Student of the National Institute of Arts and
Design named after K. Bekhzad
The images in the creative works of Rihsitilla Akramov are reminiscent of the stone idols that are found on Easter Island, one of the most remote islands in the world. The same heavy shapes, the same anatomically incorrect bodies. Perhaps, it’s a reference to the ancient Greek myths of the Cyclops, which resemble the one-eyed images depicted by the artist?
The master himself denies any reference to Greek mythology, explaining the appearance of these images due to the scorching emotional conflict inside his soul that comes out as a burst of growing inspiration. The artist says, “A human being, having two eyes, is always blind in one. He can’t see in the other person simultaneously a sinner and a Saint, especially if he experiences the negative feelings for him. We are blind in one eye and do not notice a lot of interesting and useful things. We are clumsy and lame, since a human being does not use his full potential and we are all far away from perfection…”
In the works of R. Akramov, there are no anatomically correctly depicted human beings. The plastic of the images in his pieces of art seems deliberately simplified, what renders the forms primitive, like the creativity of the child or the prehistoric drawings. This makes the artwork of R. Akramov affined to the primitivism style and with creativeness of the artists of the naive art.
The plastic idioms on the painter’s canvases have distinct features. As if he “sculpts” the shape out of the clay mass. These images can be compared with the conceptual sculptural modeling of that stage of creation, when the idea is still fresh and not elaborated, it is not “dissected” by the artistic tools to “something superfluous, and to something useful that should remain”, and is not brought to perfection. In this fashion the artist expresses his allusions about the imperfection of a human being, who has an inherent core for his development, but the choice is always reserved with each of us. The disproportion in the interpretation of the characters’ shapes, deliberately emphasizing their “stockiness”, invokes the reflection about the worldliness of these images. In the artist’s works can be seen the large heads without necks as though rising right from the torso, and with usually short limbs having exaggeratedly large wrists and feet.
His canvas entitled “Love” is clearly horizontally divided into two parts – heaven and earth. The cold skies are reflected in the beauty of the blossoming earthly life, and are vertically divided into two parts, as well – the groups of figures. Thick paints are used for depiction of the figures, which makes them chunky and deprived of any lyric. These are the two individual images, each of which telling its own story. The lonely Mejnun tries to escape the cold and warm up himself, but he is in the middle of a giant ocean and turns into a frozen green statue, which gaze is directed to the equally lonely Moon. It seems like only the Moon can understand his pain.
In contrast to this figure, we can observe the lovers, fused together in the impulse of passion and seen as a single figure. Cyclopean eyes merge together into one glance and remind one slanting eye. These figures are painted in light shades of white and pink colors. They revel in each other, turning into one: one flesh, one life, one world. They have each other and they do not need anything else. The basis of the composition is the opposition of symmetrical parts – the upper and lower ones, the left and the right, it is a kind of scales, where are weighed the loneliness and suffering through meditation as the path of the poets, and hedonistic union as an earthly life. As though we are reading a message: “Feels cold – Suffers. Warms up – Lives. Who can be satisfied with it?!”
The merging of bodies and souls we can see in other works by the artist. In the painting “The Travelers” there is no sharp contrast of color. In this painting, we can see the intertwining of three figures with exaggerated limbs. These, in particular, are the twisted shoulders and the bodies in general, uncomfortably leaning on divaricated fingers. The artist deliberately distorts the external anatomy of the human body – the twisted angles, incorrect number of fingers and the conscious mixing of bodies – all that intends expressive perception. Interestingly, these subjects do not look like the shapeless matter. There are explicit associations with the concepts of the “family”, “motherhood”, and “protection”. Call for consideration elaborately scattered red fruits (apples!?) – a well-known symbol of the prohibition, discord, original sin, etc. At the same time, the apple is a well-known symbol of the fruit of knowledge. In the painting the apples in abundance are surrounding the characters of “the man” and “the woman”, who are indifferently watching the fruits falling from the sky. This painting is “reasonable” and even too rational.
The master abandons the values and modeling, whereas he is characterized by the spontaneous dynamism of the brush stroke, the urge for emotional power of artistic expression, vivid color, piercingly clean and sharp contrasts of the shades, intensity of the open local color, and sharpness of the rhythm that we can observe in his work “The Prisoner”. In front of the audience is the artist immersed in creative process. He is a prisoner of his inspiration. His gaze is reverted upwards, it seems as though he is waiting for instructions for further action. Memories of big, soulful eyes are haunting him. Whom they belong to… ? The blond Muse possesses not only his soul, but also his mind, finally bringing the creator to madness. Dressing him in the clothes of a prisoner, she dominates him, and as a slave in love with his mistress, beats in creative ecstasy.
This portrait, with a subtle sarcasm, an allusion to the peacock’s tail of a young narcissist, but a pretty female. The eye of a view immediately falls on the big, black cloud, depicted by the artist in place of the wrists. There is a feeling that the original idea of the artist was to represent some object in the hands of the girl that would be a reflection of her inner world, for example, a bouquet that would speak about her tenderness and self-sacrifice, books would tell us about her passion for reading and the ability to guide, etc. However, we will never come to know that, because the artist decided to leave us in the dark, covering this part of the picture with a black spot.
The artist often addresses to the theme of motherhood: the cradle, the act of feeding, the mother and the child as an integral whole. In his picture “The Guardian Angel” he depicts the sacred time of feeding of the child, when there is a sacred relationship between a mother and a child that will last for a lifetime, regardless of age and distance. Special attention deserves the cradle, which is the embodiment of various symbols. We have notion about the ritual-mythological functions of the cradle – “first home” of a human being, where a newborn begins to discover the world around him. In the old days there was a tradition according to which a newborn used to be in the cradle only on the third – the fourteenth, at least – on the fortieth day after his birth. It had a symbolic meaning accompanied by a special rituals and was conceptualized as the moment starting from which an infant was considered as “accepted” to the human world. Therefore, the cradle used to be richly decorated with a variety of carved elements, heavy curtains, totemic objects that we can see put on the child in the form of a wrist bracelet, protecting him from the evil eye.
A caring mother like an angel with outstretched wings, embraces her child to protect him from all earthly troubles. Mother and child are surrounded by beautiful plants that can be a reminder of the Paradise garden, where they find themselves when holding each other.
The artist’s work is very individual, his paintings are impressive. Figurative painting of R. Akramov differs with its conscious simplification of forms and bright contrast of the color, and it definitely connects the artist with the Primitivism and Fauvism styles, which also imply the sharp generalization of space, volume and drawing, simple shapes, as well as the spontaneity of the brush stroke, the purity and sharpness of color, and emotional strength.
R. Akramov creates his own world, full of sarcasm and idiomatic illusions. The notorious love stories in his pieces of art do not cause any lyrical associations or irony, but rather – “destruction of mythology” which makes us do not trust the signs and symbols, but to understand them through thinking. In this sense, idiomatic techniques of Akramov are really very effective and efficient. His semantic texts, quite honest paraphrases, only at first sight are strange, their true meaning is concealed, and the top of the iceberg is more likely is a thoughtful provocation destined to stop a viewer and invoke reflections. Here are used the techniques of metissage and symbols, and intentional primacy of plot over the plastic tools and methods of subordinate status.