Only being

Alexey Merinov was born on the southwestern outskirts of Kursk in the village of Ljuchske (Kurchatovsky District) on March 8, 1942. The first months of life spent in the occupation. A few days together with her mother was in a group of women and children, which the Germans covered their hasty retreat. It's all right.

He learned about the vocation of the painter quite late. The trigger mechanism was a funny incident that occurred in the 8th grade. Something went wrong with the release of the school wall paper-it turned out that the newspaper does not do Alexey himself, and his mother. The next episode of the biography of the future artist was the decision to enter the Kursk art school. It took only a few lessons to make a neofite, never holding a brush in his hand, grabbed the basics and successfully passed the entrance exam.

In the school he greedily absorbs everything that is connected with the profession, and completely neglects the rest of the subjects. All the immersion in painting and unwillingness to distract even the most pressing questions of life is characteristic of him throughout his life. This feature often played with him a cruel joke, but also helped in the most seemingly hopeless situations.

Six months later Alexey was expelled for his failure-he simply did not go to general education subjects. The period of the publicates, which he recalled with laughter, and with sincere amazement, began. For several months he managed to hide the events from his parents, instead he went to the forest, where he spent time until the evening. When the case cleared up, the father arranged it on the closed enterprise by the artist. The work book appeared, the regime was favorable. However, soon, without warning anyone at work or at home, Alexey went to another city (it seems, Rostov-on-Don), where without exams was accepted to the first course of the local art school.

Here he lingered not long. According to him, the teachers were not interesting, there was no one to study. When he returned to Kursk, he appeared in his workplace in a closed-regime enterprise, as it had never happened. It is not necessary to explain, what record has decorated his labour book, it was only to put it in a toilet, that it and has made on the advice of one clever person.

For some time Alexey spends at home, working at various enterprises, in particular, the builder on a construction site. Pronouncing this word, he did stress on the second syllable and replaced «p» with «B»: «Stroobalik». A mixture of irony and pride. In general, everything not related to painting, caused in it something like a misunderstanding. Later, settling in the Crimea, he tried different professions, worked as a decorator in Yalta (1971-1972). And now, many years later, on the solid wall of the Dibaz at the western end of the Yalta embankment you can see the inscription made by his hand: «To swim is forbidden».

At some point, the situation became unbearable. In the frosty December Night of 1965 (the date requires confirmation, perhaps it was a little earlier) Alexey came to the station and took a ticket to Simferopol. There was, as he said, another option-Odessa, but direct trains from Kursk did not go there. In the Ushanke and a warm winter coat, loaded with a pile of cards and canvases, he appeared in the college named Samokosh. There was an abnormal heat, the school year was in full swing.

And here the fate finally smiled at him. One of the teachers drew attention to a confused hero: his ability was appreciated, took the third course and allowed to work as he wants.

The Crimean period of life of Alexey Merinov (1965-1984) is marked by defining events. At the end of the school he is accepted into the Art Fund, he receives a workshop adjoining the cabinet of the Chairman of the Union of artists (not being a member of the Union). For four years Alexey filled the workshop with canvases. Now from the works of that time there were crumbs.

I had a chance to get acquainted with Alexey in September, 2009 in Alupka on a training base of the University of Repinsky. At the end of student practice on the vacant place

Some artists come, however, in recent years, more and more rarely. As now I see its natjagivajushhim canvases not by means of a stapler, but in the old fashioned way, by means of a hammer and small nails. On the floor of a large room in a puddle of water, the ground was floating down the unmeasured panel of «Italians».

It is impossible to say that I liked his painting at first sight. The works, written immediately upon arrival, seemed deaf, too blue. The artist Rashid Adgamov, who was present at that time, also did not express his enthusiasm. However, a little time has passed, and Alexey's painting was revealed in all his calm power and true beauty. It was not verbose and, what was especially surprising, did not wait for a response, not hurried enthusiasm, did not load emotionally. In the neighbourhood with a cheerful letter R. Adgamov His sketch seemed simple, not enough «tasty». But in spite of everything you continued to look at him, guessed the living in him the verse, learned the rhythms, consonant with the movements of nature itself.

Alexey visited Alupka for two years in a row. The most memorable is the year 2010. Three times I watched his work: in Ponovovka, at the far end of concrete beaches, where a huge squat rock, puts a point in their cyclonic movement, on the embankment of Yalta, where for two hours were written two large, almost meter, canvas, and in a quiet October Gurzufa.

Vyacheslav Karelin, the acquaintance with which has become for me literally a new period of life has pulled us in Ponovovka. The meeting with Kareliin took place in a year or two before Merinov's appearance. (without Karelina There is nothing to do, because the artists have known each other since the late 60s, because their neshozhzem so conspicuous.)

But let's go back to Alexey. The motive chosen by him in Ponovovka was extremely simple. He stopped high on the trail, after sharp turns and steep descents slowly descending to the sea, and Kareliu and I rushed closer to the water, to the picturesque stone chaos. Now this strongly stretched horizontally canvas of Alexey seems to me the best of his written at that time.

