May 26 marks what would have been the sculptor Igors Vasiļjevs 75th birthday. In his short life span of 57 years he accomplished much, deserving a much larger memorial exhibition than the gallery Daugava can provide. However this exhibition offers a glimpse into the artist’s oeuvre and some insights into his personality. A book about the artist written by Ilona Jahimoviča and Ilja Dimenšteins has been published by “The Society of Vecāķi”.
Igors Vasiļjevs always had an interest in the accomplishments of great personalities such as Andrejs Rubļovs, Sergejs Eizenšteins, Māris Liepa, Maija Pļisecka, Boriss Pasternaks, Gidons Krēmers, Leo Svemps, Kārlis Sebris and Raimonds Pauls. By his creation of likenesses of these creative and intellectual individuals, the artist embodies the humanism and grandeur of the Renaissance Masters. His art is a testimonial to human greatness and spiritual and physical beauty. He loved music, poetry, philosophy and ancient culture, all of which enriched his life and he also did his utmost to impart this love to his students at the Art Academy. He too had been a student at the Art Academy, admitted as a young prodigy. His drawings were excellent, sense of volume was great, and at the age of 15 he was attending classes at the Sculpture Department as an external student. After completing high school in 1957 he was enrolled in the Art Academy as a 2nd year student. His graduation work in 1962 was “Youth of the World” executed under the supervision of professor Kārlis Zemdega.
Igors Vasiļjevs’ preferred medium for sculpture was wood. He felt and handled it with reverence which enabled him to execute his creative ideas from start to finish. And there was no need to interface with bronze casters or stone carvers. Avoiding bustle and idle conversations, he needed solitude to delve into the world of his thoughts and eternal quests. He felt strong but vulnerable in his solitude. But he still experienced most human emotions, which is evident in his works, seemingly created effortlessly. Perhaps that’s why they appeal to viewers and elicit admiration for the sculptor’s craftsmanship.