Un point microscopique brille,
puis un autre, puis un autre: c'est l'imperceptible, c'est l'énorme.
Cette petite lumière est un foyer, une étoile, un soleil, un univers;
mais cet univers n'est rien.
Chaque nombre est un zéro devant l'infini.
L'inaccessible uni à l'impénétrable, l'impénétrable uni à l'inexprimable, l'inexprimable uni à l'incommensurable:
c'est le ciel.
One microscopic point shines,
then another, then another: it is the imperceptible, it is the enormous.
This small light is a focus, a star, a sun, a universe;
but this universe is nothing.
Each number is a zero in front of infinity.
The inaccessible united with the impenetrable, the impenetrable
united with the inexpressible, the inexpressible united with the immeasurable: it's the sky.
Alexey Adonin (1973, Slutsk) is a Belarus born artist based in Jerusalem, Israel.
As an explorer of the mysterious universe, the Jerusalem based abstract-surrealist artist has dedicated over one and a half-decade to convey his vision of hidden otherworldly realms that connect with a timeless source of inspiration.
Since 2002, Alexey has exhibited locally and internationally.
Chambre Fluide: Hello Alexey! Let's start talking about yourself and your passion for Art. How did it all start?
Alexey Adonin: Hello! Well, as an artist's son, I have always breathed art since I was a child. Everything started early in childhood when I was eight years old. I think It was the portrait of my grandpa when I got recognition from parents for the first time. I was able to reproduce people's facial features with good precision. Since my father was practicing teaching at the Children's Art School, I started attending drawing classes combining my regular high school studies.
I was born in Slutsk in Belarus in 1973, at that time was a part of the Soviet Union. At the age of 11, I began interested in history, chemistry, astrology. It was always a celebration when I came across some articles about mysterious events, especially UFO! I subscribed to the mailing lists of popular Soviet scientific magazines such as "Technology for the Youth" and "Science and Life."
I remember being obsessed with the concept of a perfect society. I've enjoyed thinking and imagining what the future should be like, where every piece of technology would be used very smartly and wouldn't pollute nature. I love nature. Inspired, I conveyed my thoughts on paper. I made sketches of future scapes and interaction schemes of ecologically friendly manufacture. I also was passionate about discovering new lands and drew maps of imagined countries with strange names.
Science fiction held a special place in my heart. I was regularly reading famous Soviet-Russian and international science fiction writers, such as the Strugatsky brothers, Alexander Belyaev, Ivan Yefremov, Stanisław Lem, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and many others. All of this subsequently shaped my art style.
During historical events that took place at that time in the USSR, I began my study at the State Art College named after
A. Glebov and I moved to live in Minsk - a capital city of Belarus. It was 1989. The wind of change was already blowing very strong. But this already another story.
CF: A question I can't help but ask you, since you are a Belarusian of origin but outside your motherland. After years of apparent tranquillity, Minsk returns to the center of the international scene. Protesters and police clashed hard in the Belarusian capital and other cities after a state TV poll revealed, before the vote closed, that the historic leader Alexander Lukashenko, 65 years in power since 1994, “had been re-elected” in the last elections. What’s your position about that current social-political situation?
A.A: I am not very interested in politics, but since Belarus is my homeland, I can't remain indifferent in Belarus's case. When I watch reports, I recognize these streets I once walked as a student, and I feel very close to who is struggling now there. All this a blatant lie from the authorities and it cannot be accepted. Also, beating up civilians is an action, after which there can no longer be a return to the previous "tranquillity." Belorusian mostly is law-abiding and peaceful people, and they had put up with this despot since 1994. I think they had enough of it! They deserve a better life!
CF: Looking you story In 1993 you graduated from the Minsk Art College and then you moved to Jerusalem where you currently live. What's your relationship with Israel as your country now and the Judaism culture?
A.A: In the early 90s, my family and I had the opportunity to immigrate to Israel. The USSR was falling apart and rapidly flying into the abyss, along with people who lived in the former empire's vastness. Therefore, we decided to leave. Integration into another country is a complicated and lengthy process, but in the end, we found the desired calmness and stability in Israel. I am grateful to this country for the shelter they have provided. I came here very young, then I served in the Israeli army. I found love, and I have a son now.
