Youri Jarkikh, Portrait of Mikhail Chemiakim

Chemiakin is one of those painters ­ there are no more than two or three per generation ­ who go directly to the fable: They dazzle us with the brightness of their colours and the enchantment of their shapes so that we forget to ask ourselves whether they are also thinkers. Chemiakin is a special case: nothing of what he offers us claims the right to stick to reality to the extent of depriving itself of the legendary or lyrical dimension. Seduction is not for him a matter of recognition of places or objects and even less of faces or attitudes. He transports us also to a realm where we have never completely penetrated before, even if we believe we can identify a few landmarks. If it happens that a clown's mask appears as such to us or should we bestow a look on a bottle, or else should some apple attract us, we may come to know, little by little, that this clown is not terrestrial, nor the bottle tangible, nor the apple born on an apple tree: they are inhabited by a mystery or more simply by an oneiric dimension which tends to redifine them. Is it quiet magic that presides over this transmutation? In addition I feel that the creator is duty bound to rethink, according to his irrational needs, every phenomenon as soon as one intends through honesty and ambition to recreate it. This is not an operation contrary to instinct: the first for the absolute or the metaphysical dictates a behaviour which goes beyond charm, however intense at first sight.

Alain Bosquet
January 1978

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