Mystical Realism


Writing about art of an artist is like interpreting the abstract idea, it is like trying to express the meaning of something much more nebulous and abstract; it is like trying to materialize in words something that is not material to begin with. And yet we have in front of us very concrete paintings that are quite material. What do they say? Where do they take us? What do they mean?

The art of K&K is not representational. It is not a still-life or a portrait or a landscape in traditional sense.  There are landscapes and city views, there are faces and there are objects on those canvases of course but they are not renditions of reality. What unites them all is exactly that — they take the perceiver of this art away from reality in terms of representation of reality.  One views an image of a city that is all crooked like reflection of the city in the water and then one realizes that the landscape has an idea that carried the viewer away, an idea that the city we are looking at is a fleeting image distorted by its reflection in the water broken into tiny bits and fleeing into eternity as a mirage.

What one actually sees on the canvas of K& K art is only a doorway to a mystical world beyond the canvas. The images on the canvas are simply invitations to the world beyond, a worlds of spiritual energy, a world of struggling deities, and a world of powerful forces tearing apart  human soul.  The subject matter of this art therefore is not a landscape or a portrait but rather the idea or a feeling which is evoked by the image on the canvas. A viewer is carried away when confronting this art, carried away to his/ her own interpretation of the images confronted with. For some a sea deity would evoke the spirit of adventure and never ending voyage like that of Odyssey, for others it would be a sense of boundless energy and affirmation of power, for still others the very same image would generate a feeling of fear and an acute sense of danger.

The key to understanding the art of K&K is that it is merely a door to another world, a world of mystical reality created in the mind of the viewer. Thus the perception and mental realization of the meaning of these images has more to do with the viewer than with the artist. The personae of the artist is manifested by it absence. In other words the artist does not cry out here I am, here is me, my art, my style, my contribution. In these paintings the artist says: I am not here, look into your own conscience, look into your soul,  that is what I am doing to you as an artist.

K&K art is about mysticism or rather mystical experience of a human soul. This art is deeply religious in the sense that its key theme is Man’s relation to God. God is manifested in this art in a variety of guises and forms. God is ever present. But it is not rendered as a concrete image as in Christian art. One will not find representations of God on K&K canvases. We can feel His presence, his power and his support or  His wrath but we do not see him.   As in Judaism and Islam, God is not to be represented.  As in Buddhism God is everywhere, reincarnated a million times.  As in Hinduism he appears in the from of many deities and spirits.

In K&K art God is everything and yet He not material. God is everywhere and yet the images we see are not representations of God. The secret in this art is in its taking us away from representations to a stream of consciousness that lifts us out of today’s reality into another world a world of our passions, desires, sins, secret cravings, a world of powerful feelings all mingled in bundles love and lust, generosity and stinginess, pride and vanity, gratitude and self-praise. The images we see are the bundles intertwining into one something that is entangled in our souls. We know we want to be good, we know we strive to God, and yet we also know that we may easily fall and be drawn to something we later shame ourselves for.

What is it in the art of K&K that creates this powerful imagery? Why is it penetrating the viewer’s innermost self? Where is the secret of its power? It is because we see ourselves in the images that this art evokes. Tt is because the artist does not show him/herself in these canvases but rather is opening our subconscious and draws us into an inner discourse about the meaning of life and the presence of God.

The style:

How is it possible to describe a style that is unique?  We are conditioned to think in comparisons. We are conditioned to define art in terms of schools and periods. We instinctively want to label it because it is easier to identify it and relate to it if it is categorized and catalogued. And so we say it is like Vrubel or it has elements of Klimt. K&K art indeed is like Vrubel,s in the sense that it is mystical and has many motives of fables and fairy tales.  It is like Klimpts’ in the sense that it is often two dimensional and the ornaments are an invitation to the feelings they hide.  It is like Malevich and Tatlin of Russian avant-garde in that the forms and the shapes we see are merely a cover for the inner meaning to be discovered and interpreted. And yet, despite these obvious similarities, this art is unique.  It combines within a harmony that makes it possible for the viewer to drift away into another dimension, seeking the enlightenment, seeking the communication with one-self and seeking God and his presence in everything we see and do.

– Prof. Vladimir Brovkin.

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