Francisco Infante-Arana

4 June 1943, Vasilievka Village (Saratov Oblast)

Infante-Arana is the son of a Spanish Republican émigré and a Russian mother. He has lived in Moscow since 1946. He studied at the Moscow Middle Art School for especially gifted children during 1956-1962, and then spent the next four years in the department of monumental painting at the Stroganov Moscow Higher Industrial Art School. He is one of the founders of kinetic art in Moscow. Between 1962 and 1968 he was an active member of a group of artists who called themselves the Movement (Dvizhenie) Group in 1964. Under that name, the Russian kinetic artists held numerous shows, which exhibited Infante’s geometric abstract panels and objects. He left the group in 1968 and has since been working together with his wife, Nonna Goriunova. They announced the creation of the group ARGO (combining Arana and Goriunova) in 1970. They created in large form 8 of the 11 kinetic objects they had planned for urban environments (primarily on the territory of closed military industrial institutes). They are all now lost. One of these complex kinetic and light installations constructed on public space, at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements in Moscow, was taken down the next day on orders of the authorities. Francisco Infante and Nonna Goriunova live and work in Moscow. Their sons, Pakito and Platon, are also artists. In the mid-1970s, Infante started elaborating an original idea, the artifact. Infante’s artifacts represent the interaction of an artificial object of geometric form, usually made of mirrored foil stretched over light wooden construction, with the natural environment. The character of the interaction—from complete merging into each other to sharp conflict—is caught on camera. Infante was the first Russian artist to switch completely from traditional art media to photography, yet he does not consider a photograph as a self-standing art object but rather a document of the artifact event. He was also the first to show his works in slide shows, a clever way of getting around censorship on exhibitions. The artist never resorts to montage in creating the complex geometrical compositions in the landscape. Many of the artifacts are allusions to the Russian avant-garde of the early twentieth century, primarily to the works of Kazimir Malevich, for whom Infante, of all the contemporary Russian artists, has the highest regard.