Alexander Sitnikov is an important representative of the 1970s generation of artists. Sitnikov’s artistic cycles traces the development of his creative search from the early works of the 1960s in "naive-ironical lyricism" (the artist’s definition), through the lyrics of the mid-1960s and the beginnings 1970s, romantic realism, series "Concerto", "Native Speech", and "Aphorisms". Sitnikov constantly experiments by searching for new forms of self-expression and themes in a socio-cultural environment. Sitnikov’s paintings are metaphoric; the artist pays special attention to the game with the spectator and with forms of the painting, creating an intellectual platform with humanitarian signs and symbols of civilization.

Before Sitnikov concentrated on expressiveness of colors and abstract paintings, his main themes were lyrical works, including "Flutist" (1965), "Olya" (1972) and "Students" (1972), expressing his civic position in the spirit of 1960s in Russia.
From the end of 1970s, the dramaturgy of color became one of the important means of expression for the artist. The combination of heavily layered bright colors gave an insightful, auxiliary effect. Sitnikov combines his skills of plastic language with irreal images, accenting human experiences, creating intellectual space. His works are very powerful and acute.

Music is the integral inspiration for Sitnikov in the series "Concerto". A juxtaposition of intensive colors is confined by geometrical and amorphous forms, and powerful splashes of paint interplay within the structure of painting surface, highlighting the transformed human body and the keyboard. It creates the sensation of a human drama, dichotomy and a discord between the power of creative spirit and fragile human soul. The paintings are dedicated to the composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975), whose life is a symbol of struggle for creativity in Russia. For Sitnikov, Shostakovich is the personification of an ideal in art, its embodiment of the genius and direct representation of the creative spirit. The artist integrates and emphasizes internal connection with music which (along with a relationship with literature) is one of characteristics of his art. The connection of the destructive force of talent with universal tragedies is traced in the paintings devoted to the composer Alfred Schnittke (1934 - 1998) – a person of complicated destiny – and incorporate elements of tragedy, historical memory and spirituality. In each painting in the series, Sitnikov investigates methodological, metaphorical, and metaphysical aspects of each subject.
The interchange and clash of myths, symbols and metaphors is area of interest to the artist. The painting The Third Rome is based on the famous description of Moscow as the "Third Rome", written during the reign of Tsar Ivan III (reigned 1462 - 1505). This theme was popular among Moscow conceptual artists in the middle of 1990s, brought about by the problem of self-identification after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. In his paintings, Sitnikov uses images and symbols to create a new historical myth. Images of animals – for example, the red bull – often appear in Sitnikov’s paintings as allusions to passions and experiences.

Sitnikov uses metaphors and mythology which emerge from the history of modern Russia. These metaphors can have culturological or literary features. In a recent series, "Native Speech", Sitnikov creates three-dimensional constructive compositions, influenced by the suprematist and constructivist movements of the Russian avant-garde of the beginning of 20th century, updated by a reflection on events in modern Russia. Sitnikov uses three basic colors – red, black, white – and elements of compositions become a circle, a square, a cross, a sickle, hammer. All elements bear the implied connotation, a vertical line – authority, horizontal line – society.
Starting in 2000 till the present day, Sitnikov has created the series "Aphorisms", giving form to a game of language between poetry and philosophy. This geometrical cycle is supplemented with the series "Word", creating a plastic equivalent of thought. In his paintings there is an interesting characteristic; abstract features are inherited in figurative paintings, and abstract compositions frequently have concrete material elements.

In Sitnikov’s painting the vanity and tragedy of the world is counterbalanced by the harmony of hope and love. Sitnikov’s works appeal to the viewer on both analytical and emotional levels while illuminating many aspects of human experience. The various combinations – of traditional and innovative plastic language, emotional and rational, pagan and Christian, subject and non-objectivity, abstract and real – make Sitnikov’s art interesting to today's viewer.

Natalia Kolodzei
executive Director Kolodzei Art Foundation