I sometimes envy the cinema, ballet, circus, or opera – genres with a large amount of direct dynamics, voice, sound, and changing lights. But that envy is not fatal because my profession has another unparalleled advantage – though quiet, our products are able to cause high levels of inner emotions; moreover, it is enough to just close your eyes or turn away from a work of art with little quality for it to disappear from your life. Also, in the movie theater, a concert or opera, you are forced to sit and watch for an hour or more until the value or worthlessness of the work becomes evident. Another unique advantage of drawing, painting, pottery and collage – I can always have my favorite original or its reproduction before my eyes, and it can bring joy to me and my loved ones. I can replace it, hide it for a year or for a few decades, and, if it is my own work, even destroy it. I have the right.
Soldier in an infirmary. 1978 There are about 10-15 paintings from the painting and drawing series“Soldiers in an Infirmary”. These characters do not belong to any particular front. I was interested in the paradox of human activity-passivity, when a man who’s ready for battle suddenly becomes ill or is injured, and is no longer fit for his great or stupid mission. Will the sick or injured soldier become psychologically distressed or happy? Is he still good for anything? Maybe he is now equal to a deserter? All the victims – the righteous and the unrighteous – become equal. They need equal care.
Martyr’s head propped on a stone. 1986 It is one of the Christian martyrs of the first centuries AD who were beheaded. The propping on a stone is my invention, but it has a realistic basis. It’s like the genesis of a still-life: a moment ago it was viva natura, and now it’s nature morte.