What struck us in Andrei Kolkotin’s art was the original, contemporary way he fitted into a tradition which seemed to us profoundly Russian. His iconography had the authentic, naive flavour of the popular imagery, the music from which Mussorgsky had borrowed the motifs of Pictures at an Exhibition, or Stravinsky
those of Noces or Petrushka, and the timeless grandeur of the icons. Moreover, his recalling of the audacious early 20th century work of the Constructivists and Suprematists paid homage to Russia's
contribution to modern art. Blending distant past and recent present, Kolkoutin simultaneously combined a traditional Russia that had virtually disappeared with a Russia at its most daring and progressive but that had long been stifled. He took up the threads once again, reviving the interrupted discourse. Like Malevich, Larionov, Goncharova or Chagall of the Vitebsk period or of the Jewish Theatre, he returned to the eternal Russia of his childhood, to his grandmother Baba Shura, to the little provincial town with its low-built houses and picturesque characters. The pure colours seemed to spring from peasant embroidery and Suprematist variations.
For his own part, the artist spoke only of his unique, personal appropriation, of borrowings that were universal. I know that simple things will always surround me, yet remain a mystery to me and this inspires my paintings and sets me free. Malevich, ancient Egypt, Russian icons are in my thoughts, yet at the same time I'm doing something individual, something which is my own.
Speaking thus, he placed himself solely within the creative process, unconcerned by trends, the market, the economic and political events which had given us access to that part of the artistic scene to which he belonged. Andrei Kolkotin left the circumstances of our discovery to the sociologists and the historians. In 1988, the critic Claudia Jolles gave this analysis, raising a fundamental question: is clear that the Soviet art world has reached a decisive breaking point. The more so in that the "Russian wave" is not merely a wave but rather a cultural environment hitherto cut off from artistic events in Europe and now, at last, accessible. Its existence is a reality that cannot be henceforth ignored. The key question is to know whether, at the present moment which we are witnessing, the head-on encounter between creative workfrom the West and from the East will produce fruitful interaction.