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A Childish View of a Mature Man

22 January 2014

Although the Arthur Molev's exhibition "Play or Cry" consists of works of art painted by the mature artist. All works are painted in the style of naive children's drawing. But in compare with the original naive art, these works don't look bright and happy; on the contrary, they show the world with its difficulties and troubles.

The title of the exhibition has two meanings in Russian ("Play or Cry" as well as "Paradise or Noah"). As for the first meaning, we surely recommend you taking life as if it was a game and having fun instead of crying and complaining. But as for the second meaning of the title, you can see a reference to the biblical Eden and Noah. It demonstrates that Arthur Molev's art is something between simple and sophisticated, funny and serious, a child and an adult.

The exhibition occupies two halls. As for the first hall, there is the artist's Garden of Eden with its marvelous animals. There you can see a yellow horse with an orange mane, a winking blue whale and a smiling lion. However, it is impossible not to notice the two large-scale paintings on the theme of the Fall in this idyll. While Adam and Eve are enjoying the moments of love, an army of angels with swords is ready to attack the voluptuous people. You can see the painting on the similar theme in the next hall. Its name is "The Word", and it reminds us that "the Word of God is a double-edged sword".

The second part of the exhibition consists of the illustrations to the "Gospel of John". The images on religious themes are different from the canonical ones. There are many symbolic scenes which are painted in the naive painting style again. As for the author's sign, it consists of big colored letters that look very childish.

"The artist consistently makes people believe that we should paint impulsively, colorfully and funny. I like these features in Molev's paintings, — Andrei Rudjev, an artist, shared his opinion about the exhibition. — And even if someone says that any child can do it this way, an answer will be simple: let them try to do it this way during all their lives".

In fact, it is not just a stylistic device, but a life position of the artist. You could make that conclusion on the opening day. The main character, the artist, wore a bright red shirt in white dots and a knit cap that looked like a fly-amanita. Indeed, Arthur is known by the nickname "Amanita" among artists. Under this name the artist collaborates with the cult rock band "Auction" as a set designer. He designs stages, covers of the CDs and even helps Leonid Fedorov to write lyrics.

The artist says about his work: "I certainly know how to draw. I studied it for 11 years. But I want to draw it this way: in a childish, honest and happy manner. It is a simple naive view and honest astonishment of the world around..."

about the exhibition