In memory of Igor Mikhailovich Bezchastnov (2019)
Unlike other exhibitions and presentations, this event was dedicated to the artworks, stories, and life accomplishment of a person, who is no longer with us. Select paintings of Igor M.Bezchastnov, are mounted on the walls of Kings Bay Gallery. He did not only draw painting; it was rather his hobby. His profession was an architect and he was very prominent in it.
He finished the institute of civil engineering, where after his graduation he headed the department of urban building and construction. While teaching, he educated a galaxy of talented architect and artists. Meanwhile he published more then 50 article, and created a ton a famous architectural projects. Just to name a few – Odessa Train Station, Mariupol train station, monument to Leo Tolstoy in Odessa, and a plan to build subway in Odessa – using pre-existing network of catacombs. To make a long story short – he left us, but he continues to be with us.
The paintings of Igor Berchastnov look mild and tender, rather than contrast as other artists do. Not only colors are mild. Shadows are mild, corners are mild and seems like Igor Beschastnov had a very mild character, even though he used to be the chairman of the department in the institute. I can easily remember his mild tone from phone conversation with Igor Beschastnov.
He is universal artist. He paints what he sees. Landscapes, portraits, still life, cityscapes – everything bring mild and positive feelings. On one of his paintings it’s easy to recognize backyards of Moldavanka section of Odessa, where I am personally from – before I immigrated; On other paintings – he drew the remains of Yeni Dünya formerly Turkish fortress which are now in the biggest park in Odessa, and serve as old city museum. Somewhere we can recognize landscape around Jamaica Bay, in Brooklyn, and one painting is certainly a place – where Ocean Parkway meets Brighton Beach Avenue with it’s elevated subway. The place looks as precise as on photo, but still Igor’s soul is seen in his drawing. He depicted the spring, the general tone which is different from the way people mostly see this place, known by every Russian immigrant in Brooklyn. Even though he uses artistic approach – every drawing displays high level of detail. That’s because he is an architect. Also there are blueprints and renders of his architectural projects displayed among the exhibits.
The speaker of this presentation started his speech so “I am not the most important, I don’t know everything about Igor Beschastnov, I just know him longer – then others might know” and this was his oldest son – Mikhail Beschastnov. Then he read a touching poem while his wife played a sad tune on a piano. This poem clearly illustrates that even though Igor Mikhailovich left the world, he still remains alive together with his artworks, architectural works, and other accomplishments – as long as his descendants live and his works are seen. Then the microphone was given to Irog’s yonger son, Alex Wayman.
Alex mentioned that five years ago, Igor actually curated his jubilee exhibition himself. It’s very hard to talk about a fact that we can’t see himself today together with his paintings.
Igor M. Beschastnov was not easily giving away his paintings. Prior to giving away his painting he drew an exact copy of it, to let original be with him timelessly. Namely that’s why is was possible to organize and present this exhibition. While other artists generally like to giveaway and sell their works. Also, Alex mentioned that his daughter (Igor’s granddaughter) who lives in Odessa found an exact copy of one of painting, which is on the wall – almost year after Igor’s death. “It seems like an artist will not make new painting after death, but in fact they still can be found, and maybe will be found”
What truly created Igor Mikhailovich, ) is an environment . (in Russia/xUSSR it was very common to call respected people by first name, followed by patronym, which served as middle name) He lived in a very creative environment. Very prominent creative people like Bulat Okudzhava, Peter Todorovsky, Valentin Kataev, Tatiana Tess visited his house, Rina Zelenaya (known acress) played with Igor’s children. Also it’s very important to mention that Igor’s ancestors were even more prominent architects.
Igor Mikhailovich was an architectural poet of Odessa. He walked though the city and found a message in every single stone, like a poet finds them in surroundings.
Besides arts and architecture, Igor M.B. taught his older son how to use photo camera, Igor started every single day with exercise, and Mikhail even didn’t know that his father was a candidate to the masters of sports. Igor also participated in theatrical presentations with participation of Yelena Stroganova, which were held in South Brooklyn for Russian Immigrant audience. “….It’s impossible to speak about Igor M. B. in past tense…” as Ms Stroganova mentioned. She mentioned difference between today’s presentation with 90th Jubelee of Igor Mikhailovich They she read her poems she dedicated to Igor Mikhailovich. He was always present at every presentation. “Age doesn’t’ have any meaning, it was the main line of her poem”. And in fact Igor Mikhailovich had a great sense of humor.
Igor Mikhailovich Beschastnov was a man of unique Odessa-style intelligence and he talked uniquely about his past. “He drew my portrait, and helped me with writing a book about my greatgrandfather. He was very kind and sentimental” – Oleg Yunakov, the author of Wikipedia article about Igor Mikhailovich Beschastnov.
The hero of our occasion left us almost year ago, but he lives and will live with us, as long as his artworks, architectural project, and memories of his human qualities are in our hearts!