Plastic poetry of Olga Muravina

Ossip Zadkine wrote: “The sculptor’s task is to choose a stable building material in order to create eternal plasticity with it”. Young Moscow sculptor Olga Muravina has found a suitable material for her art – bronze. She manipulates it skillfully and professionally, extracting rich expressive possibilities. Olga has also developed her own plastic language, recognizable and unique. And the favorite themes she has discovered: children and animals, interpreted by her in a very original and fresh way. It is these subjects allow the artist to express her exciting idea of the interconnectedness of all living things, the beneficial connection with nature and the cosmos.

Muravina explores the theme of childhood as a problem of form, turning it into a fascinating experiment.

Her pictorial system is based on special compositional solutions, in which the size of the sculpture, spatial and plastic juxtapositions, and a special understanding of the material are important.

In bronze the young sculptor is attracted by the possibilities of clear interpretation of the details, accentuated silhouette, the play of highlights on the surface under the influence of light. Muravina successfully uses the characteristic features of bronze: strength, plasticity, weightiness, color palette, luminosity, which emphasizes the plasticity.

The sculptor creates a world where purity and harmony reign, there are no conflicts and drama. Her children and animals seem to listen to themselves, as if they are detached from what is going on around them and focus on their feelings. It is no coincidence that children’s eyes are often closed, as if they are somewhere far away, in their primordial world.

At the same time, the generalized forms of the sculptures of children and animals retain a sharp character. They conceal a metaphorical subtext, which makes it necessary to look at them for a long time, to reflect on the meaning of the details. Thus, the stable pose of the “Big Dog”, lowered ears, sad eyes speak of loyalty, kindness and submissive waiting. Children in her sculptures always appear naked (“Sashulya”, “Peeing Boy”…) This makes them seem especially touchingly unprotected, natural creatures, alien to vanity of life.

“Boy in the Sun” is a spiritual and reverent sculpture. Short arms slumped along his body, disproportionately thick legs resting on the ground, head raised up, eyes closed. He seems to absorb the life-giving solar energy and power of the earth. Here, as in other works by Muravina, a generalized form is combined with finely worked out details – this is the most characteristic manifestation of the sculptor’s individual style.

A graduate of the Surikov Institute (workshop of Professor Mikhail Pereyaslavets), Muravina has enriched the intricacies of the complex technique of classical bronze casting with her own original findings. Her special feeling for the material allows her to draw on plastics experience from various sources. Thus, in her strange and attractive “shapes and images” there is something archaic and primitive, typical of African sculpture, sculpture of the Cyclades islands and Viking carvings. Moreover, these motifs acquire a modern sounding in her sculptural creations. Assimilating the archaic, the primitive, Muravina achieves the sugestion of the primitive with a dynamic vitality. Fueled by various traditions of world sculpture, ancient and modern, including the traditions of Etruscan sculpture and plastic of Northern Europe, she creates her own style based on professional skills obtained at the institute.

Drawing is an integral part of a young sculptor’s practice. She fixes an idea on paper, develops it, analyzes it from different points of view, checks for variation in different techniques (sanguine, charcoal, pastel, mixed technique), and then embodies the tested idea in bronze. In some drawings she reveals volumetricity, in others – plasticity of lines. These drawings reveal new facets of the sculptor’s talent. The charcoal drawing of the Boy in the Sun has a different look than the bronze, where the character is unprotected and self-absorbed. This same character in the bronze sculpture represents with its shining bronze the spontaneous, primal aspiration for the sun and the quiet sadness because of the unattainability of the ideal.

Olga Muravina, despite her youth, already has a solid track record: she is a fellow of the Russian Union of Artists, a member of the Moscow Union of Artists and Sculptors, the Moscow Union of Designers, she has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Moscow and the Netherlands and has had her personal exhibitions.

Of course, bronze is still the main material for Muravina, but she successfully works in ceramics, porcelain, glass, creating lyrical and sophisticated or deliberately primitive, simple, slightly rude images. In the art of this young and promising sculptor sincerity and desire to search for new forms and images are attractive.


Victoria Khan-Magometova (art historian, member of the Moscow Union of Artists, criticism section).