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THE WHITE GUARD OF BULGAKOV BY CHEPIK
Art book, 27 x 24 cm, in 3 languages (Russian, English and French) , 160 pages, illustr., foreword by Jacques Catteau, 49 euros. Can be purchase 1/ at the Parisian bookshop La Librairie du Globe, 67, bld Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris :tel: 01 42 77 36 36. 2/ At the Catto Gallery, 100 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3 / tel: (207) 4356660.
Most of the original drawings made by Chepik to illustrate Bulgakov’s famous novel The White Guard will be displayed and Chepik’s new art book presented during this 2011 exhibition.
This book is available in he two following bookshops :
1/ LIBRAIRIE FRANCE LIVRES - 21 rue Monge 75005 PARIS (tel: 01 43 25 36 67 ; email@example.com )
2/ LIBRAIRIE LA PROCURE - 3 rue de Mezières 75006 Paris (tel: 01 45 48 20 25 firstname.lastname@example.org )
Le préfacier Jacques Catteau présentera l’ouvrage : le mercredi 23 novembre à partir de 19H30 à La Librairie Du Globe.
“Writing and painting amount, in the end, to the same thing; the same creative gesture, the same knowledgeable hand at the service of a paramount eye which dictates line and colour. In its great wisdom, the Russian language expresses exactly this as it employs the same verb, pisat’ for both actions; whence the rich relationships between pen and brush, writer and artist. The spell cast by a picture has been at the origin of numerous novels and poems as Balzac, Gogol, Wilde, Proust and indeed many others knew so well. In the same way, paintings are inspired by the written word, and the ongoing dialogue between word and image can engender works of value highly prized by lovers of literature and collectors of art books alike. These “duets” may be born of the ideas of the time, of a friendship, or – more prosaically – at the request of a publisher. One has only to look to the symbolists or the surrealists to find examples. Sometimes the illustrator is from another time, and seems drawn as if by a magnet to the text: Botticelli to Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”; Kupka or Matisse to the Song of Solomon; Chagall to Gogol’s “Dead Souls”; Dali or Picasso to Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” ... to name but a few.
The reasons behind these surprising love stories, these secretive but sometimes predictable couplings raise valid questions: why such elective affinities? Why him and me? What profound relationship with this writer do I celebrate with every brushstroke, the painter might ask. What inherited gene links us through the ages? Why do I feel the challenge to immerse myself in the spirit of the Other? Is this pure emulation or a natural accompaniment which perpetuates the talent of the author? On questioning Sergei Chepik in his Montmartre studio, surrounded by the forty magnificent lithographs dedicated to “The White Guard”, and on delving into the text, one discovers the story of the painter’s passion for his illustrious compatriot Mikhail Bulgakov, and indeed their artistic union. […]
Chepik has responded to this invitation, honoured guest at this, the end of the 20th century, accomplishing the feat of bringing to life in pictures the world of Bulgakov to which he is drawn by a shared vision and in communion with the writer’s soul. […] Here, he outlines the main features to tell the story of individual figures or more often, crowds or soldiers; there, he underlines a detail, extracted and enlarged as if with the aid of opera glasses until we can read the feelings and emotions on each face; faces that are wells into the soul without which the epic saga cannot reach us. It is in this subtle movement from the whole to the detail that we find Chepik’s pictorial representation of the contrapuntal form of the novel: the apocalyptic in contrast to the intimist; the history of the catastrophe of a nation set against the tragic destiny of individuals.
The dream that became words for the writer now becomes colour, shape and form for the artist, with the same ease, the same fluency, the same happy success as ever. Looking at the lithographs, one might even say, paradoxically, that it is Bulgakov’s quotations that now furnish the written illustrations to the story of “The White Guards”. But let us put aside that somewhat specious notion, and say simply that Bulgakov’s excellent novel is now further illuminated by the warm light of gratitude; an instinctive homage and an offering of friendly understanding from a painter to a writer. (From the Foreword to the book written by Professor Jacques CATTEAU)