Figures by Tabenkin are not just «preparatory sketches» for easel work, they are much more — they are a whole language that the artist invents for his world of still lifes. Moreover, this language exists as a harmonious system. The figures appear before us as some kind of pictograms, symbols, hieroglyphs of a new language.
So far, we can only figure out only a part of this language: these are birds as symbols of music, and men in dramatic poses as symbols of different characters, these are antique columns and amphoras as symbols of architecture and household items. But many other interesting figurines-pictograms remain unsolved. In fact, the artist invents his own language, in much the same way as the famous John Ruel Tolkien invented the elvish language for his world.
But if for Tolkien his worlds are a literary space for new fairy tales and epics, then still lifes by Ilya Tabenkin are, first of all, a space for new theatrical and musical performances performed through painting. The table turns into a stage, draperies into decorations, and figures into actors, music and even the audience!