About Michael Hazin
Michael Hazin was born in Odessa in the family of an artist and studied at the Mitrofan Grekov School of Art (1963–68). Odessa has given the world a dazzling array of remarkable writers, violinists and artists – the latter particularly actively in the early twentieth century, from the avant-garde (Nathan Altman, Samuel Adlivankin and Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné) to the veterans of Realism (Isaac Brodsky and Mitrofan Grekov). A battle-painter who sung the praises of the Red Army, Grekov gave his name to the college in Soviet times, even though artists of a much greater scale taught and studied there.
In Odessa, back then and as late as the 1960s, there was a special human type – now, unfortunately, mostly an extinct relict. Reflecting the specific status of Odessa as an international town and port, largely identified by the outstanding writers of the South Russian school of literature (from Isaac Babel, Yevgeny Petrov and Eduard Bagritsky to Mikhail Zhvanetsky) and the powerful narrative style of the traditional Odessa anecdote, this type was, by this time, more of a historical-cultural character. But there were, also, the real, live, outside-museum features of the Odessa character – the special liveliness, the enterprising spirit, the magical and often grotesquely forced joie de vivre. There was another side – an innate love of freedom, a responsiveness to Western trends and a traditional distrust of the authorities.
Michael Hazin was not indifferent to this behavioral pattern and Odessa gave “much room for growth”, i.e. for later on in life. Like many citizens of Odessa, he moved northwards, to Leningrad. In 1968, Hazin enrolled at the department of industrial art in the Vera Mukhina School of Art and Industry.
Michael Hazin received an excellent schooling – both in the sense of a broad professional and cultural outlook and in the sense of the academic skills of constructing form and the “madeness” of the work as an object. The very concept of “techno”, articulated at the department of industrial design, took root in his artistic consciousness. This theme reappeared many years later in the paradoxical, technicalized and simultaneously anthropomorphic images of the Pipes in Life series.
What the Vera Mukhina School of Art and Industry could not give Hazin, he himself found in museums. Most importantly, he mixed with a group of free-thinking artists in Leningrad and Moscow, who did not reconcile themselves to the oppression of the official art – Mikhail Shemyakin, Oleg Tselkov, Vladimir Yakovlev and Anatoly Zverev. The artist did not lose touch with Odessa and Odessa intellectual circles; he joined in the human rights movement and studied the foundations of national and religious life.
Emigration to Israel in 1972 was a logical and timely turning-point in Michael Hazin’s fate. After a natural pause, spending much time on getting used to this new life and culture, heading a silkscreen print studio in order to get back on his feet again, Hazin threw himself into the exhibition life of first Israel and then other countries. He showed that he was an artist of the European cultural tradition who freely orientated himself in a number of diverse creative movements, ranging from Impressionism to Hyperrealism and Pop Art. Yet he also had a feature that, to a certain extent, unites (and potentially transforms into a new quality) different stylistic trends. Hazin is fully armed with something only rarely encountered in modern art – academic mastery. He has no difficulties in visually implementing any task of a stylistic order. Yet he comprehends that outside a large-scale idea, outside a reflected, rich in content orientation, this implementation, albeit impeccable, remains a technical matter, even a matter of craftsmanship.
Author: Dr Alexander Borovsky, Honored Art Critic of Russia
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