“Lyubasha and the Wolf” is the never-ending story of an innocent girl and a dreadful beast, love and death, art and the artist. This story is told in pictures, of course, and Viktor Kuznetsov does a wonderful job of it. He certainly knows how the years, cities and countries fly by, but Lyubasha and the Wolf are as inseparable as always.

The art of Viktor Kuznetsov is a refined art of transformation. An image always readily becomes a different one. The wolf might appear as a savage beast, or might turn into a protector. As we all know, the hero himself isn’t good or bad; everything depends on the role allotted to him by history, and history itself is like a werewolf.

 “And when did this all start?” you may ask. In school, of course! All the pupils gather round Kuznetsov. He is drawing, and it is a miracle of transformation. Viktor is a magician who turns images into something else. Here an author’s portrait in the literature textbook changes into the wolf from the cartoon, here a street girl turns into the erotic Lyubasha, here Viktor Kuznetsov becomes Gipper Puper.

Viktor Kuznetsov is a visionary artist. Fantasy is not just a motionless picture, but a story to take the spell off of. Love awoke and overpowered the Wolf. “She killed Gipper P.”, the artist signs under the picture. Love smote Gipper P., and he tells the story posthumously, like in a movie. Like in a movie when the words are heard off screen, “For my death you should blame…”. Like in a movie, two frames are juxtaposed: Lyubasha and Gipper Puper, struck in his very heart; he is also Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin; he is also Viktor Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov’s erotic art tells a story influenced by film and animation. This art sometimes resembles the Eros of the ancient Greeks, sometimes the Eros of the Romans, but the stamp of Walt Disney and the Lumière brothers is always obvious. The story and its composition are cartoon cuts.

History is changeable; it rewrites itself. So Viktor says that the title of the picture is a gift to the viewer. The viewer, looking at it, creates his own story and gives it a name himself. As the gift bestowed upon the artist, such is the gift he gives the viewer: feast your eyes, let your imagination run, and make up a name! Give a name to your love!



As any schoolchild knows, the ancient Greek god of love was called Eros. Eros is not just one of the gods, but Aphrodite’s companion and helper. He is a liaison between the gods, between the gods and heroes, and between the heroes and people. He is the force that rules the world. And it’s not by accident that Eros is most often paired with Psyche. Love and the Soul that is captivated by it are inseparable. Without Eros there is no Psyche, without Lyubasha there is no Gipper Puper, and without Gipper Puper there is no Wolf.

Without Eros there is no art, and for art the ancient Greeks used the word techne, technique. Eros awakens technique, and there is no Eros without technique. The artist Viktor Kuznetsov picks up… no, not a paintbrush, and not a pencil, but a cutter.

And so this cutter runs across white cardboard, glides, traces the field of white. White on white all around, no matter how hard you look. But the lines of history have already been drawn. Such is fate. Lines, curves, turns… isn’t a dash in the lines the work of Eros’ hands?! And isn’t that an image being born, invisible at first, under the violent pressure of the cutter?! There he is, the Eros of technique! Here it is, the technique of Eros! Eros leads the cutter, opening the flesh of the cardboard slightly with a pointed tongue, baring the elegant line of grace beneath himself.

Next comes the moment of the paint. A black tube appears over the white field. The black oil spreads over the white. The painter’s fingers caress the cardboard, pushing the black into the slits. It was white as white – now black as black. And now comes the time for a white rag to wipe off the paint that didn’t get into the cuts. Now the lines stand out brilliantly! Now the invisible has been made visible! Now the Wolf has appeared, and Lyubasha too.

The artist halts the engraving process at the matrix stage. In a time when images are infinitely reproducible and copied, he maintains an aura of singularity. Such is the technique Viktor Kuznetsov has invented for himself.


If one artist works with reiteration, another works with uniqueness. So it turns out that Andy Warhol’s shoes repeat themselves infinitely, while Viktor Kuznetsov’s little shoes are as inimitable as Cinderella’s glass slipper. Each shoe is unique, even if it is repeated on the same page.

Viktor Kuznetsov’s shoes are magical. Each of them gives birth to its own image. Mickey Mouse is peeking out of one, Captain Jack Sparrow is pushing out of another, a third becomes a bowl to hold a skull, the fourth is being gracefully embraced by Lyubasha, a flower is blooming out of the fifth, and just the sixth buxom one topples over under its weight.

The shoes are sprouting images. The shoes lay themselves open to images. The power of Eros is in the magical slippers.

Hundreds of Viktor Kuznetsov’s shoes are reposing in shoeboxes. And you can’t say that there are two of a kind. The artist himself associates this love of slippers, boots, and shoes with his great-grandfather, his grandfather, and yes, his own father – with a dynasty of shoemakers. Oh, the familiar scent of leather and glue!

Of course, we couldn’t manage without Eros here, either. He is hovering over the slippers and heels and boots and shoes. Eros is persistent and stubborn. As Viktor Kuznetsov says with a smile, “Shoes are my life.” Eros, of course, is life! Who would know better than Lyubasha and the Wolf.


Viktor Mazin