Garif Basyrov


"I have loved the pencil since childhood. I believe it to be a very mobile and sincere instrument. There is no spontaneity when you are painting a large canvas. In most cases it is done to order, it is a demanding kind of creativity."

About the 'Trivia' series

"... It is as if there is a certain internal button which is activated at the required moment: you have seen and heard something many times, it registers inside you and you realize it is there only some time later. I once had an exhibition in Denmark. It is a wonderful country: bright vivid colors, the warm sun in October. When I returned home I rather unexpectedly started to create abstract art for myself. I had become tired of creating figurative work. Art should be unplanned and unconstrained. That's why I enjoy working with children. I actively use their scribbles and incorporate them into my compositions, and some wonderful work comes out of that.

"In my previous works (the series 'Inhabited Landscapes', 'Space', 'Under the Load', 'Narcissus', 'Wind', 'Sleepers', etc.) art critics found a lot of interesting things: 'a philosophical outlook', 'social problems', 'human loneliness', 'irony and grotesqueness', ' an atmosphere of Soviet life', 'fantastic realism' and even a certain 'Mystery'. I hope that they will not find anything of the kind in the new series, 'Trivia'. For what can one find in these torn scraps of paper, children's scribbles and old bills? There is certainly no nostalgia here, no worshipping of the scraps of someone's past life. It could be an attempt, using all kinds of rubbish that was lying around, to escape from the meaningfulness that I was talking about earlier, and just to do what is really of interest to an artist, which is to experiment with a flat piece of paper, composition, rhythm, color, the relations between different structures and marks, their contrast and harmony. That is probably the authentic, eternal theme of art. Including 'Mystery'. It would be great just to do that without preconceptions, guided by intuition rather than by forms used by other people. Speaking of forms, they say ancient Zen Buddhist poets and artists, after achieving the peak of their careers, after reaching the age of forty, changed their names and started again from scratch..."

About the "Apocrypha" series

"About half a year ago I noticed that, quite independently of my own will, what I'll call my 'non-figurative experiments' (the 'Trivia' series) had led to the development of something that looked like an unknown alphabet of an unknown language, maybe something like far-eastern hieroglyphs. I was absolutely sure that such a written language does not actually exist, and so I named this unexpected and unplanned series 'Apocrypha', i.e., something non-canonical and even 'sacral'."

About the "Versions series"

"When my last booklet was being printed, in an attempt to slightly improve its quality I visited the prin shop, and there I found a lot of rejects, test prints, and all kinds of other waste paper, including my own miserable work all cut up and distorted in a startlingly unceremonious and audacious manner. These 'variants' or 'versions' seemed to me so expressive and original that I decided to display seven good originals, together with print shop "versions" of each of them, in an exhibition. These seven posters displayed the 'development' of each work theme by the print shop."

About the "Opposition walls" series

"The section of the exhibition called 'Opposition walls' displays new works based on every possible kind of slogan and graffiti found on the walls of houses, garages, and fences, and various attempts to destroy them by painting over them, rubbing them out, or cleaning or washing them off, which resulted in some unrepeatable abstract compositions."

About the "Incubi-2" series

"Even if few people have witnessed it, most people are aware of how tectonic forces, or time itself, can cause continents, civilizations, and cities, as well as smaller objects, to sink into the depths. Sometimes, after an interval of days, or of thousands of years, what has disappeared emerges again from the mysterious depths before the eyes of other witnesses - including us. And then- what do we see? Unknown things, evoking unfamiliar words from our memories: 'ziggurat', 'orthostat', 'cenotaph', 'apadana', 'mastaba', 'naos', 'necropolis'... It does not seem possible to say anything clearer about what has emerged. It is as if all these things were found by a mysterious archeological expedition, and nobody has been able to identify the artefacts or find out when and where they were excavated. All that can definitely be said is that the artefacts share a kind of aura of unfriendly aloofness and have a sort of elusive resemblance to each other, and that their origin and purpose are disturbingly unclear. We can only assume that the Incubi which were exhibited earlier may shed some light on the mystery of these enigmatic proto- (or post-) forms."