The word manga refers to the Manga by the legendary Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, defined by him as ‘Brush gone wild’ and not to the contemporary story-telling manga, as the drawings in the work are not always connected to each other. It’s a mix of automatic drawings redrawn to look presentable after the initial outburst of creativity, straightforward life studies, and improvisations based on photographic images which happened to attract my attention for one reason or another.
THE MIND – the most potent tool known to mankind. It is used by the philosopher to ponder metaphysics and by the artist to create visual images that lead to thought and inspiration. So it is only fitting that the two fields of human endeavour should be brought together as friendly bedfellows. Kaprielov has done just that. His extraordinarily agile and, yet, very precise brushwork has conjured up on canvas a collection of some of the most influential thinkers of centuries past so that we may retain a modicum of cognition, lest we forget the contribution that these fellows have made to the development of humanity throughout history, leading us to where we are now. In most of the paintings the ice-cold precision of the philosopher’s outlook is nicely balanced out with the warmth of palette. During his formative years, Kaprielov spent countless hours in Leningrad’s Hermitage Museum contemplating somewhat yellowish old master works and came to firmly believe that a truly good oil painting should be yellow.
A mix of disparate elements, expected or unexpected, is always justified by a deep-seated logic of Kaprielov’s secret iconography. His works leave us with the impression of witnessing another level of reality – a mysterious sequence of exchanges, the exact meaning of which, like in remembered dreams, we have difficulty pinpointing. A great deal of the imagery is war related, and is, perhaps, an attempt at an allegoric representation of the perpetual battle we face in the quotidian. Despite most of his drawings being self-contained, finite compositions, a lot can be gained by viewing them in sequence, not unlike frames of a graphic novel. In the 20th century the most sophisticated techniques of visual representation in European art have found a home in commercial and propaganda illustration. Kaprielov, who was trained at a Soviet art school, displays them at their best.
Courtesy of Galerie Belem