Nostalgia for a Bygone Childhood

By Nataly Teplitsky, Epoch Times
December 11, 2009 Updated: December 12, 2009

Voitsekhovsky's pictures capture a youthful ambiance, leaving people with an impression of genuine authenticity. His touching drawing, 'My Never Ending Friend,' shows an anteater, without a beginning or an end. (The Epoch Times)
Voitsekhovsky's pictures capture a youthful ambiance, leaving people with an impression of genuine authenticity. His touching drawing, 'My Never Ending Friend,' shows an anteater, without a beginning or an end. (The Epoch Times)
Renowned animator Yuri Norstein once commented on a book of Alexander Voitsekhovsky’s drawings saying, "Art does not come in the form of a specific medicine, and yet it cures us of meaningless temptations, gives us vital energy, increases our resistance to common infections, raises our spirits, and forces us to laugh at ourselves. I recommend you to follow the prescriptions given by the author of this book, the doctor and artist Alexander Voitsekhovsky."

Voitsekhovsky’s work has been exhibited all over the world, from the Palace de la Paix at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to Tokyo, Japan, to many cities in the U.S., Russia and Israel.

Alexander grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. He began drawing at the age of 18. The young artist gave all of his sketches away to friends. Believing his pictures with sharp-witted captions to be truly unique, his friends secretly organized an exhibition of his work and invited an unsuspecting Alexander to visit it. The immediate success of the exposition put on hold his work as an emergency room physician and psychotherapist. Alexander started traveling the world with his pictures.

'An Evening Walk' depicts snow falling on a bright colored flower bed, and a man with his dog, fascinated by this vision. The drawing evokes a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone childhood, when all was still possible. (The Epoch Times)
'An Evening Walk' depicts snow falling on a bright colored flower bed, and a man with his dog, fascinated by this vision. The drawing evokes a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone childhood, when all was still possible. (The Epoch Times)
One should not, however, look for an easy interpretation of Voitsekhovsky’s pictures. Have a look at the phantasmagoric piece “Walk with a Nephew”. This allegoric picture can be interpreted in different ways. Repetitive images of animals in the artist’s works hint at a significance which may not be readily understood. As Rainer Maria Rilke said in his Letter to a Young Poet: “Everything in the world of Things and animals is still filled with happening, which you can take part in; and children are still the way you were as a child, sad and happy in just the same way—and if you think of your childhood, you once again live among them …”

In Alexander's pictures, the thoughtful spectator may discern a vivid imagination organically interwoven with mysticism and illusiveness. (The Epoch Times)
In Alexander's pictures, the thoughtful spectator may discern a vivid imagination organically interwoven with mysticism and illusiveness. (The Epoch Times)
Similar to déjà vu experiences, Voitsekhovsky's pictures elicit memories stored deep in one’s soul, bringing them back to life.

Carole Bordak, an art agent specializing in international and Russian art, said that when she first saw a book of Alexander’s pictures, she was “immediately attracted by their childlike quality and sophistication at the same time, and that combination of complexity and simplicity was quite compelling.”

'Max Planck lecturing at Berlin University in 1925' (The Epoch Times)
'Max Planck lecturing at Berlin University in 1925' (The Epoch Times)
Carole hosted Voitsekhovsky’s exhibitions in her “Forever Art” gallery in Portland, Oregon, for five years in a row. “I’ve been privileged to watch him work. I like the spirit and inspiration that flows through him as he is working. Someone said that Alexander ‘makes childhood bright again’. I like that quote,” she concluded.

On the eve of his new exhibition in New York, The Epoch Times asked Alexander Voitsekhovsky a couple of questions:

Epoch Times: What do you think about the purpose of creativity in general, and yours in particular?

Voitsekhovsky: I feel it is very important that creativity carries a positive message, it should be humane. The impact of my pictures on people’s souls is very important to me. In any case, regardless of whether art is complicated, dramatic or simple, it should be kind as a result. For me, it is essential that my work is joyful, that it carries life asserting energy, both in terms of content and color.

Epoch Times: Can you describe your creative process?

Voitsekhovsky: Above all, I like to draw without any intention … I bring a chalk to a paper and I wait for the image to be revealed to me. I love the moment, when out of this blank sheet, out of emptiness, a live image suddenly appears…this is how the sketch of physicist “Max Planck lecturing at Berlin University in 1925” came to be. It wasn’t until the drawing was completed that I realized it was Max Planck. When this happens, I feel great joy… For me, creativity is entirely connected with happiness. The best of my works were born out of nothingness.

Epoch Times: This description brings to mind an excerpt from a poem by Rilke: "He waits for the Divine to visit him, to help him grow…”

Voitsekhovsky: You know, I perceive creativity in a musical key. Sometimes while drawing I listen to Bach, Rakhmaninov. But more often, I hear music inside; I even do not need to turn it on – music sounds in my head. For me, it is not only drawing, but, strangely enough, it is like composing music but not in a musical notation. One Japanese conductor and composer said about my pictures: "They are very musical." He decided to compose music that will accompany my works in so called concert-exhibitions. Perhaps, the process of creating visual art is similar to creating music or poetry …”

Epoch Times: Marina Tsvetaeva, a famous Russian poet of the 20th century, once said that every line in poetry is “cooperation with the higher source.”

Voitsekhovsky:
I have this kind of feeling as well… I think that many artists have a similar perception that it is not really their achievement when they happen to create something extraordinary. Being a believer, I am convinced that every artist, in a sense, is an instrument…

For more information visit the artist’s website: www.petrovichbook.spb.ru

The new exhibition of pastel works of Alexander Voitsekhovsky will be held in New York on December 11-13, 2009 at the:

Studio of Fernando Santangelo
10 Greene Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10013
212-625-9100

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