A personal exhibition of the famous Voronezh artist and sculptor Fyodor Sushkov opened at the municipal exhibition hall at 8 Kirova Street on Friday, September 11. The exposition will run until October 9. Admission is free.

At the exhibition, viewers will be able to see several dozen works by Fyodor Sushkov most of which have not been exhibited in Voronezh before. The core was made up of paintings on religious themes to which the artist devoted most of his life. At the same time, Fyodor Kuzmich had his own view of religion and the divine - he believed that God was one, that representatives of different confessions should not be at enmity with each other, that science was also the result of God's creation. His paintings depict the apparitions of Christ and the visions of the Prophet Muhammad, the image of the Mother of God is adjacent to chemical formulas, and all this is united by the repeating image of “the church of all religions”.

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Фото — Михаил Кирьянов

‘To a modern person, Sushkov's paintings may seem strange. Their appearance is unusual for us. There are divine images, a microscope, a cutaway heart, and angels in heaven. The key to understanding his painting is to understand the time in which he had worked. Soviet people are used to living without God in general. And Fyodor Kuzmich, in order to convey his ideas about the divine, had to formulate them in some way. And since he was an artist, he formulated them with the help of paintings. This is why his works are so concrete. They are almost texts, philosophical treatises, only created by means of painting. And his ideas seem to be very relevant today, when the world is trying to separate us as much as possible - to divide us by gender, hair color, religious preferences. Fyodor Sushkov had a peacekeeping mission, he wrote that all people should live in peace, that we were all created equal,’ explained one of the organizers of the exhibition, art expert Zhanna Korneva.

The Fyodor Sushkov Foundation founded by his granddaughter Anna Nazarova is based in Italy. Specifically for the exhibition in Voronezh, his paintings were transported by trucks within about three weeks - air transportation was impossible due to the pandemic. ‘The things we’ve gone through during this time! It was lucky that they were never stopped,’ said Anna.

In addition to religious painting, little-known landscape paintings by Fyodor Sushkov as well as sketches of his famous sculptures were exhibited in Voronezh. Sushkov's colleague, Voronezh sculptor Antonina Tolmachyova, rescued the plaster version of a nursing mother from the Monument of Glory from the closed workshop.

‘Fyodor Kuzmich was a man everyone listened to. I remember how church priests used to come to him - they thought they would explain to him what he was wrong about and what he interpreted wrong in his paintings. But it always turned out that he was telling them what they were wrong about. Of course, not every artist tackles such topics, not everyone is able to illustrate the Bible, let alone express his view of it. But Sushkov had his own philosophy and his stance was very firm,’ Antonina Artyomovna recalled.

RIA Voronezh note for information

Fyodor Sushkov is an honorary citizen of the Voronezh Region. He was born in 1923 in the village of Novosoldatka, Repyevsky District. In 1941, he went to the front where he commanded a penal battalion of the 8th Panfilov Division, he was wounded. In the 1940s – 1950s, he began working as a sculptor of monumental and decorative art. Several famous sculptures by Sushkov have been installed in Voronezh - these are primarily the monument and stele on Victory Square and the Monument of Glory. The sculptor died in 2006 after a long illness. In 2019, a memorial plaque was installed on the house where Fyodor Sushkov had lived and worked.