He was a successful engineer who by the age of 30 had already obtained a Ph.D. in metallurgy. Metal and fire, one can only speculate that it is perhaps here that mythological and biblical motifs have entered the life of Lysakov. It was perhaps at this point in his life that he tried on the clothes of Demiurge.

This new beginning was not just a mere challenge to his destiny but starting from ground zero where he has attempted to declare a new dimension in the development of art theory. One cannot find any predecessors or mentors as is common for all of Lysakov’s peers. No one knows of his followers, only forgers. He enters his personal trial with a viewer. To this trial he brings a new vision and understanding of the all too familiar topics, be it Trinity (oil on canvas 1998), Judas’ Kiss (oil on canvas 1972), or Samson and Harlequin (oil on canvas 1989). He does not harness himself to famous allusions. He does not use notorious reminiscences or methods of avant-garde artists of the past.

One can not be indifferent to the art of Victor Lysakov. The unique paintings of Lysakov stir wonder, anxiety and at times even fears in the souls of his audience. The audience is caught by surprise when it realizes that even its deepest and most sacred feelings and thoughts are an open book for the artist. Lysakov owns the key to the most hidden parts of the soul of his viewer.

At times one can experience difficulty in understanding Lysakov’s art. One can see colors such as black or emerald. One can observe the charcoal circles of the heavenly bodies or thick background of burgundy, red or the deepest violet one could ever imagine, and yet nevertheless, this thick background is as light as air itself. The dramas of Lysakov’s paintings are played out by mannequins and faceless monsters. Yet these strangest of actors are so natural and believable in the roles they play. These motifs should by no means be considered a manifestation of the fact that the artist is not quite fluent in the language of art or that his artistic lexical treasury is to speak poor. May it never be! On the contrary Lysakov strives for the most accurate depiction of his emotions and experiences that were never before seen on canvas. Lysakov’s artistic language is very much akin to the poetic confusion of articulation of Alexander Block or to the tongue-tied novels of Andrei Platonov.

On Lysakov’s canvases one can find reflections of contemporary motifs and images, experiences so familiar to his audience to those they found in the films of Besson and Greenway, and perhaps even Federico Fellini. These are the kinds of experiences that the modern audience is painfully familiar with through its everyday life. These are the kind of experiences that whisper to the souls of individuals about the hardships and struggles of survival in today’s post-industrial society that is consumed with materialism. In order to truly feel this pain and to share it with others one must take off his skin.

N. M. Yurosovskaya
Chief executive researcher of the Modern Art department of Russian State
Tretyakov Gallery