This country is my home now.
However, I have never been a patriot of any nation or any state. I think borders should disappear in the future as a strange phenomenon. People should stop being at enmity and dividing themselves on any grounds.
Regarding the Jewish culture, I found it knowledgeable and rich in traditions. I studied the philosophy of various Eastern cultures, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, but I always tried not to immerse myself in any of them too deeply.
There is no need for me to classify myself as belonging to any religious or ethnic camp. My mom is Jewish, and my dad is Russian. They raised me on internationalism and equality principles. In my view focusing on your ethnicity is not a healthy trend. Sometimes this causes concern, because such self-fixation, unfortunately, often turns into extremism, inciting ethnic hatred. I think creativity, self-improvement, and spirituality enrich a person.
This is what I focus on in this life.
Soaring rock, (Futurescape 3)
Black Ecco Pigment Fineliner on Paper / A4
CF: What are your idols?
A.A: I don't have any idols. We are witnessing how today's mass pop-culture imposes idols, which we are supposed to follow.
It attempts to lead us away from personal goals and program us for third-party ones. It is probably beneficial to have a gray and obedient mass. I firmly think Idolism is psychological addiction that speaks of a dependent, unformed and impoverished personality.
CF: What importance does the drawing have to you? Tell us more about Zenith and the series of Futurescape.
What do you tell?
A.A: Drawing is my most time-tested self-expression tool. Drawing, for me, is akin to meditation or lucid dreaming, is not a desire to escape from reality. I am often motivated to start another picture by the desire to plunge into this mystical state. It is more of a mental ascent to the sublime, and this is how I like it.
"Zenith" and series "Futurescape" are like all my drawings and began without a preconceived idea. I applied a few large spots with ink, which served as a starting point for further detailing. It seemingly random things, but our brain is a terrific machine that uses familiar patterns.
It always substitutes them as stencils, looking for everyday objects. Remember, the rather famous case of a "Face on Mars," which in different lighting began to look like an ordinary lum? I broadly use this brain property but with one difference,
I control which stencil to substitute. It's about to avoid ambiguous interpretation of some of the objects and deliberately to create several different meanings in others. Thus, in different states, the brain can interpret the same thing differently.
The unclarity and desire to understand the unknown always attract us.
"Zenith," to some extent, a classic example of multilevel work when one picture consists of a multitude of small ones. It's akin to a book with multiple chapters. Only here, they all fit on one sheet. Also, there is a similarity to advertising posters for films, where, through visual inserts, a summary of a many-hour movie is told. "Zenith" could be an illustration of an unpublished sci-fi book.
The issues I investigate always cover the following topics such as humanity's future, the possible development of technology, human exploration of other worlds, and contact with other more advanced civilizations. However, recently I am more interested in the topics of the inner space of a human. How and when do we make our choices? What drives life in this world? What is divinity? And many more.
CF: You have for sure a wide culture in Russian Literature, not only for being Belarusian but also for the fact that you are also a writer; during the Soviet dictatorship, in a historical period of censorship, I think about the Samizdat and artists, poets who, in order to circulate culture, even risked to be tortured and killed, went on in their fight. Nothing so far nowadays, think about the tortures perpetrated in Belarus and in other places even closer to you, how not to mention what is happening in a less "public" way in the West Bank...and not to mention Lebanon. And we could move on. Today is there still this desire to share culture and knowledge and our rights? Would one lose one's life in order to circulate one's works and writings? Would you die for your ideal?
A.A: Well, if we look at the whole picture of what is happening in a historical context, and move away from today's specific "hot" spots, we will see that history repeats itself. Just as before, others are doing it today. Nothing new is happening in this world; only the roles are changed. The methods of enslaving and killing people are becoming more sophisticated. The military firstly developed almost every new technology—that is saying a lot! This reminds me of a large anthill that someone is continually stepping on.
It is not worth spending mine or anyone else's life trying to improve or change the surrounding reality. All this is tinsel! No one should sacrifice himself for his ideas or what so ever—neither any nation nor country.
