World-Famous Artist on Creative Freedom, Time, and Himself: The Last Conversation with Vitaly Volovich
This conversation with Vitaly Volovich (3 August 1928 – 20 August 2018), a famous Ural artist, took place on 18 May 2018, and turned out to be the last extended interview given by the artist. The interview was aimed at discussing the newly published Women and Monsters album of Volovich’s works, as the editorial board of Quaestio Rossica was planning to collect and publish more materials on this topic in Russian culture (Quaestio Rossica, Vol. 7, 2019, Issue 2). The interview, however, became much more expansive and interesting as Vitaly Volovich, with his phenomenal memory and unprecedented skill as a narrator, recalled many pages of his difficult life navigating Soviet bureaucratic censorship, which was only braved by those who truly understood and loved art. An epic picture of the dramatic ups and downs in the artist’s life unfolds in this interview; the reader finds the artist’s personal search for meaning and his opinions on art, the freedom of creativity, life in Sverdlovsk, his friends and adversaries, and his achievements and failures. Volovich was attracted by the theatrical: he loved the circus, the spirit of acting and the carnival. Knights and monsters, selfless heroes and criminals, beautiful women, clowns and beasts reign in his books and graphic works. These images, initially associated with literary fantasies, manifested the artist’s thoughts on modernity, on the difficult path of the country and national culture. The interview was conducted by Professor Larisa Soboleva, editor-in-chief of Quaestio Rossica, and art critic Yevgeny Alekseev.
Pobezhdennyi kit [The Defeated Whale]. (1962). Sverdlovsk, Sredne-Ural’skoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo. 16 p.
Volovich, V. (2017). Masterskaya. Zapiski khudozhnika [Workshop. Notes of the Artist]. Yekaterinburg, Avtograf. 608 p.
Zaks, L. (2019). Monstruoznost’ kak kod erotiki, zhestokosti i strakha v al’bome Vitaliya Volovicha “Zhenshchiny i monstry” [Monstrosity as a Code of Eroticism, Violence, and Fear in Vitaly Volovich’s Women and Monsters Album]. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No 2, pp. 458–474. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.2.387.