My latest Secrets Breed Secrets Series on Renaissance Masters was created during lockdowns in London. In this project - some my thoughts and reflections which were made during the Covid era. In a dramatically changing world there are still some constants, which accompany and help us survive in difficult times – love, art, beauty and sense of humour.
I started this series during the first lockdown and continue to crate new works for it using self-portraits in gasmasks. Throughout my life, Old Masters paintings came to have a big influence on me and I developed contextual ideas in my stage photographic series by encoding the images with symbolic meanings through the use of objects and colours. A symbol is a form in the philosophical sense. “The unique nature of a symbol is that it gives access to deeper layers of reality which are otherwise inaccessible” (Tillich, 1964, p.54).
I create portraits and still lifes that evoke Renaissance painting. I mix classical and modern aspects, both in costumes and atmosphere, and my artworks are multi-layered, containing their own little secrets that viewers are invited to discover.
I particularly admire Old Master paintings. I am fascinated by their unsurpassed technical qualities, their mysterious representation of dramatic light and their masterful use of composition. However, I appreciate not only their technical skill but also their incredible ability to convey to a viewer the subtext of the picture hidden behind the symbolic meanings of colours and details - how the artists employed a complex visual system to assign a symbolic value to everyday objects, in a sort of visual shorthand for lengthier moral concepts and narratives. After all, many Renaissance masterpieces, with their unique placement of objects and use of distinctive colour palettes, are coded ‘books’ filled with secrets and hints. You just need to know the ciphers for these codes to understand what their author wanted to convey. What could be more enchanting than a mystery? I suppose, only the love for the mystery and the quest which one embarks on in trying to solve it.