Oscar Rabin, The Sleeping Doll













Oscar Rabin has always been a painter of the reality he perceives around him. He represents his personal environment and entourage in such a way that the canvasses become a deeply individual and poetic interpretation of his world. A world of hovels and slums, rubbish dumps, starving cats, miserably obsessed with bare survival, a world in which vodka and herrings symbolise not just a meal but a spiritual consolation. The feeble electricity, the yellow light in pools beneath the street lamps, the greasy black mud and jumbled bric a brac portrayed in Rabin's compositions are impregnated with a profound sense of the dramatic. The canvasses of the 50's and 60's are for the most part nocturnal in a light that seems to immobilise the subject and manifests itself in thick alloys of dark yellow tones. The dark contours surrounding the objects seem to protect them from decomposition and oblivion. These be-haloed objects, deformed, hypertrophied, be they a doll cast on a rubbish tip or a plate of herrings ("The Sleeping Doll", "The Smoked and the Salted") seem to assume a life and a symbolic importance of their own. They are scraps of life rescued from the ghostly hovels in which they seem to have been buried. The still lives and landscapes of Rabin's Lionozovo years combine to form a pictorial space loaded with messages. Pictorially they replace mankind and bear witness to Rabin's vision of man's existence.

Olga Medvedkova
(translated by Kate Viggers)


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