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From the article “Dialogues with the matter of wood”

“His early sculpture contains a lot: from the Gothic spiral, holes, like in Henry Moore’s works, colourful inclusions of different types of wood, like in the Perm wooden figures (these insertions simultaneously remind one of restoration patches), to the frugality in the use of the material. “Ravine” and “She-Wolf” crown this stage. The sculptor, it seems, is ready to abandon figurativeness for the abstract perfection of the sculpture-skeleton twisting in space, onto which the fantasy of the viewer puts the flesh of the air. The second period—is the discovery of materials, new to the author, but ancient, no less ancient than wood. Stone. Bronze. In this period the head of “Attila” (1996), the wooden idol bound by metal, like an ancient battering tool, and the figure “Girl with a Rat” (1996), in which bronze is like a blood vessel, cord and tail, threading through the whole small sculpture, come into being. The third period — is the play with associations, with images, with citations from high and folk, ancient and modern mass culture, this is the period of grotesque female images, beginning with “Women’s Exodus” (2002) already mentioned above; the period of the “Rider” (2005), as if descended from the Alanian mountains; the period of brutal, like the statues of the Stalinist time, “Cows” (2005) and “Meetings” (2006).

At the beginning of the 2000s Pchelin actively played with images of mass culture. Albeit women, or witches, or market tradeswomen, exploding in howls either in a ritual or in hot Tarantino nights (the series of images, including “Godmother”, “Female Neighbour” and other figures, clearly forming a group in one cycle of images of 2003). Or almost a western (doesn’t the whole history of decades of the end-beginning of the millennium, with its accumulation of capital and fears, worship of stereotypes, look like a western?) — the sculpture-allegory “Brother-Rabbit, Brother-Colt” (2003). He played with wood, like the folk masters who worshipped the curves of a branch, seeing in them the images given by nature, and already in 1996 he had made the strange “Ravine”, “She-Wolf”, and later – in the sculpture “Cat on a Roof” (2007).

In the years of playing with citations and the baroque expressiveness of form Pchelin turned sharply and between the wooden burlesques once again produced the fine, like a bow, like a spindle, piercing the emptiness of space, “The Lonely One” (2004), “Katherine” (2008), and, of course, the exquisite and magical “Gogol the Mystic” (2008). These works — are the fourth stage of his sculptural quests, the return to the very beginning and to a completely new understanding of the possibilities of the expressiveness of wood as a material which contains energy”.

Irina Y. Tchmyreva, PhD in Art The Scientific Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Arts