Ex-Libris for Liudmyla Iniushyna

Alexander Aksinin

  • Ex-Libris for Liudmyla Iniushyna 2
Basic information
Alexander Aksinin
Ex-Libris for Liudmyla Iniushyna
Date of creation
imprint on paper
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10.4 x 10
Information about author
Alexander Aksinin
Artist's lifetime
Alexander Aksinin was a graphic artist and one of the brightest representatives of Lviv nonconformist culture. He was born on October 2, 1949 in Lviv in the family of a military cartographer and railroad official of the Lviv railway. Between 1963 and 1966, he received his art education at the evening art school in Lviv. Between 1967 and 1972, the artist continued his studies at the Ivan Fedorov Ukrainian Polygraphic Institute, where he specialized in Graphic Art. After graduation, Aksinin served in the Soviet Army, where he participated in the design of the exposition of the Military History Museum. Between 1974 and 1977, he worked as an art designer in an industrial design office. In 1977, he left the official service and began to work exclusively as a freelance artist. The apartment of Aksinin and his wife, the writer and artist Engelina (Gelya) Buriakovska (1944–1982), became one of the Lviv centers of informal art; first home exhibitions were held here. Alexander and Gelya were well acquainted with the representatives of the cultural underground of Moscow and Leningrad, in particular, with Dmitri Prigov, Viktor Krivulin, Ilya Kabakov, and others. They also had friendly relations with Baltic artists, first of all, with Tonis Vint, with whom Alexander developed a close rapport, and Polish ones. Since 1974, Aksinin participated in group exhibitions; in 1979, his first personal exhibition was organized in Tallinn with the assistance of the artist Tonis Vint. In the early 1980s, the poet Viktor Krivulin helped to arrange several of Aksinin's "kvartirnik" exhibitions in Leningrad and Moscow. On May 3, 1985, on his way back from Tallinn, Alexander Aksinin died in a plane crash over Zolochiv near Lviv. During his lifetime, the artist created 343 etchings, about 200 sheets of unique drawn graphics (drawings in watercolor, Indian ink, and gouache, including prints), as well as five paintings. 27 volumes of the artist's diaries for the period from 1965 to 1985 contain more than 200 sketches and a large number of drawings-ideas; they are partially publicly available on the artist's personal website. In 2015, Alexander Aksinin's etching series "Boskhiana" was included in the permanent exposition of the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. The works are stored in the Lviv National Art Gallery, the Estonian Art Museum, and the National Art Museum of Ukraine. In 1981, Alexander Aksinin wrote his laconic autobiography for an article by Viktor Krivulin, in which he consciously contrasted his inner world with external events, combining the facts of his biography with his own artistic and metaphysical experience: “In 1949, a seemingly Russian man was born in the seemingly European city of Lviv. Orthodox Christian. In 1972 – received a diploma from the Polygraphic Institute in the field of Graphic Art. In 1977 – the first revelation with a concomitant sense of time. In 1981 – the second revelation with a concomitant sense of eternity. In 1979 – the first solo exhibition in Tallinn. In 1981 – the second one in Poland. That is all.”
Object description
The creative world of Alexander Aksinin is characterized by a condensed intellectual atmosphere, which is full of "codes of aesthetic information". Numerous ex-libris by Aksinin, even in appearance, have little in common with the traditional canons of book signs; in essence, these are miniature "philosophical essays" embodied in complex systems of visual as well as literary and verbal texts.
This is Alexander Aksinin's early work, which was created before the formation of his unique creative style. The etching is made with humor and banter over a friend.
The angel is imprisoned in a cage! This is how the author graphically expressed his friend’s suffering: after graduating from an art higher institution, the artist was sent to work as a fashion designer at a knitwear factory.
A bird cage hangs on the needle. In some places it is wrapped in cobwebs between the bars (hint of knitted jersey). Inside the cage, the author schematically depicts a bent female figure wearing a long cloak, felt boots, with angel wings behind her back, round glasses on the same round face, and curls on her head. Tiny faces with wings fly around the cage, hinting at those who are not "stuck" inside. Several grains, bird’s food, are scattered on the cage’s cobwebbed floor. Some of them fеll down without being eaten.
A snake-like thread is threaded through the needle's eye. The initials "LN" (Liudmyla Nikolaievna) appear on the left, between the twists and turns. The inscription "EXLIBRIS / INIUSHYNA" is at the top, above the horizontal of the needle. To the right of the inscription is a continuation of the thread, with grains for birds in its bend. At the bottom, under the cage’s floor, one can notice a circle with the artist's initial "a" inside a triangle.
Lіudmуla Iniushyna (b. 1948), a fashion designer. She graduated from the Lviv Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts. Between 1972 and 2011, the artist worked at the "Kyіanka" knitting factory in Kyiv.
At the bottom right under the imprint there is an author's inscription "Aksinin, 74"