Boris Turetsky

Born: 1928, Voronezh
Died: 1997, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist. Born in the family of Zakhary Turetsky in Voronezh (1928). Studied at the Konstantin Savitsky School of Art in Penza (1946–47). Moved to Moscow (1947), where he studied under Mikhail Perutsky and Moses Khazanov at the Faculty of Theatrical Design of the Moscow Regional School of Art (1947–50) and at the distance learning department of Moscow Institute of Polygraphy (1953–59). Worked at the Distance Learning University of the Arts (from 1964). Met Vladimir Weisberg (1948), Yury Zlotnikov (1951) and Vladimir Slepian (1956). Painted his first abstract works during a period of active study of such Western artists as Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock (1953–54). Worked in non-objective painting and graphic art (mid-1950s to early 1960s). Met and influenced by Mikhail Roginsky (late 1950s). Painted figurative works in gouache (1962–63) and a series of works on the theme of modern life (from 1963). Readdressed his own creative concepts after seeing the works of the French Nouveaux réalistes and American Pop Artists. Created a series of assemblages as an original reaction to Pop Art, made of female underwear, boots, cans, nails, cigarettes and other household objects (1974–75). Forced to abandon art due to illness (1975–83). Returned to abstract art, producing small gouaches and volumetric paper collages (from 1984). Worked in parallel in abstract and figurative art (1950s–60s) and objects (1974–75). Died in Moscow (1997). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1959), including at the apartments of composer Andrei Volkonsky (1959) and Alexei Kamensky (1961), Predecessors of Russian Pop Art in collaboration with Mikhail Chernyshov and Mikhail Roginsky at the Central House of the Artist in Moscow (1998) and a posthumous retrospective at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (2003).

Boris Turetsky created an extensive series of abstract drawings and paintings in the late 1950s, addressing “space as a problem and a conclusion” (Mikhail Roginsky). Boris Turetsky’s meeting with Mikhail Roginsky sharply changed the course of his professional development. Abstraction gave way to figurative works with subjects and characters. The artist depicted commonplace situations typical of Soviet life in such works as Polyclinic and Hairdresser Salon. Depicted at almost natural size, Turetsky’s characters are like cardboard or wooden puppets. The harsh plastic drawing of the image verges on the grotesque, evoking associations with the German Expressionists between the wars and the masters of the Society of Easel Artists. In the 1970s, discontent with depicting everyday life, Turetsky began to work with real objects, creating assemblages and objects. He was one of the first in Russian art to openly use ready objects in Tins (1974).

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