CF: What good is the artist giving to the world and society now besides a retrospective of a personal and inner state of mind? What do you think the role of the artist is now?
A.A: Science and technology have not brought us closer to understanding why we are here and/what is behind the "curtain." In my view, too logical things isolate and separate us from the essence. I think we are spiritual creatures. The questions we ask often are not practical because not only with daily tasks, a human is alive.
There is something beyond that. The majority, except for some general phrases, cannot say what it is. It is a great mystery. I think the artist acts as a kind of mediator between reality and the divine. By observing and rearranging the creation itself, he uses his sense of beauty to show the critical messages. He is passionately devoted to its mission.
Black Ecco Pigment Fineliner & Felt-Tip Pens on Paper / A4
CF: What are you reading?
A.A: Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game.
CF: How does your research develop? Where do you collect your inspiration from?
A.A: Everything happens as if by randomness. I can't even know where the next idea will come from. I just want to create. It's like hunger. I take the canvas and I start working, boldly. It doesn't matter whether it will be oil painting without a preconceived idea, or artwork based on a previously created sketch/drawing, or just drawing on paper with ink. The search process begins right here. It is one of the most beloved stages in which I experiment with colors and lines that necessary for the foundation on which something unique is developing. I always have been attracted to art because of its unpredictability. Its detachment from physical reality makes me curious. That's why at the beginning, I always let things happen. Inspiration is an impulse on the level of metaphysics of being. I think this is some response from the sublime. It's too elusive to be controlled.
CF: In your work there emerges a melancholy veil, an incompleteness perhaps. As if you could not decipher reality. You call it Mystery. What is this incompleteness hidden by your work?
A.A: My work is also something very personal. The artist always creates through the prism of his uniqueness.
Often, this happens unattended or even looking at the likelihood of being misunderstood by others. Melancholy is one of my character traits, but it is by no means the main one. It only gives a little seriousness, tells about what you are dealing with here. The same goes for unsaid or incompleteness. Incompleteness means mystery.
The viewer is drawn here repeatedly because it's impossible to understand and fully appreciate it immediately – there is always something new to find that was not noticed before. I use my unique style, which took shape over the years and continues to shape today, to create a unique ambiance. I'm not interested in banal copying of reality.
There is nothing in it for me. In my work, I offer something that reaches your inner self and gives you ultra-vision to wander in other worlds. It is for those who tend toward mysticism and feel the need to submerge inwards.
CF: Reading your background, it is noted that after graduation and your education in the art field you waited nine years before you started again in your art career. Why this “silence” and why did you decide to return to paint?
A.A: integration into another country is a complex and lengthy process but I couldn't stop my creativity. There was a much more significant reason. The truth is that after graduating from my studies, I already had some practical base, but lacked life experience. A vast hole has formed between these two. On the one hand, I wanted to draw, but on the other hand, I always approached art very seriously and did not want to make something too banal.
I have concerned about "what to draw" no less than "how to draw." I pushed art into the background, for better times.
But somehow, it didn't bother me at all. After all, I was so much carried away by the new life! I went to the military and served there for three years. I made new friends, new interests. I loved music so much, so after military service in 1996, I was already captured by the spirit of the 90s. My favorite band was Nirvana. I played guitar for several years as a self-taught musician.
When the dust settled, in 2002, everything happened by accident. I had a job, where I had plenty of time to devote myself to drawing. I started with sketching. I liked how it turned out. Soon after a couple of years in 2004, I painted my first, for many years of hiatus, oil painting, which, symbolically enough, was called in Latin "Through The Thorns To Stars."
CF: In a historical moment when nothing seems to be enough anymore, and the future is more and more uncertain, what are we holding on to? What tears us out of nowhere? What does it mean to live intensely the real in this provocative historical period?
A.A: The main thing is not to indulge in numerous provocations and be able to recognize them. Second, understand that what is happening in the world cannot be changed. However, everyone can change their attitude towards it. Previously, people, one nation or country, held ideas and goals that today no longer have such an impact. People inspired by purpose are capable of much. I think each person individually has to set goals in his life. To search for a better version of himself! Life is such a short thing; let's live it right and in peace!
You can find more works by Alexey Adonin here