Plavinsky simultaneously distinguishes between two times - local, calendar time epitomised by a cathedral or a shed, and a timelessness, where an inchoate mesh of fish, lizards, turtles, butterflies, and bats are the inheritors of the earth, far more resilient and enduring than the fragile artefacts of the human hand.
John E. Bowlt, Dmitri Plavinsky, New York, 2000, p. 7.
Dmitri Plavinsky is a unique figure in the world of Russian unofficial art. His creative approach could be called 'cultural archaeology'. The themes of the artist's works include the spiritual richness of the cultures that have vanished or are on the verge of dying out, such as ancient relics, ruined antiquities, medieval religious artefacts and the mannerisms of post-Renaissance Europe.
In 1997-98, Plavinsky created a series of works entitled 'Italian Cycle', with the magical city of Venice at its heart. The decadent charm of the sinking town can be heard in Antonio Vivaldi's concertos The Four Seasons. Lost Violin (1998) is the embodiment of the organic combination of Plavinsky's three distinct systems: the use of 'archaeological' artefacts, objects from nature and printed matter (in this case, sheet music). The composition Lost violin is incredibly rich in symbolism. The feathers represent the autumn, the butterflies embody transient splendour and the figure of the saint from the nativity scene is a touching suggestion of a miracle to come.