The Perfect Moment
Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented an exhibition of photographs by Sergey Tolmachyov convincingly demonstrating that the perfect moment is always preceded by meticulous work
Founder of an art form called liquid art – a technique that involves extreme close-up photography of water drops using high-speed equipment
Intricate and fanciful forms that seem to have frozen before the camera lens
‘Splashes’ painstakingly crafted without resorting to computer-generated imagery
It would be safe to call Sergey Tolmachyov the absolute creator of his artworks, the latter being the product of time-consuming and painstaking work rather than simple photo editing as one might initially assume. Like a sculptor, he works on his own, crafting from scratch the ‘splashes’ he then proceeds to skilfully photograph. Many hours are spent shaping each drop in a particular way, and the resulting perfect shot takes dozens of shutter releases. According to the artist, all this is done to see the water ‘transform into whimsical plants, psychedelic mushrooms, imaginary jellyfish and butterflies that seem to have stepped out of a colourful dream to pose before the camera for a fraction of a second.’ Tolmachyov, however, is not just a sculpting photographer, but an engineer. The equipment required to turn drops of water into full-fledged sculptures (multiple supports, containers, special attachments, and so on) is also made by the artist, sometimes with the aid of a 3D printer. Like a pastry chef creating gourmet masterpieces in a restaurant kitchen, Sergey Tolmachyov comes up with new ‘recipes’ for his artworks. Using acrylic paint, natural colorants, thickeners, and colour gels, he makes images of water turned into sugar candy.