Philosophical implications

Vyacheslav Zakharinsky, the famous Belarusian painter, stands out from his contemporaries due to his original style and manner of painting. He is driven by impressions from his contemplations, searching for his artistic beauty in the surrounding world. All this is easily seen at his personal exhibition, which has opened at the National Art Museum.
By Victor Mikhailov

Around 70 of his canvases are showcased in the gallery. The exhibition is very light and fancy, due to the abundance of bright colours and interesting characters, but visitors will feel the artist’s works don’t address them directly. His works are directed towards the author himself and his internal ‘self’. One understands that this is a series of contemplations with a brush.

Mr. Zakharinsky was born in Mogilev Region’s Glusk. After finishing Minsk’s Art College, he entered the Belarusian Theatre and Art Institute. As a student, he participated in both Republican and international exhibitions. His works attracted attention in the 1990s because of the unusual interpretation of the author.

Each painter has subjects in which they reflect their attitude towards the world, as well as their philosophical and aesthetic views. Mr. Zakharinsky can be described as ‘chatty’. He develops any topic in dozens of ways, leading to the appearance of whole pictorial cycle, although they are so different that, at first sight, it may seem that they don’t have any common features.

His Rats (1976-1989), Pharisees (1989-1990), Sinners (1990-1991) and Saints (1990-1991) gravitate towards contemplation while giving the feeling of ‘black and white’ and that it always lives with us, an important feature of the artist’s outlook.

The Connecting Tie of Times is a multi-layered work, whilst the Ladies cycle is dynamic, brief and omits the details. In most cases, portrait painting is a generalised image, but in The Unknown Acquaintance and Born by the Beauty, the artist freely communicates with the model.

Zakharinsky’s works across the years are united by the features, in the author’s nature. His temperament and individual peculiarities, along with his philosophical approach, enable him to rethink and synthesise different styles and traditions in his creativity, which is in constant development.

What is the philosophy of your works?
Philosophy? It would be easy if I could explain everything in just one word. I envy those painters who can define the philosophy of their creative activity this way. However, probably, this one word does exist. This is love: love towards life, towards people and God. We’ve come here to know the earthly life and human essence, and I’d like to reflect the beauty of this divine creature through this. I’m keen on many things.

From time to time, I ‘develop’ the image of a woman, especially when I experience some emotional charge. I have whole cycles called ‘Nu’, ‘A Lady’ and various plastic performances can be seen there. Why? I’ve been always attracted by many plastic solutions. A painter is like a child, and creativity is like a game for them, a game with forms and moods. It may seem like a joke, but it’s very serious. This is a great feature, to preserve childish spontaneity and the fascination in the study of form and colour, whilst being an adult.

Whatever our attitude towards the word ‘beauty’ is, we did not invent this word. It was created by the divine presence. A person and nature are endowed with beauty. There is external and internal beauty and there is also a harmony of beauty which combines both. Art, including painting, is engaged in the synthesis of beauty and harmonies.

Art is very important. My goal as a painter is to grasp the heights of this idea. The picture should possess powerful energy and radiate this beauty. What can attract attention and make them think and rejoice, or arouse the feelings of disappointment and empathy. Everything is subject to a work of art, which appeals to the notion of beauty, though many philosophers say that we shouldn’t use this word, as we begin to idealise this beauty. I want to say that beauty, for me, is one of the major notions in life, and a strong work of art is harmony of true beauty.

How have you come to such understanding of art? Not immediately?
Of course! One can’t be born a philosopher, and everything comes with experience. Therefore, when making mistakes, studying and researching definite laws of the surrounding world, we acquire the skills which help shape our world outlook, philosophical understanding of life and beauty. There are two questions in art to which the artist has to give answers: what do you depict and how do you depict it? These are the elements which determine the value of artworks. The thought, concept and level of mastery are all very important. If these are present, then something worthy is being born. If these are absent, one can blame a headache, weakness or bad weather but this is no excuse. What I’m going to write is my top priority, followed by mastery and professional level.

The fantasies of a less ‘masterful’ painter always come to the fore, as they are interested in what maybe hasn’t been created skilfully. Meanwhile, it’s the original idea which is really important. Let’s take the example of Marc Chagall, with his original ideas. He didn’t attach much importance to the mastery of performance, although he was a true professional. However, he is established as a world painter. Vice versa, there are wonderful masters who are able to skilfully paint a portrait or a landscape, yet there’s no great idea there, no fantasy or great sense. The artwork doesn’t live because it lacks the most vital concept — why was it created? Maybe this is why mastery faded into insignificance as cameras appeared. One needs to know what they shot, what they show, what is the idea and the essence. Only then, should the painter think how these all look like. This is my opinion.

Do you write with your soul?
How can I not think about the soul? A person needs to feel that his soul is alive. Otherwise, there’s no need to grow bread, build a house or create art. The soul is always at the front and assists the painter. The brain may work, but should always be accompanied by the soul. Thought and soul should be in harmony. They work together.

You can be hardly called a realistic painter in the full sense of this word. Do you want people to understand what you’ve depicted or let they think what they want?
The time has come when there’s no need to use such notions as ‘realist’ or ‘abstractionist’. Why? People have become so informed and prepared and life has become so universal and diverse, that today one picture may combine the elements of realism, abstractionism and avant-garde.

Authors have become so universal that there’s no need to determine if they are realistic or abstract. If you want to ask what I like more — recognisable realistic or abstract solutions in the work — I’d answer that everything is determined by the thought, by the idea. Of course, when a picture is considered, the style of performance is also determined. It may have only realistic or conventional elements. Everything has become universal.

As a painter, I’ve always been drawn by the highest level of mastery, professional and performance. A painter should possess mastery in order to use various pictorial methods in his pictures. Like a musician, one needs to be a virtuoso! In order to reach the highest levels of the professionalism, one needs to learn from the old masters. It’s important to attend museums and learn. Then it will be easy to fulfil any idea.

What do you see the most important in your creativity?
Everything is important in my pictures. I can’t accentuate one aspect. The whole process of creativity consists of equal components. For me, everything is vital, even the mood with which you go to the studio. Like life doesn’t have trivial aspects, everything is interlaced and has meaning.

Which plans do you have now? What new things would you like to realise in your works?
I ask God that he helps me open the world of interesting ideas. An idea is the most important and the birth of the picture starts when interesting ideas come.

What is the artistic credo of Vyacheslav Zakharinsky?
I’d like to penetrate into the essence of human existence as deeply as possible: a person and life, a person and the surrounding world, a person and the people who live close to you. I aim to understand the truth of the divine idea: a person and the universe, a person and love.

Did your roots — your small homeland — have a meaning for your creative contemplation?
Of course I do. I say this: ‘My small homeland, my dear Glusk, my dear land’. I was born in beautiful Glusk, located by the beautiful River Ptich, among nature and kind people. All this gave me my humanity. I’m confident that everything starts with human upbringing. We come into our profession with an established human character.
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