Елена Окунева
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VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: semantic stained-glass windows by Borys Eghiazaryan

VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: semantic stained-glass windows by Borys Eghiazaryan
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“Imagine that you are hauling heavy boulders every day. So, painting is like carrying cobblestones to good music”.  This is how Borys Eghiazaryan sees the work of the artist, for whom the process of creating paintings is a craft, painstaking work, but, of course, very inspiring and spiritual.

 

Armenian origin plays one of the most important roles in the work of Borys Eghiazaryan: the artist loves and is proud of his historical homeland, and in his paintings the influence of the territory is noticeable even with the naked eye.

At the same time, Eghiazaryan does not slip into a conventional “sharovarshchina”, observing the semantic and visual harmony of the paintings. Perhaps this is a consequence of the cultural bouquet that Borys Eghiazaryan collects throughout his life: after Armenia he studied in St. Petersburg, moved to Ukraine, traveled around Europe.

Each country made its own contribution to the formation of the artist, leaving a stroke, line, or color inside the existing unique handwriting of Borys Eghiazaryan. He himself likes to quote Svetlana Shcherbatiuk, the wife of Sergei Parajanov, who, speaking about Borys’s art, once said: “A velvet Ukrainian tenderness has passed through his bright, strong, Armenian painting” [1].

By the way, Parajanov himself also left a noticeable mark in Eghiazaryan’s work. Inspired by the collages of Parajanov, Eghiazaryan tries himself in this genre. And many of his paintings resemble collages, at times, structurally, technically, the canvases look as if sculpted from a multitude of strokes, fragments, patches.

Sometimes they remind of collages pithy, in meaning, symbols and signs combined on one canvas, but come from different countries, cultures, stories, myths, legends and fairy tales. Eghiazaryan’s paintings are like colorful stained-glass windows that open windows to other, bright worlds.

 

VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: semantic stained-glass windows by Borys Eghiazaryan
The color burns, the gold flows. 2019

 

Probably the most popular object present on the artist’s canvases is the pomegranate, a fruit that has symbolic meaning for Armenia and, moreover, is often found in Christian-Jewish literature, philosophy, and art.

Like most Armenians, Borys Eghiazaryan is a person deeply immersed in religious themes, and therefore the comparison of his paintings with stained-glass windows is not accidental. After all, once stained-glass windows in cathedrals carried a completely utilitarian function, serving as illustrations of the Holy Scriptures for illiterate parishioners, who were then in the majority.

Instead of hundreds of letters, colored plots interpreted God’s word for people, and, perhaps, in this sense, Eghiazaryan’s paintings really do not differ in any way from those cathedral stained-glass windows. They often resemble icons: content, the presence of gold, the bliss of the depicted faces.

However, although the religious theme is close to Eghiazaryan, he does not consider himself a Christian artist: “I am a very secular artist: I just sometimes speak in everyday life about holiness, about the aesthetics of holiness in everyday secular life, where meeting is equal to life, parting is death, where purity of relationship sounds beautiful and unusual”.

It is curious that Borys Eghiazaryan really speaks about a lot in the public plane, expressing his own opinion about various aspects of our life, from religion to war, from culture to politics.

The artist was at the war in Karabakh, actively participated in the Maidans, expressing his vision of justice. He is sure that “The intelligentsia, including the creative one, which possesses such tools as a word, an image, a symbol, has no right to stand aside now” [2].

 

VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: semantic stained-glass windows by Borys Eghiazaryan
An ode to joy and love. 2006

 

Nevertheless, the political position and social reaction are not directly embodied in the art of Borys Eghiazaryan. Of course, any events, even random encounters, leave an imprint on the minds of artists, by default – sensitive natures, not to mention such shocks as revolutions and wars.

But, despite this, Eghiazaryan’s paintings are always optimistic. Dramatic, reactionary art is not close to him, he is sure that worthwhile works about events can appear only after some time, leaving a distance for analysis and comprehension.

Perhaps this is partly why Borys Eghiazaryan uses classical scenes from the Bible, folk tales, national epics in his paintings, mixing in his own way, adding a lively, unique, multicultural flavor.

For example, lions, traditional for ancient Armenian art, often appear on Eghiazaryan’s canvases, but not in the usual reading, just the artist himself never wanted a cat or a dog, but wanted a lion cub.

Likewise, the classical scene of the Annunciation is accompanied by a memory from modern life – a donated bicycle, or, conversely, a fragment from the depths of memory attracted a biblical association.

In any case, the artist Eghiazaryan, through his juicy, ripe painting, effectively glorifies important things that are understandable to everyone, which, of course, are not things at all. Like old songs about the main thing, which never lose their relevance – about love and about the soul.

 

VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: semantic stained-glass windows by Borys Eghiazaryan
When I was six months old, the girl next door was given a bicycle

 


Sources:

[1] Borys Eghiazaryan. Conversation with Galina Brailovskaya

[2] Borys Eghiazaryan: “The intelligentsia, in addition to beautiful creative actions, must protect life itself” – Art Ukraine

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