Turovsky About Art

From conversation with Serge Lenczner

Mikhail Turovsky: … nearly 30 years ago great changes did occur for me. I fled a country in which the totalitarian system reigned in both life and art. In my new life the prevailing force was freedom. In the world of art I came face to face with an enormous number of schools, systems, movements, directions. I saw all the twists and innovations of contemporary Western art, which as it turns out is not so free, dependent as it is on the "money bag." But I came to the West a fully formed person, with a clear conception of what art means to me. This conception hasn't changed. Art, for me, is a means of expressing my perception of the world. Life is a tremendous gift, but great tragedy is inherent within it. This joy and tragedy is experienced differently by each individual. Other artists, both contemporary artists, and artists of the past, move me to the extent that they are able to convey their individual perception of life. I agree with Paul Valery when he said that art does not exist; artists exist.

All my life I have harbored a tremendous respect and love for traditional forms of visual art: painting, sculpture, drawing. There has been great human achievement in these fundamental forms, and I think that there are no limits for the artist working within them, whether it is photorealism or pure abstraction or the most furious expressionism. I find a continuous and constantly renewing source of inspiration in this kind of art, from cave paintings to Picasso and Matisse, or Alexander Deineka, and Alice Neel. But I am absolutely tolerant of the multitude of movements in contemporary art. I follow everything that is happening with keen attention and curiosity. I try to process all this information, and of course it leaves its mark on me, but ultimately I would like to remain true to myself. Which is to say, I am not impervious to what I consider to be both the achievements and failures of contemporary art.

MT: … I do not tire of repeating that what I believe, and what I try to convey in my work is humanism. In art the measure of all things for me is the magnitude that defines the human being, with his pursuit of happiness, which often goes unfulfilled, his pathos, limitations, and tremendous life force. There are many theoretical and scientific approaches in contemporary art, many attempts to confine or categorize an artist's work into a theoretical construction, but this turns art into a game played by mediocre players.

MT: …I do think that my work aims toward the exploration of human reality. The human condition manifests for me in the human body, the body of woman, man, child. Through its life and its fear of the cessation of life.

I want also to convey another reality, the reality of the world around me --- the forces of nature, the elements. These are not inanimate forces for me, and I approach them in the same way that I approach the human body. I want to deify the natural world, probably in the pantheistic sense.