Epigraph: I was born in the terrestrial body.
Spirit of mine, where are you from?
- How would you describe your creative activity?
- I would leave this complicated task to the art critics and historians. However, many of them have common opinion that my creative activity is a fusion of cultures, and of eastern and western traditions. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to focus my attention on the process of creation, which takes a lot of time. Creative impulse can be evanescent, but true oeuvre can only be created when such an impulse is continued for thirty or forty years.
- What are your sources of inspiration?
- My main source of inspiration is the ancient art of the East, but I am also searching for it in the contemporary European art. During my student years I have been closely studying the oeuvres of such French painters as Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. An amazing thing is that while each of them was pursuing his personal career of artist, he was also showing preference in some national culture in which he was particularly interested.
For example, Japanese prints and paintings were representing an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Monet and some other his coevals, while Matisse was taken away by an African art. Gauguin has spent many years in Tahiti what has profoundly influenced his oeuvres. None of them became a model for me, despite the fact that I am truly admiring all of them. I just followed their path, having chosen ancient art as starting point because in fact only this art is so profoundly original.
- How was the idea of the «1001» project born?
- The idea has appeared at the end of 90s, and the first ten angels were painted in 2010. Though, I can say that the angels have always been present on my paintings and this is why, the project “1001” is a logical continuation of my creative career. I have been preparing myself for this art-project for about forty years. One thousand and one more original personages who are at the same time a part of some single entity – this is the essence of my idea.
- What has become a source of inspiration for your painting «Thousand angels and one painting» from the point of view of topic and style?
-- The story line is based on the tales from «One thousand and one nights», but this painting has also another, more universal meaning. It is all about the East, the evil and the good, the world of fantasy and magic creatures, the world of guardian-angels. As to the style, I was working over it for many years. It is a result of a painstaking job, careful and in-depth examination of the ancient art of China and Central Asia. I have spent a lot of time at the Hermitage, looking through the catalogs, contemplating and studying relics and art samples from these regions. Numerous trips to the sites of ancient settlements that were located on the Great Silk Road, such as Turpan, Khotan, Afrosiab and Kucha, were also inspiring me. Beautiful wall-paintings remaining in these places are just like a poetic message, a song going from time immemorial. Each of these frescos is unique, but I am particularly interested in how many common roots they have, being in the same way laconic, bearing the same concise wisdom and containing the same symbols. It’s amazing how this kind of artistic synthesis could appear by virtue of interaction of peoples on the Great Silk Road, exchange of cultures and traditions. Oriental miniature painting which has significantly influenced my style, is also originated from this source, I believe.
- What sort of meaning or the message do you embed in the colors, lines and forms that you have selected? There must be a good reason, why even after a quick glance at the sketch terracotta and blue are first colors that you see?
- Terracotta is the symbol of earth, blue is the symbol of sky. I think this color choice bears some profound, sacral meaning, as in fact, the duet of «earth and sky» is a symbol of something real and tangible, contrasted to something spiritual and high. I also use turquoise very actively. It should be said that this semiprecious gem was very much valued in the epoch of the Great Silk Road. It was mostly extracted in the Mountainous Badakhshan, here, in Central Asia. For me, turquoise is the soul of these lands, poetry and the life itself. Lines and forms only support this feeling – my paintings have close links to the calligraphy, I always look for rich content of the images and poetic lines and I try to keep in my paintings only the elements which are truly important and meaningful.
- Why do you state that «Thousand angels and one painting» is an art-project and not a just a painting?
- It is a visual epos, a legend about one thousand and one angels who will raise high over the cities of Europe. The project «1001» is a metamorphosis and by no means a mosaic, as mosaics’ elements are not independent; meanwhile the angels have personal peculiarities. Initially, there was a sketch that I have divided on one thousand pieces in order to bring each of them to live. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s more than a simple painting? For me, it is an ancient song that will sound over the cities where my angels will be exhibited. Prague was one of the first to give its positive response and I think there is something special and predestined even in this fact.
- Angels, guardian-angels, guides to the world of light. Is philosophy your religion?
- I don’t think it should be so complicated. It is all about my internal impulse which doesn’t really have clear theoretical basis. I was searching for a long time; I have read so many books before having understood one day that the Book is inside me. The language of the heart cannot be understood by the mind. You should feel it. Ancient paintings have a code and if you want to understand it, you should listen to your soul and your heart. Understanding of this code may come only in the result of a continuous work. And this is when, simple imitation transforms into real process of creation.
- Does your painting have any special purpose or task? What feelings and emotions should it evoke in the souls of the spectators?
- As a rule, when you are working, you are not thinking about possible reactions of the public. The starting point is not the spectator, but the inner world of the painter. However, to be fair, I should say that you always rely on the instinct and intuition of those who will see the result of your work. I hope to be able to awaken aspiration of light in the people who see my paintings, to turn them to the essence and eternity. The purpose of my angels is probably to help people, to bring them relief and grant them hope. I wish everyone would choose his own guardian-angel from this multitude of the heavenly beings, and let this figure become his talisman, protection and source of warmth.
- Do you expect that your oeuvres will have a commercial success? And how do you think, it would be an indicator of a creative success, or may be vice versa?
- I believe that if I were thinking about commercial success, I would have never established myself as a painter. The artist, who allows him to be led by the public, kills his oeuvre. I am currently at the stage of my life when commercial success is even less important than ever and I do my work just as usual. I fully sacrifice myself to the art. I hate the night, as it is an obstacle for work and something you cannot avoid, and hate week-ends when I need color paints but the shops are closed. I suffer from insomnia as my mind is always absorbed by new ideas. I have just one inmost dream – to have once enough sleep.
- Do you have moments of crises and doubts? How clearly and exactly do you imagine the final result?
- I am tired. The end of the work over the project is approaching but there are still many things to do. Doubts do not impede my work because throughout forty years of experience I have worked out a confident manner of painting. A sketch is always ready in my head before being transferred to the canvas. To paint means to liberate and release an image, give it life. The work is going on and not only over this project. I am already occupied with thoughts about new paintings. This is my life – an eternal search of new artistic solutions, new ways of creation. This is a trip inside me.