Victor would have turned 37 years old on September 28, 2014. His life was tragically terminated due to a driver’s mistake in one of Almaty streets on August 15, 2006. Not reaching his thirties, he left behind the artistic, literary, philosophical, scientific research works and legend in his own name, which would be enough to create dozens of movies, books and scripts - both on the basis of his work, and about himself.
"He always organized the most unusual exhibitions-opening days in Almaty. His performances were wild, bright, bristling with energy, colour, sound and word. People attended these performances, suffering from the long queues in the stuffy art galleries and they stayed there for long time. Since the people instinctively understood: here is the real art on the edge, the Art of Life... The journalist Azhar Sabralieva wrote this words just two weeks after his death in one of the journals, after the opening of exhibition, which was organized by his friends: Kartun Valera, Olga Kubatina, Olga Gumirova, Yerzhan Ashim, Irina Petrovna Yuferova, Anatoly Pukhalskiy, Masha Khalanskaya, Larisa Aryutkina, Elvira Garnysheva, Irina Chichikova, Askhat Khalilova, in honour of the Victor’s birthday on August 28, 2016. Victor Prostakov died just 13 days before his 29th birthday. He got into the featureless statistics of road accidents and the news about his death shocked his family and friends.
Digits, numbers, his own predictions - all was on the verge of the mystical horror. And the courage. The remaining live collected paintings, manuscripts, memoirs and organized an exhibition on his birthday at the contemporary art centre. When did they manage this? How could they so accurately preserve his style?
There was everything: the pictures in the "Eurodesign" frames and without the frames at all, attached one above the other on a piece of cloth, and painted plastic curtains, and abstruse Victor’s quotes, poems, and prepared Ritual fire at the entrance: Lacked only Victor, his bright blush and joking "Well, praise me, praise".
We do praise him. The works of Victor Prostakov are not opportunistic, not that suitable for the interior, but they are esoteric, full of philosophy and deep sense. They are not for the moving sight, but for the mind, for the Spirit. Go around all the exposition, and then always come back to "your own" picture, that holds you for hours. You look at it, breathe it, want it. There are others: look at those, getting embarrassed - what a painted mess, and then you realize that those were "social attitudes", "tunnel vision of consciousness" outraged in you. Then you smile: Victor again cut a piece of social mask, freed the present. "I'm not a poet,"-he used to say, "but I draw the poetry, I’m not an artist, while telling pictures. I'm not a philosopher, since I don’t have an angry wife. I am Nobody, no matter what people say about me. I deserved this title a long time ago, in the circles which are not so remote, all my writings are shit, I screw it. But listen to some stories about the fountain of roses fragrance, about not interrupted flight of my tongue in the dream world". He wrote about himself in Ten romantic stories.
He also wrote extensively about life and the death, about the spirit, the city and flowers. Now it is hard to read all this. Solid metaphysics: man became invisible, weightless, but his pictures and words became incredibly significant, important. Straight road to the gallery of Almaty wonders, stand in the round dance after Kalmykov, Shayziya, Maslov:
Yellow-eyed streets, grey houses,
I'm coming back to you,
The words are woven with the Grass
And rocks and foam of falling down
No me, I look at the
Vsevolod Demidov, one of the most famous artists of Almaty and the master of performance, shares his memories about Victor:
- It was interesting to watch him working. I saw that guy had no school, no knowledge. I even tried to tell him something. In principle, this position is close to me, because I also don’t build any anatomy myself. The most important is the spirit, to reflect the power of spirit in works. Victor, of course, had this in abundance. The power of the spirit, inner energy. Qi, as Chinese called it. It largely overwhelmed its shortage of academic knowledge. He worked very hard as an artist. His progress was observed: the artistic quality grew and grew from some self-madeness, independence.
The last exhibition, which he organized in Umai Gallery, showed his great leap. I especially liked his graphic works. I saw my own influence in them, and Vitya never concealed that. When you have a lot of interaction, you can't get away from it. I myself (others talked me about this) was influenced by Vitya too. I promised him to be the curator, organizer of his exhibition. And then somehow decided to arrange a joint exhibition with him.
We held it in the Voyager Gallery of Irina Petrovna Yuferova. It was in November of 2003. Vitya was the author of the concept, the exhibition called The Sanctuary. It was fun to exhibit together, but as artists we were very different. I even felt some discomfort. Vitya had his own circle of lovers, audience, fans, while I had my own. I was even a little bit sad to watch how my audience, coming in and seeing what was going on, even left - Vitya showed such a performance at the exhibition, got into such a rage “Oh, dear!”: songs, dances, water flew in all directions.
- So they were disappointed to see you in this situation?
- No, no. I just wanted to talk to these people, as it usually happens at the opening of exhibitions, but never got that opportunity. Maybe they were afraid, or experienced some discomfort. Finally, they left. Then it's all over, of course, and I do not regret that this exhibition was held. Even then, in the course of the exhibition, I decided to make a simple master-class. I brought some stuff, and me and Vitya, coming to the exhibition everyday, drew, chatted with the audience. It was all good.
- Seva, I wonder if creativity of Vitya looked as dabbling comparing to the professional artists work?
- Only a superficial person can call it dabbling, who only pays tribute to the formal side of creativity and does not feel the internal energy of his work. If a person has a torch lit inside, then it is very difficult to put it out. While Vitya had the most powerful thermonuclear reactor there. A lot of everything raged in him. His energy was enough for many things: he wrote scientific texts, poems, prose, philosophical treatises, painting and graphics. For me, Victor is a very strong, bright, original artist. He is clearly seen at the art territory of Almaty. He had a direction: he wanted , wanted, wanted. And he had a way out: he did it.
