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International Visual Artist and Sculptor Maxim Kantor

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Maxim Kantor is regarded as one of the finest living abstract artists. Born in Moscow, Russia, Maxim attended Moscow Art Polygraph Institute. After graduation, he opened his first studio on Saveljevskij Street and later on Triokhprudny Street. An organizer, Maxim created the independent group of painters later called "Krasny Dom" ("Red House"). The group held a number of unofficial, one-day exhibitions, the most notable of which took place at the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow.

Lynn Parks

Photo by: Lev Melikhov

Maxim also participated in many unofficial exhibitions of the Moscow "underground," which were not permitted by the Soviet government at that time.

Maxim held his first exhibition abroad at Studio Marconi in Milan and was then invited by Henri Nannen to exhibit at the Eva Poll Gallery in Berlin.

Since then, Maxim’s works have been exhibited throughout Western Europe, the United States, and Russia. Maxim has held temporary workshops in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Boston, Berlin, and Hannover, and has had permanent workshops in Moscow and London.

Maxim’s first collection of published short stories was titled "House in the Wasteland," And he conducted retrospective exhibitions in Luxembourg, Berlin and Moscow, as well as a solo exhibition "Criminal chronicle" in the Russian Pavilion at the XLVII Biennale in Venice.

Maxim has also exhibited in the State Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, the Musee d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg and the Crossman Gallery in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Maxim’s completed works include the series of 70 etchings and philosophical essays, "Letters from Karakorum," which finally was entitled "WASTELAND. The Atlas." After that came an exhibition tour in Russia, including the State Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow; the State Primorsky Museum of Art, Vladivostok; the Krasnoyarsk Culture and History Museum Complex; the Novosibirsk Museum of Fine Art; the Tomsk Art Museum; and the Ekaterinbourg Museum of Fine Art. Exhibitions in other museums included the Staedel Museum, Frankfurt; the Culturgest, Lisbon; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; and the South Australian Gallery, Adelaida.

Subsequent to that Maxim completed the book "METROPOLIS.The Atlas," containing prints and philosophic essays. He also recently published his two volume novel "DRAWING TEXTBOOK" ("O.G.I." Publishing, Moscow).

An accomplished playwright, Maxim’s theatrical productions have been performed in Moscow and Luxembourg, and he has published a collection of eight satirical plays, titled “Party with Baboon.”

And he recently completed a European tour of his exhibition "New Empire," containing works in the graphic style of "METROPOLIS. The Atlas," at such venues as the Felix Nussbaum Haus; Osnabruck; Querini Stampalia Fondazione, Venice; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; Museum Kuppersmuhle, Duisburg; and Centre Culturel de Rencontre, Abbaye de Neumunster, Luxembourg.

In the United States, Maxim’s works may be found at Sothebys in New York.  

We spoke to Maxim from his Moscow studio on the world of art.

iStudioi: When did you first decide you would like to be a visual artist and sculptor?

Maxim Kantor: When I was 4 when I began to draw and paint. There is a photo in which I am depicted drawing a battle of knights. I was 4 or 5 at the time. When I was 10, my father bought me oil paint, and when I was 6, I started to write novels. The first one was about pirates
It happened that I never changed  my plans. I wanted to  be an artist and a writer from the very  begining. There  was a short  period, when I was 8 or 9,  that I had  a strong wish to be Robin Hood. But I think in a way I fulfilled this desire too, living vicariously through my works.

iStudioi: Do you feel that you create realism in your art?

Maxim Kantor: I think I do. I would say even more directly, I am convinced that art nowadays needs realism, and the turn to realism is what could save art. The gap between reality and the art scene has become truly dramatic.

iStudioi: Do you regard some of your art as political?

Maxim Kantor: Politics is a part of reality anyway. It is difficult not to notice it.

iStudioi: What do you envision in your mind before you create a  painting, etching or sculpture?

Maxim Kantor: It is all very strange. You can think for days, months, and years about your future picture. You can develop concept, but when you take a brush you have to be spontaneous. Of course, I do have definite plans how to do that, and in principle I have a clear vision for my future work. But since artwork is a passion, it brings surprises. Always!
iStudioi: We know you are a writer.  Do you have particular subjects that you like to cover in your writings?

Maxim Kantor: It all goes together. My pictures are illustrations for books, and books are comments to pictures.

iStudioi: As an artist, how would you like your art to be thought of by the public?

Maxim Kantor: People simply should love it. Pictures are so beautiful.

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