Outside the act of creative revelation all talk about morality in art and its ideology (ideological commitment) are not only senseless but also immoral because they lead us astray from the very essence of art, from its content conveyed through form, which alone carry ideas and morality, beauty and pain, and all else that is incorporated into an all-embracing notion of "art" as a means of comprehending and expressing the world.
It goes without saying that everything (or much) in art is determined by the nature of the artist's talent. But when an artist first conceives a picture and then looks for the most expressive form to convey his conception he inevitably becomes an illustrator of his own pre-conceived worldview (his idea). In this case the form ceases to be a tool of knowledge and revelation and becomes just a servant that you resort to when necessary. With such an approach art is no longer a means of cognition and expression but an illustrator of commonplaces. Whatever lofty ideological considerations the author may be guided by this method is destructive and would lead him into a blind alley, for it destroys the very nature of artistic creativity as a special way of cognizing the world.
We can see two distinctive trends in art: the art of craftsmanship and craftsmanship in art. Craftsmanship becoming an art is achieved with modern technologies where one and the same device is reiterated and perfected to the point of virtuosity (such as we see in turnery and metal work.) And in that lies their main purpose. Real art is based on the Spirit – it cannot be multiplied and it only gives birth to inimitable forms, which lose their meaning outside the Spirit.
When I'm trying to understand the cause of my unease and apprehension facing the kaleidoscope of the endlessly changing artistic devices and concepts in contemporary art, which destroy and ignore the past achievements, I come to the following conclusion: this approach is essentially the result of a fragmentary perception of the world. This art is not constructive because it contains no "constants" but treats "variables" as absolutes. This is an egotistic art of "one-day butterflies".
Today the most pressing problems, in my view, are of a general nature. Talent remains unclaimed – this is a fact. Art is undergoing an active process of commercialization. As a result, art criteria (evaluation) are getting increasingly blurred. It's imperative to restore to art its genuine spiritual essence. It's necessary to get rid of worldliness, simple reporting, false significance, and such like.
We were persuaded, first at college and then by various exhibition organizers, to depict life "in the forms of life itself". This requirement, which has become a tradition, actually renounces the very subject of art and its nature, its inherent essence. Everything has been reduced to the maximally life-like depiction of visual reality. In actual fact the essence is quite the opposite: reality should be the starting point for penetrating the essence. It was not for nothing that the ancients said: "The further from nature the nearer to it."
Art is an ability to love and be open to the world. It is thanks to this ability that art unites people with its supreme creative joy. I'll try to express myself more precisely. At some point I clearly realized that hatred separates people while love brings them together, because it compels a person to open up. And then I understood what Alexander Blok meant when he said that only a person in love has the right to be called a human being. He meant it in a broad sense, the broadest, in fact. Only through this ability to love can we attain a creative potential and our life becomes meaningful inasmuch as we are capable of creation. Hence is what determines my attitude to art not so much as a profession but mainly as a state of my spirit. For all that there are professional criteria of judgment, of course, and points of departure. But my road towards such awareness and such vision has been long and arduous.
Art should not be viewed in terms of pessimistic and optimistic. The fact of its appearance as such is life-affirming, even if it renounces life.
Art is not a profession but a worldview, and its nature determines the appropriate forms of expression – this is how I understand it. My creative problems arise from the need to establish plastic, rhythmic, and other connections to achieve an overall organic perception of the world. The objective world becomes dematerialized in an art work and is translated into the language of visual presentation with its laws of light, rhythms and color. This creates a duality of the real and the irreal. And it is this duality that I work with. On the one hand, this method enables me to broaden my own perception of the subject world, and on the other hand, it helps me reveal the universal essence in most diverse phenomena uniting them into a single entity which is realized through me in a picture.
The true reality for me is the spirit of creative energy (reflecting the light of the Heavenly essence of world creation) since we have all been created after His image and likeness… So for me a work of art is realistic inasmuch as it accumulates the spirit of this creative energy rather than the work's likeness to the visually perceived world.
I understand "holy essence" as what makes all the living things alive and life-giving (creating life). Art, as a God-given gift, is a reflection of that heavenly light and its creative and spiritual energy. In my opinion, this should be the only point of departure and criteria for a humanist and creative position. The rest is from the Devil. It's not easy to follow this principle, for it is assumed that you yourself live and act according to this principle. However, I believe that following this way art may fulfill its mission to become a creative and spiritual bridge among people.
"In poetry what can be put in other words is not poetry." (Marina Tsvetaeva) So what about visual arts where the medium is not the word? Each attempt to put a picture into words produces a story from which the spirit had evaporated. The thing is that a genuine work of art is always multi-dimensional, as life itself which it expresses. Any excerpt - and this is what a retelling actually is – makes the work one-dimensional. And all is lost. Each work of art (a painting) is an energetic field arising as a result of an interaction among all the participating elements: rhythm, light, colors, space, etc. I think we perceive the world with all our being and not only through words.
Talent is the only novelty which is always new. They say a picture is like an icon. But you can't rely on God alone. You have to be able to paint a good icon. The living icons and paintings oppose dead icons and paintings.