June VI

Alexander Aksinin

  • June VI 2
  • June VI 3
Basic information
Alexander Aksinin
June VI
Date of creation
imprint on paper
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
13 x 9.5
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 etchings by Aksinin are miniature "philosophical essays" embodied in complex systems of visual as well as literary and verbal texts.
"June VI" is the third etching in the "Months of the Year" series. In general, the artist created six of them, namely March, May, June, August, September, and November. Each etching visually depicts an oval framed by an openwork ribbon with noseless heads with their mouths open on it. A rhombus is arranged in an oval, with an "individual" image for each sheet in the field. The oval's outer borders are densely filled with small balls and conical thorns. The majority of the works within the borders of rhombuses feature women's busts wearing hats. They are seated on elongated bases that resemble fantastic zoomorphic creatures reminiscent of sepia (cuttlefish). According to the author, these compositional figures are the "horsewomеn of Time".
The rhombus in this work is entirely filled with systematically placed round medallions of three different sizes. In the background of the constellations depicted in medallions, one can see disguised sepia horses. Women's busts with the hands can be seen at the top of these creatures. One of the women playing the flute in the center sprouts from the sepia with the wings. Sepia tentacles in the lower part of the rhombus turn into snakes, transforming the creatures into multi-headed hydras. In a medallion near the right corner of a rhombus, one of the snakes crawls out of a woman's mouth. It's possible that the constellation Hydra is depicted in this medallion's background.
The title of the work "JUNE VI" is written in the lower corner of the rhombus. The inscription "A.AKSININ" appears obliquely on the bottom left segment of the medallion. The artist's monogram is on one of the frame's heads on the left, with the numbers 19 and 80 on its both sides (the year of creation). The numbers 11 and 153 are written on the two heads below.
At the bottom right under the imprint there is an author's inscription "Aksinin, 80"