Very little is known about Gavriil Lubnin. It is known, however, that he was born in Leningrad in 1969 and passed away in 2023. It is known that Lubnin’s drawings used to make waves across the country thanks to social media. It is also known that Lubnin was a painter, a poet, and a musician. On his personal website the artist described himself thus: ‘I paint, I draw, I build.’ The books of poetry by Lubnin are good examples of a synthetic genre blending poetry, graphic art and book design. Thin sheets of kraft paper, offhand drawings, and absurd two-line poems – a simple but spot-on combination which ultimately won him a cult following. Lubnin’s graphic series quench our contemporary’s thirst for urban folklore which now lives only on the Internet: his poems are often quoted, while his instantly recognisable style and the serial nature of his drawings turned them into a modern equivalent of the Russian popular prints known as lubok. The folklore spirit of Lubnin’s art was further enhanced by the artist’s rather unsociable lifestyle: he avoided interviews and seemed oblivious to his fame.
Erarta’s permanent collection features a number of Lubnin’s paintings. The artist used to work in the so-called Village of Artists (an informal St. Petersburg-based artist association), often resorting to his preferred oil on plywood medium to depict his favourite rural motifs – a self-portrait with a cat, a stray dog, or a still life. Perhaps these endearing scenes can tell much more about the artist than any interview could.