A TALENT OF GREAT POTENTIAL
Yuri Firsov is a sculptor not only by virtue of the professional education he received, but also by virtue of his special gift, an ability to give refined and vibrant embodiment to the mysterious quality called ‘plasticity’. He is able to express in 3-dimensional shape not only the character of his model, its psychological mood, but also to capture in sculpted, fixed form the inner dynamics of personality, to unfold its individual temperament. Such a feat is feasible only for a true talent.
The life of Yuri Firsov, who was born in 1960 in the ancient and famous Russian city of Vladimir, has always been defined by a constantly deepening study of the fundamentals and subtle secrets of the plastic arts. Heeding his natural calling from early childhood, he drew and sculpted everything that attracted his creative attention or fired his imagination. His artistic biography may be likened to a stairway of steady ascension:
1970 - 1975 – find Yuri studying at the Vladimir School of Visual Arts. In 1975 he becomes a student at the V.A. Serov College of Visual Arts in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), an institution well known for its high-standards and traditions. From 1982, Y. Firsov studies at the V.I. Mukhina College of Visual and Industrial Arts (now the State Academy of Visual Arts) founded 125 years ago by the philanthropic baron Stieglitz. Yuri successfully graduated from this most prestigious institution in 1989. The works of his student years received high praise at various art competitions and in 1989, having received the support and recognition of his elder peers in art, he became a member of the Union of Artists of Russia.
In 1991, feeling confident about his artistic calling and ability, Yuri came to Canada where he met with further successes, in 1994 becoming a member of the Association of Sculptors of Canada. His intense and masterful creativity resulted in frequent display of Yuri's work at various art exhibitions. Between 1994 - 2002 his art has been presented at 15 exhibitions in Toronto, Paris (France), Washington D.C., New York, Alexandria and St.Petersburg.
It is noteworthy, that Mr. Firsov's work has been honoured by praise from such authorities on art as Mstislav Rostropovich, Oleg Ruzimatov, Vladimir Malakhov, Diana Vishneva and Karen Cain. His creations have received special recognition from stars of ballet, an art form founded in the harmonious fusion of plastics and music. It is only natural that masters of choreography were able most deeply to appreciate the sculptor's uncanny gift for perception and faithful expression of the inmost individual core and subtlest nuances of the art and personalities of the ardent devotees of Terpsichore. Firsov's works dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev (Nureyev at a rehearsal and Nureyev in the "Corsair" ballet) received delighted praise from ballet artists and ballet afficionados alike.
In the first of two works, Rudolf Nureyev is shown sitting on a little piano stool, resting, but still on fire after performing an array of virtuoso choreographic exercises. In the half-turned pose of his body, in every expressive fold of his dress, the sculptor makes you feel the volcanic force and flame of Nureyev’s indomitable temperament. Nureyev's face is acutely observed, capturing the complex interplay of emotions in the great dancer.
The statuette of Nureyev in "Corsair" unfolds for us the magic of Firsov’s artistry, his creative genius wedding the vibrancy of life and music to the persona created by Nureyev in this ballet.
Mr. Firsov studied numerous photo and video materials of Nureyev's stage appearances, and was able to catch the very fire of Nureyev's soul, the hypnotic power of his inspired art. Not coincidentally, some renditions of this sculpture, using platinum, gold, diamonds and lapis lazuli, were exclusively commissioned by ballet lovers,.
Like so many of us, Yuri was attracted by the charming, controversial and tragic personality of Princess Diana. One of his works dedicated to her is named after the Elton John song, "A Candle in the Wind". Its spatial composition and plastic treatment accentuate the stormy character and willpower of the beautiful 'people's princess' proudly defending her personal freedom against the rules of 'etiquette' of the Royal Family.
Another sculpture shows Diana sitting on the throne, dressed regally in brocade garments, crowned with a diadem. The sculptor has stressed the solemnity of her ceremonial pose amplifying it with a rich interplay of the folds of her dress train. Avoiding excessive idealisation, Yuri Firsov accentuates the expressivity of the Princess' face, the shy look in her eyes and the charming smile. The subtext shows Diana’s intrinsic alienation from the pomp and circumstance of the court and her assessment of it as illusory theatrics. The compelling power of this image has led to a special commission: the statuette was executed in gilded bronze with platinum inserts, with diamonds and half-precious stones, and placed on an onyx pedestal.
Commissioned by Joseph Brodsky's wife and friends, Mr. Firsov has sculpted the famous poet's full-figure portrait. Notwithstanding its modest size, the statuette is monumental in its character and striking in its bright expressive power.
It must be noted, that Yuri Firsov masterfully combines in his work the jewellery-like precision of minute details with concrete and psychologically profound imagery.
The talent of Y. Firsov is also apparent in the creative application in his art of stylistic methods of the Roman sculpted portrait and decorative forms of the styles 'moderne' and 'salon' of the end of XIXth century. He exhibits the precision and virtuosity of a true portraitist combined with a natural eye for subtle individual details in his models.
Yuri Firsov's plastic intuition is also apparent in the acutely observed animalist compositions created for small private parks. "Russian Bear Cubs on a Tree”, and “Dog and Cat on Lamp Pole” are impeccable in form and marked with heartfelt humour.
Yuri Firsov is presently just approaching the middle of his creative life. But the work that he has already done promises the prospect of further bright and original artistic achievement.
Abram Raskin, art critic, Fellow of the Union of Artists of Russia, Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Art Critics, St. Petersburg Branch, Honoured Art Worker of the Russian Federation
|"I am delighted and enraptured, Bravo!"||
Mstislav Rostropovich Internationally-Renowned Musician
|"I like your work very much! Thank you." _||
Oleg Vinogradov Artistic Director of the Kirov Ballet.
|"Your work dances."||
Marian Horosko Associate Editor/Education, Dance Magazine, New York.
|"To Yuri! A great master!"||
Farukh Ruzimatov Principal Dancer, Kirov Ballet.
|"For Yuri! My very best wishes. I am amazed by your talent. Sincerely yours."||
Vladimir Malakhov Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theater, The National Ballet of Canada, Vienna State Opera Ballet.
|"I am delighted by your creations! Go on giving your gift to people!"||
Diana Vishneva Principal Dancer, Kirov Ballet.
|"I am sincerely delighted! What talent!!!"||
Alexander Vetrov Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Ballet.
|" It is such a pleasure to see Dance Sculpture through the eyes of a great artist. Sincerely."||
Karen Kain Principal Dancer,The National Ballet of Canada.