THE GRANDEUR OF BEAUTY
Pulchri Studio, Den Haag, Netherlands, 19.10 - 10.11 2019
"to travel is useful, it makes the imagination work"
/ Louis-Ferdinand Selin /
"beauty is born when your eyes are open"
/ Vladimir Opara /
In 1974, my paintings were at an exhibition of artists of Altai Krai, marking a start of my career as an artist. I was deeply impressed by Van Gogh and Russian avant-garde. I walked the streets and outskirts of my hometown with a canvas and a box of paints. I was mesmerized by the beauty around me. I sought to transfer my impressions onto a canvas. I was twenty two years old. Forty five years later, and I am still fascinated by the beauty of the world around me. My wife Maya and I often travel by car. My paintings, objects, photographs, video installations are, to some extent, a result of our travels. A large round window in our studio in the center of Moscow, where we spend a big part of our life, is a window into the world, where I am an observer - I record the changes taking place outside that window. North Venice, Holland, Sweden, Northern Capital of Russia St. Petersburg, ... a round window in our studio ... I admire the beauty of the world and try to express my feelings through my works. I ask myself: am I succeeding? The concept of beauty is fleeting, unstable. But there is universal beauty - frightening, breathtaking, majestic. The grandeur of beauty. Van Gogh understood its cosmic nature, its greatness. His sunflowers, his reaper, his sun, and starry night ... We see the grander of beauty in his paintings. Closeness of beauty and death. In my exhibition, there are paintings dedicated to Van Gogh - a sunflower field burnt by sun. I saw this field in the mountains of Austria during our journey in 2018. I pulled over on a highway to rest and we found ourselves amidst a field of sunflowers burnt by life-giving, yet death-bearing sun. I found myself in the Van Gogh's sunflower field. My impressions I captured on canvases and photographs for my exhibition. Louis-Ferdinand Selin was right when he said: "to travel is useful, it makes the imagination work". Indeed, traveling reveals the grandeur of beauty. I use all possible tools to see and capture it. In the exhibition "The Grandeur of Beauty", I use fragments of my previous projects together with more recent work. The exhibition has two video installations: "Memory" and "Holland". "Memory" is about my feelings and impressions that I try to preserve. Memory and Beauty. Beauty lives in our memory. The video installation "Holland" was created together with Maya Opara. We recorded a lot of footage in Southern and Northern Holland during 2016-2018. For us, Holland is a country from future existing today. In the video installation "Holland", the viewer looks through the eyes of a person of the future, where people will have other capabilities to see, and the boundaries of vision will be expanded. During the making of movie for this installation, we imagined ourselves to be alien beings, thus enabling ourselves to see what we usually do not - slowed down perception; oddity of events; people with unusual properties; people becoming a part of landscape; people taking off into heavens and existing in two elements: water and sky; mechanisms working on their own, changing earth, landscape, creating a new structure independent of men. In all of this, I see the grandeur of beauty. Beauty that is independent of men."
Since 2015, I'm a member of PULCHRI association of artists. We first came to Holland in 2012. The reason for that was my daughter's study at NHTV in Breda for 3D Visual Art. We fell in love with Holland. For me, it was important as a birthplace of Van Gogh and a place where many great artists I knew since childhood lived and worked. Since 2015, I am regularly participating in PULCHRI's exhibitions. In 2016, 2017, 2018, Maya Opara and I lived at DCR STUDIO in Den Haag, working on our project "Holland". From the 1st of September till 30 October 2018, we lived and worked in art residence Nieuw en Meer in Amsterdam. There, we continued our work on project "Holland" that we started in 2016 at DCR Studio. On the 28th of October 2018, project 'Holland' was presented at Nieuw en Meer. For this project, we conducted 19 photo sessions. We were capturing people living in Holland, being a part of Holland and its landscape. This became a part of the exhibition "The Grandeur of Beauty".
About project Holland:
Multimedia installations, photo, videos, objects, paintings.
We, Vladimir and Maya Opara, are now making a new project "Holland". In 2016 and 2017 we took photos and video shoots in the port of Rotterdam and around, in the South and North Holland. This is a project about the future. We see that the future world will be similar to Holland today. This is a struggle for life and adaptation to new climatic conditions. We see that the new world will exist as islands and megacities. One of the islands is the megacity of Holland. Everything mixed up, industrial facilities, nuclear power plants (a possible threat), houses where people live, recreation areas, land for growing vegetables, greenhouses, children, men and women, animals all mixed up, everything is very close to each other. We must learn to live side by side, very close to each other. Holland gives a message to the whole world that it is possible. Already now, Holland shows the whole world how to exist in the struggle and cooperation with the changing climate and new problems of civilization. There should not be a war of all against all, wars with each other, humanity should not spend its resources on new weapons - humanity must spend its resources on building the future now, today. In the future, problems will not disappear. There will be new problems. The new world, the world of the future, is the continuation of the Biblical story. The story of Cain and Abel remains. The history of the Flood is always close. The project Holland has grown from other projects of Vladimir Opara (computer graphics projects Maya Opara). This is the continuation of Vladimir Opara projects:
"Motion Landscape" (exhibition in PULCHHRI, The Hague, 2016), "I exist in ever-changing space" (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, January-February 2017), "The Heavens" (The Hague, Netherlands, February-March 2018). The project will feature portraits of people living in Holland. This is an important part of the project. We make portraits now in September and October 2018. These people are part of the landscape of Holland, they are built into the landscape. They rise above the landscape. They are the essence of Holland. They are Holland. The project will be ready in August 2019. We plan to show the project "Holland" in 2019 in the Netherlands (September-November) in Moscow (November).