Andrey Novikov. Sunstroke
Erarta Museum presented an exhibition of ‘beach’ paintings by Andrey Novikov, creating phenomenology of everyday life in the light of the cold oblivion of space
By Andrey Novikov
I was born in a family of artists. When I was five, my father gave me a brush and a pack of expensive watercolour paper, which I immediately used up on my abstract ‘masterpieces’. After that I was encouraged to take it easy and try drawing something realistic. I remember that my first drawing was of a dog chained to its kennel. I recall suddenly feeling terribly sorry for it and trying to erase the chain and free it. I failed, though, since it was a pen drawing. That was a real tragedy! There was no way for me to change anything in the drawing and in my character's destiny! I realised both the power and the responsibility of a creator. Ever since then, I've been concerned with the lives and personalities of my characters, wondering what happens to them after I've left them on the canvas.
I always carry around a sketch pad, documenting the world around me. I look into the relation between the mindset of the person or persons that I depict and their environment. It always struck me as odd that our natural and familiar environment is inevitably in discord with our inner world.
I remember reading that the ancient Greeks differentiated between three principal human fears – those of the wrath of gods, of death, and of universal absurdity, the latter being the strongest and the most important of the three.
My beach series began with Swimming Race. I spotted this scene by the Black Sea. Millions of years ago, the life as we know it stepped out of the sea and, having reached its peak, dashed back into the water, driven by the desire to complete the evolution cycle. Another work that is important to me is Gravity. It shows people working on the beach while others are relaxing and basking in the sun. The hawkers' merchandise is filled with air but still pulls them down to Earth as we all are pinned down by our daily concerns.