He wrote surprisingly quickly, coming to a special state. Something began to shine through his quite ordinary appearance. It seemed to open a source of joy, magnetically acting on others. Women were drawn to the flow of life-giving energy. He was engaged in lengthy conversations, exchanged addresses and telephones.

In general, Alexey's personal life remained a closed topic for me. I only know

Until very recently he was visited by a lady from the theatrical world, which, however, did not reflect in his life. He lived as a finished bachelor.

A small two-bedroom apartment in Nahabino, where I was admitted far not at once, was cluttered to the last degree. There was hardly a place to sit down for an improvised table-a wooden bench, covered on the occasion of a guest newspaper. The same shop played an important role in productions for magnificent half-meter still lifes, which the owner devoted all free time. It was especially difficult in winter. The light of the short day did not penetrate into the space of the working room resembling the upside down vault of the museum. The walls were closed racks, chipped from the Unstrugy boards, on them closely to each other stood propyljonnye long years objects of bygone folk life: samovars of all sizes and types, irons, unprecedented kerosene lamps, tuesa, waltks, copper Tatar Vessels, blackened from time deep kiots, icons, church candlesticks. On the floor a mighty dark glass of bottles, braided by the shore, was crowded.

Alexey almost did not cook. Maximum, boiled potatoes. I had a very modest feeding. The episode from The Times of the Crimean life in the 1970s serves as an illustration of his complete indifference to the issues of life. Having stopped in the House of Creativity in Falcon (times were blessed-the room cost 20 Kopek a day), Alexey so has plunged into work that on a table in mountains of garbage the mouse withdrew posterity.

The history of the clash with Kareliin appears to be the same period. Vyacheslav longed for communication, longed for events, his powerful nature did not find an outcome. Alexey was forced to hide from persistent manifestations of friendship. It ended with a stone thrown in the window in the middle of the night.

From his rather meager stories about that time I remember another episode. Returning from the plein air in the vicinity of Simferopol, the artist squeezed into a trolleybus with a large, no closed canvas (apparently, it happened more than once) and peremal a lot of people. Some man, without saying a word, wiped his hand stained with a paint on his shirt.

In the mid-1980s Alexey felt something that forced him to think about moving. Taking advantage of the first announcement on the post, with two railway containers of accumulated wealth-paintings and utensils for still lifes-he was in a tiny working village SYCHVO 90 km from the capital. And soon-in Nahabino, where he had to live more than 30 years. The extreme entrance of the extreme house on Instytutska Street and now seems to be the most deaf corner, which can be imagined.

In his first visits, watching the Big Dog Woodpecker, the Soek and the Sinitz, the master's treats on the balcony, lard and sunflower seeds, I thought I had got into another dimension. There was no time here. Some indelible dream, sweet sadness, was taken from the depths of the heart, returning to the original meanings that can be sensed and cannot be expressed.

On the eve of the collapse of the country Alexey is not 50, he is cheerful, active (so he remained almost to the end, so I saw him in Alupka in 2009), participates in major exhibitions. He is often visited by the Embassy of South Korea, buying a lot of work. Local officials pay attention to the artist, give a workshop in the neighboring Oplikhe.

His painting is changing. In the early 2000s. The artist comes to the textured letter, built on the rhythms of large pasty strokes that determine the spatial and color basis of the image. This period is characterized by a holistic vision. The details dissolve in a live alternation of light and shadow, plane and space. It is important that in this, at first glance, brutal and expressive thickening of the paint layer, there is absolutely no expression and brutality in the modern sense. Everything in this painting is conditioned by visual perception. The line, as something that forcibly separates form, ceases to exist-it is only conceivable, arises from the synthesis of individual smears and large stains. At the same time, Alexey Merinov's paintings are characterized by intelligible materiality, originating in acute natural observation, deep knowledge of few motives, to which the artist repeatedly returns in the last decades of life.

He finds his favorite landscape motifs not far from the house – in an abandoned piece of forest adjoining the village. He repeatedly mentioned and neighbouring the railway station-Malinovka. Here he was attracted by motive with a forest brook and thrown through it a trunk of a tree. He went to Moscow, where for a couple of hours was able to saturate the color of two meters of canvas. Most often he wrote the Kremlin. From the corner of the Znamki or from the Big Mosvoretsky Bridge, from the place where the vigilant guards of order left him alone.

As there is absolute hearing, there is no doubt that absolute vision exists. and Alexey possessed such vision and absolute flair for painting. Avant-garde in any form for him did not exist. The subtle instrument, granted by nature, did not carry out arbitrariness and destruction. It was Alexey who repeatedly recollected, as Fedor Zakharov, the guru of Crimean painting, covered his eyes, passing by Bright pictures, exhibited for sale.

January 2019

Ilya Trofimov