FAERIE INTERFUSION OF PAINT AND CANVAS
The name of Stanislav Babikov is well-known to art admirers not only in Turkmenistan but far beyond the country. His works occupy an important place in the history of fine arts of the sixties and seventies of the last century.
He was born in 1934 to the family of the Ashgabat painter, one of the founders of the industrial landscape genre Gennady Fedorovich Babikov. Seeing the best works of the world classics since his early childhood, having inherited from his family an in-depth understanding of the technique of drawing and painting, he got into the Leningrad Secondary Art School (now the St. Petersburg State Academic Art Lyceum) at the age of fourteen at his father’s insistence. He continued professional education at the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I.E. Repin, studied at the art workshop of Professor Iosif Serebryany, who did a lot to develop Babikov’s talent.
Babikov Jr. began to exhibit his paintings at exhibitions of Turkmen fine art already as a student. His works were noted for the richness and expressiveness of colors that were emphasized by the materiality of everything depicted on his paintings.
Ten years that he spent in Leningrad had a huge influence on the novice master. He was fortunate to study the original works by Serov, Vrubel, Korovin, Konchalovsky and other outstanding masters of painting. He was also lucky that paintings by the impressionists and post-impressionists were exhibited for the first time in the USSR. They were his great teachers. It was from them that Stanislav Babikov adopted the plastic techniques of expressiveness of color and the skill of composition, forming his own aesthetic program.
When Stanislav returned to Ashgabat after graduation, his new works in his homeland immediately attracted attention. One of his early works “In the old carpet workshop” was created in 1960. It depicts squatting craftswomen who work on a loom. The painter is charmed by their clothes, jewelry. He presented the diversity of colors of red scarves and silver rains of carnelian and gilded items on women, skeins of yellow, brown, scarlet wool. All this is incredibly beautiful, and all this is true. It was really how the carpets were born.
The landscape painting “Winter Vineyards” seems to have no sun. It seems to wander somewhere in the misty sky, warming the snow and filling the vines with pink juice. However, the vines do not seem to be in a trouble, because there is nothing cold in the snow that looks like something fluffy and warm. Babikov discerned gentle and warm colors in the harsh Karakum nature, and he generously shared it with people. “Winter Vineyards” most vividly presents the subtle, lyrical soul of the artist-painter. The landscape painting is one of Babikov’s crucial works. Soft lyricism, freedom and plasticity of painting and, most importantly, the mood of light and transparent sadness, reminiscent of Pushkin’s verse, adds a special spiritual meaning to this beautiful painting.
Babikov’s another painting “Grape Harvest” received a prize at the All-Union Exhibition for the originality of the artistic solution. The pastoral plot and upbeat painting, temperamental brushstrokes, contrast of color combinations (dark red with blue, green with ocher-yellow) generate joyful poetic feelings. The painter conveyed the colorful richness of the world in deep saturated tones that flare up unexpectedly loudly and cleanly.
In the seventies, Stanislav Babikov resolutely abandoned any inventing in his works, replacing it with something else, i.e. a sense of poetic fusion of man and nature. In the autumn days of 1971, the streets of Moscow were hung with billboards for the exhibition “On the Land of Turkmenistan” that took place in the halls of the State Museum of Arts of the Peoples of the East. These billboards featured seven talented Turkmen painters, one of whom was Stanislav Babikov. This exhibition caught the eye of many art critics and art admirers, and the exhibitors were called “The Magnificent Seven”. The 1971 exhibition presented the works by brilliant creative individuals. It brought a fresh stream to the artistic life of the country. As the famous graphic artist, academician Dmitry Bisti wrote, “Seven names. Seven pairs of wide open, attentive eyes looking at their land. Seven artists bringing beauty. Seven people trying to understand the truth...”
Stanislav Babikov can be called the singer of the colorful wealth of the world. Possessing an outstanding coloristic gift, the painter achieved high pictorial results in his best works. He deeply felt nature and was able to convey its smallest transitions and shades of different states of nature. He knew how to admire the dazzling sun streaming through the foliage of the trees, making the Turkmen girls’ scarlet dresses blaze. A special sensitivity to understanding nature helped the artist to correctly convey the character of what he saw in his numerous trips abroad.
Looking at the canvases created by the master in just twenty years of artistic maturity, one naturally feels bitterness because of the fact that he was given so little time. Although Stanislav Babikov is no longer with us for a long time, one feels happy that people can enjoy such wealth. His life was not in vain. Looking at his paintings, one understands that having seen a lot in his short life, he became a full-fledged painter exactly in Turkmenistan, having fallen in love with all his soul with this native land under the fierce sun, its people, cities and villages, pomegranate groves and the Caspian wave, Karakum dunes and vineyards in the Kopetdag valleys.
The People’s Artist of Turkmenistan, sculptor Saragt Babayev created a bronze bust (delicate, heartfelt, lyrical image) in memory of the outstanding master. Another master, Kakadzhan Oraznepesov, depicted Babikov in a group portrait of the famous Ashgabat “Seven”. The work on this painting began in Stanislav’s lifetime in 1976, and it was completed six months after his death at the end of 1977. Separate portraits of Stanislav Babikov in different years were painted by his friends, people’s artists Durdy Bayramov and Kulnazar Bekmuradov.
However years have passed, the painter lives with us through his canvases, the heat of colors that seem to absorb his warmth, preserve his breath, feelings and thoughts. Stanislav Babikov naturally received recognition in his lifetime, became even more famous after his death, and yet for some reason it seems that this name has yet to gain fame befitting his talent.