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Article

Syrian, 20th century, male.

Born 1934, in Hama.

Painter. Figures, scenes with figures. Stage sets.

Symbolism.

Group of Ten.

Khouzayma Alwani trained at the academy of fine art in Rome in 1957 and received his diploma as a theatre artist in 1964. In 1973, he was awarded another diploma, this time from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He has been Professor at the school of fine arts in Damascus since ...

Article

V. Rakitin

[Georges] (Pavlovich)

(b Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan, July 23, 1889; d Paris, July 18, 1974).

Russian painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He studied at the University of St Petersburg (later Petrograd) in 1908 and in the private studio of Savely Zeidenberg (1862–1924). In 1909–10 he attended the studio of Yan Tsyonglinsky (1850–1914) in St Petersburg, where he became acquainted with the avant-garde artists Yelena Guro (1877–1913), Mikhail Matyushin and Matvey Vol’demar (1878–1914). In 1911–12 he worked in the studios of Maurice Denis and Félix Vallotton in Paris, then in Switzerland (1913) before returning to St Petersburg. As a painter he was a modernist, and his work developed rapidly towards abstraction, although he did not adhere to any particular branch of it. His works of the time use various devices of stylization and decorativeness, and some of them echo the free associations of Marc Chagall, but fundamentally they remain geometrically based compositions. In 1919–20 he made a series of abstract sculptural assemblages and a great number of abstract collages....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(b Djadjur, Akhuryan district, July 20, 1928; d Erevan, Feb 24, 1975).

Armenian painter and stage designer . He studied at the Institute of Theatre and Art in Erevan (1952–4), as well as at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) from 1954 to 1960. He benefited from the advice of the Armenian painter, Martiros Saryan, but developed a style of his own, with an intense use of colour similar to that of Fauvism. The influence of Armenian medieval art is strongly apparent in his landscapes, self-portraits and scenes of peasant life, for example Baking Lavash (1972; Erevan, Pict. Gal. Armenia). His work combines an uncommon and expressive richness of colour with a dramatic monumentality of composition. He had a one-man show in Erevan in 1962 and another in Moscow in 1969. In 1972 his studio was burnt down and a large number of his canvases destroyed. He was also a stage designer, producing designs, for example, for sets for Aram Khachaturian’s ballet ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Riga, Sept 6, 1943).

Latvian painter, stage designer and graphic designer. After a childhood spent in Siberian exile, he studied decorative art and trained as a painter in the Latvian Art Academy (1963–72), preparing for a career as a stage designer. Stage design and the applied arts were less constrained by Socialist Realist dictates during the 1970s, and he quickly became one of Latvia’s most innovative artists. His fluency with process art and installation, for example, was already evident in his designs for a 1973 Riga production of Žanna d’Arka (Joan of Arc) by Andrej Upīts, the stage metamorphosing from Minimalist cavity to an assemblage in Arte Povera style. Abandoning the theatre in 1987, Blumbergs continued his prolific output. His compositions, sometimes abstract, often figurative and allegorical, are notable within Latvian art for their spare elegance and uncontrived expressiveness, successfully combining grand literary allusion and subtle metaphysical content. His graphic virtuosity earned him a degree of international celebrity rare among his Latvian peers. Exceptional, too, for his political candour, he was a harbinger of ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1 May 1916, in Hanoi, Vietnam; died 1988.

Painter, engraver (wood/copper), illustrator. Murals, designs for mosaics, stage costumes and sets, posters, comic strips, decorative designs, medals, postage stamps.

After studying at the school of fine arts in Hanoi in 1935...

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1980.

Born 7 October 1939, in Shanxi.

Painter, draughtsman, screen printer, illustrator. Figures, scenes with figures, landscapes, landscapes with figures, flowers. Postage stamps, murals.

Ding Shaoguang studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in ...

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Born 1944.

Painter, decorative artist. Landscapes. Stage sets.

Duan Zhenzhong graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1964. He is currently chief set designer of the Beijing Film Studio. In 1989, he won the Coq d’Or for best set design....

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 4 January 1940, in Ganzhou (Jiangxi Province).

Painter, draughtsman, writer, illustrator. Stage sets.

The Nobel-prizewinning writer Gao Xingjian was a painter even before becoming a novelist, essayist, dramatist and director. He studied painting at Nanjing under the painter Yu Yungzhong. Then, in ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Vladimir] (Davidovich)

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], March 30, 1896; d Tbilisi, July 20, 1980).

Georgian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and stage designer. From 1910 to 1914 he trained at the Tiflis School of Painting and Sculpture and from 1919 to 1926 at the Académie Ronson in Paris. While in Paris he became closely acquainted with Modigliani, Ignacio Zuloaga, Natal’ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. His early works, with their theatrically romantic depictions of Georgian national life, fantastic and Symbolist motifs and surreal effects of colour, combine elements of the grotesque with a charming poetic mystery (e.g. the ‘Tsotskhali’ Fish, 1920; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.). His affinity with ancient Georgian and Persian art, of which he was a connoisseur, intensified on his return to Georgia in 1926; his colours became shimmering and tinged with gold, and, at the same time, the visual link with theatre became even stronger (many of his paintings have opera or ballet performances as their subjects or portray actresses in costume). He frequently depicted fantastic and mythological subjects (e.g. ...

Article

Melissa Chiu

(b Quanzhou, Dec 8, 1957).

