Do hurry to inhale the aroma of true love

This autumn, Minsk has enjoyed a wealth of exhibitions, including Zabor, at the National Art Museum, and Dialogue of Epochs: Interpretations at the Leonid Shchemelev City Art Gallery

This autumn, Minsk has enjoyed a wealth of exhibitions, including Zabor, at the National Art Museum, and Dialogue of Epochs: Interpretations at the Leonid Shchemelev City Art Gallery.
By Alexander Vetrov

This autumn, Minsk has enjoyed a wealth of exhibitions, including Zabor, at the National Art Museum, and Dialogue of Epochs: Interpretations at the Leonid Shchemelev City Art Gallery. Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Fine Arts is holding a personal exhibition by People’s Artist of Belarus Vladimir Tovstik.

opening.pngAmong these projects and exhibitions, works by Zoya Lutsevich stand apart in Mikhail Savitsky’s Art Gallery, which is a severe, symbolic and serious place.

The exhibition is called Aroma of Love. Do you feel discord?

All eleven canvases depict flowers, so the theme is not new. Few painters have failed to explore this subject but some things distinguish this exhibition from others.

Under each canvas stand special metal vessels on podiums, holding an aroma, so that visitors can indulge their sense of smell as well as sight. Some argue or joke on sniffing the vessels; others rub their eyes in wide-eyed astonishment, and start to smile. They approach the canvases, peering and inhaling the fragrance before them. It’s a peculiar thing to watch. Many appear disoriented.

paint2.pngZoya explains, “Oleg Vyglazov — a well-known perfumer and Candidate of Chemical Sciences, as well as a member of the New York Academy of Sciences — has invented exclusive perfumes for the Aliev family, for singer Irina Ponarovskaya and for many other famous people. He has invented the perfumes for our Minsk exhibition, despite being a tsar in his business. His studio is like the workshop of an alchemist, with huge glazed cases of flasks, hundreds of small bottles and various phials. All are filled with something, emitting strange and exciting smells. We chatted and, perhaps, he liked me because I listened to him with such interest. Then, I showed Oleg my works and asked him to allow me to use his perfumes for the exhibition.”

“He thought it over and offered to create eleven aromas, for each of my canvases. I could never have afforded them usually, but creative people sometimes make generous gestures. Each work is inspired by nature in summer and, although I’ve been using acrylic paints for nine years, I returned paint.pngto oils for these works. It was such a delight and pleasure. I was so carried away by the process that I hardly thought about the result. Some canvases show bouquets: in the evening or morning, or with an aspect joyful, sad, sorrowful or mysterious... In truth, all are about love!” Zoya admits.

The canvases show peonies, bluebells, lilies and roses: the blooms look back silently, exhaling their invisible aroma. I rather think that the canvases speak for themselves and that it’s better to imagine the appropriate fragrances, since we must all have our own idea of what a flower smells like. However, the artist disagrees, saying, “The strongest memories are always connected with smell. A fragrance can suddenly come from nowhere and conjure memories. Each time we fall in love, we associate it with a smell. You may find a person beautiful, clever or talented but it’s impossible to love them unless you also enjoy their fragrance. We have so many sayings associated with smells too. It’s a very intimate thing.”

Lutsevich has several expressive wooden sculptures on show also but do hurry to see the paintings. Who knows how long the fragrances will last!
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