having dinner at a friend’s recently, i was exposed to a russian painter whose imagery is breathtaking. since i saw the two originals on my friend’s wall, i have been haunted by and fascinated with igor melnikov.
“for me, these are not portraits of children, but portraits of human souls,” says moscow-born artist igor melnikov. each is a picture “of a soul immersed in itself, reticent, perplexed, searching for and preserving a hope. if you take the message of this portrait to your heart, it is a portrait of you.”
“I often find that my subjects are perceived incorrectly, as children’s faces that are meant to be merely touching.”
“The face of an adult is biography; the face of a child is metaphysics,” he says. “I don’t like poetic generalizations, particularly about my own work. But, if I can dare to qualify the subject that interests me most of all, it is this: the little, weak human beings coming into this huge, brutal, senseless world, and being unwanted, uninteresting, and unloved by anyone. Ultimately, the existential conflict is expressed most clearly as the awakening conscience of the little human being in the face of the cosmos.”
melnikov has a book of his thoughts and works called melnikov/ pictures. it is phenomenal. i highly recommend buying it… if you can find it!