Rider with a Fan

1996, Oil on Canvas, Size: 39 x 32

Back in 1988, the headquarters of Ogonyok magazine held a scandalous exhibition that displayed modern art and offered public readings of modern art. Even though all publications were governmentally-owned at the time, Ogonyok (the Russian counterpart to Life Magazine) was given a bit more freedom than the others. Prior to the event, the Editor-in-Chief gave media interviews and vaguely spoke about democracy. During the actual exhibition, however, the Editor-in-Chief was noticeably absent. Tension escalated as television channels attempted to contact him, and his staff quickly retreated out of fear. Meanwhile, some TV crews were filming my paintings and one journalist asked what the images meant. I sarcastically responded, “If I wanted to share what I painted with words, I would have found a scrap of paper, sat down somewhere and wrote it all out.” At that moment, I broke the habit of explaining my paintings. Words can be interfering or obstructing to art – the interpretation should be quite clear unspoken.