Chinese installation artist. Cai studied at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, completing his degree in stage design in 1985. He is best known for ephemeral, large-scale explosion-works using gunpowder—a medium he began to experiment with in China and often explained as a childhood reference to witnessing skirmishes between China and Taiwan along what was known as the Fujian Front.

In the 1980s, he applied gunpowder to canvas, which he then lit to create bold, charred designs. When Cai emigrated to Japan in 1986, he began to use gunpowder for environmental installations. Since 1989 he called these works Projects for Extraterrestrials. Cai believed that most explosions visible from space have been related to war, and that his work sends a non-violent message. A good example is The Horizon from the Pan Pacific: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 14 (1994), executed off the coast of Iwaki, a small town in Japan, where Cai installed a 5000-metre trail of gunpowder in the ocean that illuminated the horizon. The work evoked the experience of living in this small fishing village, where the ocean is a central part of everyday life. Such a conceptually charged, yet rudimentary application of gunpowder, characterizes Cai’s works created in Japan....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 6 May 1928, in Arashiyara (Kyoto).

Painter, draughtsman, engraver. Murals, stage sets.

Action painting.

Toshimitsu Imai studied literature and philosophy extensively before devoting himself to art. Staying in Paris from 1951 to 1962, he studied for a few months in 1957 at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1951, he was awarded the prize for young painters at the Tokyo salon, and in 1983 he was appointed an officer of the order of arts and letters. In 1957, Imai took part in the demonstrations Georges Mathieu organised in Paris on the anniversary of the conviction of the medieval thinker Siger de Brabant....

Article

Japanese, 18th century, male.

Painter.

Ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world).

Ando Kaigetsudo and the school that he founded, and to which he gave his name, belong to the ‘primitive’ stage of the ukiyo-e movement. The pictures produced by the school were predominantly of beautiful women about town; they were mass-produced and have a particularly stylised look about them, which adds a boldness to the rhythmic movement of their sumptuous robes. Such pictures would become the stock-in-trade of later ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Nestorovich)

(b Kukhi, nr Kutaisi, Aug 20, 1889; d Tbilisi, May 10, 1952).

Georgian painter, collagist, stage designer and film maker. He was born into a peasant family and studied from 1909 to 1916 in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the University of St Petersburg. From 1910 to 1915 he also studied painting and drawing in the studio of L. Ye. Dmitriyev-Kavakazsky (1849–1916). With Pavel Filonov he became a member of the St Petersburg artistic group Intimnaya Masterskaya (The Intimate Studio). The group’s manifesto (1914) proclaimed the beginning of a new era in art, awarded a central importance to Filonov’s principle of sdelannost’ (‘madeness’) and drew attention to the fundamental structural principles of artistic language. The manifesto was one of the most original developments of the pre-revolutionary avant-garde in Russia.

Kakabadze was an outstanding representative of the artistic avant-garde in Georgia. In his work innovation was always combined with a deep interest in Georgian national traditions, on which he was an expert. He studied medieval Georgian ornament while still a student, and in ...

Article

Karkou  

Syrian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1 January 1908, in Aleppo.

Painter, draughtsman. Stage sets.

Musicalism (the attempt to interpret music in painting).

Karkou exhibited together with the artists of the musical group of Henri Valensi, who practised an abstraction based on the correspondences between graphic rhythms, coloured scales and music....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1970.

Born 4 October 1944, in Kyoto.

Painter (including gouache), engraver, draughtsman, sculptor, installation artist. Figures. Stage sets.

Akihiko Kuroda studied art history but then abandoned painting until 1974. In 1985 he founded the magazine Noise. He lives and works in Paris. His work is very free, born out of spontaneity; his forms seem to spring to life from his line. Influenced by Chinese calligraphy, his early works have delicate graffiti or stabbing signs against dark backgrounds. He works with great economy of means, creating incisive figures and frozen silhouettes that stand out against monochrome backgrounds. He usually uses lively colours in flat areas outlined in black or white. When working in other media, his attitude to the painted surface is always restless, making it silent or complex by turns. In some of his more recent work in black and grey, the ‘nothingness of space’ contains points, dots, curves, lines, brushstrokes, vortices of matter, geometric forms tossed casually down. Primarily a painter, Kuroda has also produced a large number of posters and book covers, notably for ...

Article

Vietnamese, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1940.

Born 1921 or 1922, in Bich-La-Dong (Quang Tai, Hue); died 7 March 2015, in Paris.

Painter, printmaker, lithographer, draughtsman, sculptor. Stage costumes and sets.

Le Ba Dang came to Paris in 1939 and studied at the Écoles des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse and then Paris. He had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie du Globe in Paris in ...

Article

Luigi  

Lebanese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 18 May 1949, in Biblos or Beirut.

Painter, illustrator, scenographer. Religious subjects. Stage sets, murals.

He obtained his degree at the Beirut school of fine arts, where he taught from 1980 to 1983 in the architecture, decorative arts and graphics departments....

Article

Lebanese, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 6 February 1875, in Beirut; died 23 July 1970, in Paris.

Painter, draughtsman, illustrator. Figure compositions, figures, portraits, landscapes. Murals, postage stamps.

Orientalism.

Philippe Mourani trained first in Beirut, before going to Rome for five years and then Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Jean-Paul Laurens. In ...

Article

Lebanese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 23 November 1954, in Lebanon.

Painter.

Raouf Rifai trained at the École des Beaux-Arts. His work suggests a formal semiotic mix. He is also an interior designer and set designer.

He has shown his work in various group exhibitions, such as ...