Yury Linnik
Road to Pleiades: Russian artists-cosmists.
Petrozavodsk:Svyatoi Ostrov
286 pp.,1995 [in Russian].
ISBN 5-87339-024X. 

Yury Linnik
Crystal of Aquarius: Book about the Artist B.A.Smirnov- Rusetsky.
Petrozavodsk,231 pp.,1995 [in Russian].
ISBN 5-87339-028-2

Yury Linnik, the author of the above-mentioned books is well-known to Leonardo readers. He participated in the Termen's column of LMJ (vol.6, pp.70-71, 1996). A little earlier, his information about the Museum of Cosmic Art was published in the Prometei special issue of Leonardo (no.5, pp.337-338, 1994). He planned to establish this museum using as the base his collection of works of artists-cosmists from the group Amaravella. Unfortunately, the museum with its hundreds of canvasses and graphics is quartered still in the small flat of Yu.Linnik in Petrozavodsk, while his achievements in the field of cosmic art become known for wide public from his numerous publications in the Press House Svyatoi Ostrov (Saint Island) which (alas!) also quartered in the same two-room flat; in spite of all these difficulties, Prof. Yu.Linnik publishes only his own works! During the years of perestrojka he published, presumably, about one hundred different works such as an anthology of verses, fantastic prose, and books about all basic religions of the world. Moreover, even his personal newspaper 'Yury Linnik' has appeared!

There may arise a question: is, perhaps, our respected doctor of aesthetics a graphomaniac? But if it is so, it is a special kind of graphomania, graphomania of the man who is awfully glad that there is not any censorship anymore and that anyone can write and publish all things to one's heart's content! The main thing is that he can now freely tell about his favorite artists-cosmists from the group Amaravella which appeared in the post- revolutionary Russia of the early twenties; later, in Stalin's times, the group was dissolved and consigned for a long period of time to oblivion.

These artists were far ahead of their time and their creation was based, on the one hand, upon the scientific- philosophic ideas of Russian scientists-cosmists such as N.Fyodorov, K.Tsiolkovsky, V.Vernadsky, and A.Chizhevsky; on the other hand, they follow the lines of artistic searches of such outstanding people as N.Rerikh, V.Kandinsky, M.Churlenis.

For the first time, Yu.Linnik has acquainted himself with the creative work of Amaravella representatives at the conference Light and Music in Kazan in 1975, where the works of such artists as V.Chernovolenko and A.Sardan were exhibited. It was these artists creative activity that Yu.Linnik described in his first Amaravella publications. It is worthy to note to the point that he has managed to publish a number of papers and articles in Kazan (as far back as in Soviet times).

In 1993 he published the excellent album "Sonata of Orion;" the book tells about the artist-cosmist V.T.Chernovolenko. In 1995 two books about Amaravella appeared simultaneously.

The first book tells about the Amaravella group and its genetic links with abstract art, music (Wagner, Skrjabin), and ideas of artistic synthesis. One of the sections in this book is devoted to the Amaravella founder P.Fateyev (1892-1971) who pioneered in the field of cosmic painting in Russia. Two other separate sections tell about the creative works of A.Sardan (1901-1974) and the tragic fate of S.Shigolev (1895-1942?) who perished no one knows where nor when after his arrest by punitive organs of NKVD.

Yu.Linnik has prepared the separate monographic essays on the life, world outlook and creative activity of these artists. At the end of these essays he puts his own fantastic story whose scene turns a reader's mind to the future and describes the ideas and creative activity of each of these artists. What is more surprising, Yu.Linnik has written a special poetic hymn of praise for each of these artists! The book has a great number of color and black-and-white illustrations.

The second book is also issued in a similar unexpected publishing genre; it is entirely devoted to one of the Amaravella members, B.Smirnov-Rusetsky (1905-1993). Among the members of the group, he is probably, the most subtle, transparent, exquisite and philosophic in character and creative activity. In my opinion, his works are similar to those of N.K.Rerikh whose name was planned to be assigned to the Museum of Cosmic Art in Petrozavodsk (I believe that the name of N.K.Rerikh is well-known to Leonardo readers, since for a long period of time he lived and actively worked abroad in India and visited the USA and France, where he spoke before the public with pacifist and uniting statements about the necessity to establish UNO and UNESCO).

We can hope that this review will make it possible for a reader to gain a closer acquaintance with less-known artists from the Amaravella group, and, together with it, to learn more about the theorist and publicist of cosmic art, Yu.Linnik. For those interested in a closer acquaintance with his works and creative activities, or to get his books, I give (with his permission) his address: Yury Linnik, Volodarsky Str,1,fl.58, 185003 Petrozavodsk, Russia.

Bulat Galeyev

(Published in Leonardo, v.31,.1998, N4, p.329; in Leonardo Digital Reviews, April 15,1998, v.6, N3)