- And how Vitya concerned about politics?
- Oh, Victor, of course, was such a character - sharp on the tongue. It was even funny to me: often he made categorical judgements having some limited information, up to the very top. A granny whispered something somewhere, and he took it at face value, and built a building based on this. That was awesome.
- Did this reflect in his works?
- No, it didn’t. There are more deep and eternal themes in his works. The soul, heart, peace, mystery, some kind of mystic. There are a lot of sun, mountains in his works. Love, of course. A lot of erotic works. All of his pictures are full of giving and fertilizing power. Such global things were interesting to him. While this is minutely: today one in power, tomorrow - another. In my opinion, it was not interesting to focus on such things for him. It wasn’t just the source for him, he didn’t drink water from there.
Zikr on the water
Irina Petrovna Yuferova, the iconic art historian, critic and creator of the Voyager gallery:
- Documents, a diploma, a certificate about that some teachers gave anyone the right to do art - it's not a factor, it is not a joke, well, this is not the proof of talent. The fact that Victor, of course, is the creator, author, artist, who constantly produced various ideas on his own - it is real. So the proof of this is the physically very consuming research related to petroglyphs, and, of course, his paintings and drawings. When he is gone, he was not yet twenty-nine, while the number of his works amounted to hundreds.
Not every grey-haired artist can boast so many. Vitya spilled his ideas very vigorously. He was the same in life. He taught everyone to live, he actively tried to share his views: how to eat, how to treat the world, how you should act. His paintings are so brutal, rough, nervous, spontaneous. But strong and stylish at the same time. There is a uniqueness, there is absolutely nothing similar to anybody and to anything. Vitya - is not the latest phenomenon in our culture. Stylish character. His passion, devotion to art amaze me.
Olga Gumirova, journalist, archaeologist-volunteer, a member of the group climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:
- Vitya, first of all, was the philosopher and the esoteric. As Viktor Tsoi through the songs, he tried to transfer his ideas to people through his paintings. When I first met him, he was a fifteen-year-old pink-cheeks boy. However he already formed as a philosopher by that time. At sixteen he published the book The Land of Pure People. And later he simply perfected his concept in the other two books - The Tip of Powers and Energy-Sociology. At this age, he lectured, receiving fees, albeit tiny. He bought the first paint with this money. There were women among the audience, who kissed the hem of his clothes, they thought he was initiated into the secret knowledge.
- What was the purpose he arranged his shows or performances at the shows with?
- Those were shamanic actions. Displaying his paintings to the world, he created a ritual, which the audience could participate in. It is included in his philosophy.
- How did he found the passion for petroglyphs?
- His first trip was related to our archaeological expedition to Kulsay in 1996. These were the excavation of the burial grounds. I remember, he refused to dig not to disturb and not to desecrate the graves. After a short break he started to constantly join us. To Seriktas, Asy, Tasbas, Bayanzhurek, Karatau, Koksu, Begash, Terekty, Anrahai. During the ten years he visited a lot of places with us, and he was one of the main actors.
He got the passion for the petroglyphs after Seriktas. This place is near Tamgaly, in the Chu-Ili mountains. Then he got an idea that all those pictures on the rocks had sacred meaning and were part of shamanic cults. He felt an urge to unravel the mysteries of ancient petroglyphs. Even doctor of historical sciences Aleksey Nikolaevich Maryashev accepted some of his interpretations, with all the differences in views.
Vitya loved to play such a simple carelessness guy. In fact, he was a very organized person. And if he chose a topic, he developed it to the end. He wanted to write a book about every ancient sanctuary, petroglyphs of which he rendered. But so far he only could prepare a manuscript about Seriktas. I think we will find sponsors and publish this work. In addition, the Institute of archaeology published five or six books that used petroglyphs drawing made by Vitya.
- Olga, please tell me, why Azhar called him a prophet? Is it true, that he had disciples in his sixteen?
- We met with Vitya on the Sunny glade, where the members of the Rose of the World association gathered in the summer of 1993 on weekends. Even then, the charming boy with a bright blush on the cheeks was on special account in the esoteric coterie. Some people were afraid of his sharp view and sharp tongue. Despite his young age, Victor was considered as one of the most powerful of bioenergetics. That summer Vitya read the cycle of his lectures for the first and last time. There were full houses gathered to listen him at the Zoological and Veterinary Institute.
The meetings were focused on the new direction in esotericism - the philosophy of Contact. There were spontaneous actions and mysteries, awaken clairvoyance, hidden reserve capacities of the organism, healing powers. Later Victor withdrew from crowded lectures because of the unhealthy excitement of some of the most ecstatic audience. I remember, after one of the meetings a lady of solid age and with not less solid body shapes dropped to her knees before him and started kissing his hands and clothes. There were whispers behind his back - this is the new Messiah. He was attacked by people seeking to heal or solve problems, so, they asked for miracle. Vitya did not like this seriously, because this went contrary to the ideas that he preached. So he switched to training in personal private conversations, realizing the futility of mass propaganda of the secret doctrines.
- It happens that perception changes over time. Has anything changed in your awareness of the Victor’s identity after so many years after his tragic death?
- Vitya was and remains a Human-Ocean for me. Outside, the carefree play of waves under a light breeze, he is such a bright carefree boy-festival, while inside - the abyss with the lost treasures at the bottom, lost ships, sorrows, love, flooded ancient city of hopes and unknown, unseen beings. Something inexplicable and incomprehensible even to himself was happening in this infinite universe all the time. While paintings, poems, stories - this is the attempt to pass the information which he received from God knows where, to convey his thoughts and feelings to people.
Paintings of Victor Prostakov
Photos are from the archives of his friends