Valeriy Grachov was born in Archangelsk, Russia in 1949. He went to school in Leningrad in 1956 and later moved to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine with the family. He graduated from high school in Kiev and entered Kiev’s Institute of Design and Architecture in 1966 with following graduation in 1972. The artist traveled, resided and worked in many places over mountains in Central Asia, Baikal, Far East, on the islands in Japanese Sea. He lived and worked in Jyvaskyla (Finland) in 1988, Trenton (USA) in 1989-90, Prague (Czech Rep.) in 1974-75. Presently lives in Kiev, Ukraine.
My comprehension of absolute unity of the being had formed in the youth. Later I found acknowledgement of this understanding in the philosophy of Spinoza, Dekart, Chinese Daoism, Indian Shunyata and Advaita.
At the moment I position myself as an artist working in direction of romantic realism based on mountain landscape. However, it has not always been like that. My youth passed in stifling time of Breznev’s government and of course everything was prohibited except of socialistic realism. Therefore I kept away from officious art although I had never regarded myself as a dissident. I simply tried to live and work freely and independently, what was duly paid by society with non-admission to market and falling into full oblivion. I managed to get means of subsistence by performing small architectural and designing orders. No doubts that I outgrown ‘child illness of leftishness in abstractionism’ by form-quest trough years. My third and fourth solo exhibitions were almost fully abstract. The following 5 years I painted sky, ‘airplane landscapes’, when the point of view is so high and there is no Earth in the field of vision and there are only sky and play of clouds on the canvas. And later I began painting mountain landscapes. When you look at mountain range of Karakorum from a great height, the landscape falls to applicative colored pieces that look delicately like medieval gobelin during the day and stun with all colors of rainbow at the sunset light.
Generally, abstractionism is an angle or point in thinking and in material incarnation. All artists know that when a small fragment saturated with colors is taken from a realistic panting and then enlarged to a size of 2x2 meters, an abstract painting appears. Digital world shows this idea congenially – just scan a square inch of a painting and then enlarge it to a full screen view. One day to my great surprise, I found out that my favorite producer Antonioni, which had been creating movies in direction of new realism, opened an exhibition of abstract oil miniatures. Now I am not surprised anymore – I think these are facets of the same creative process – sometimes it is nice to see the world in whole and sometimes to penetrate deeply into its forms. It is a pleasure when a realistic work has enough spontaneity to let its forms be admired, but also it is great when abstract work shows needed depth which wakes up imagination of the audience as a starter provoking to making new worlds.
It seems to me that speed of painting a work is a pledge of its quality – faster is better (I mean professional work indeed). When I begin new realistic work, it is often already formed in my mind completely and sometimes even in smallest details. Unlike realistic work, an abstract one is the other way round – there is a special pre-feeling which is concerned with a certain color gamma. Sometimes I feel mass of such spots, but the rest fully depends on spontaneity. New work needs new techniques, otherwise the artist starts reproducing his old ideas and gradually become degraded in his art.
Realistic works are more national, because their subjects are often concerned with ethnic life or particular places. Abstractionism is a result of industrial world. It seems to me, we have been children of a single Culture for a long time already. In different parts of the world we listen to Scofield and Bach, read Orwell and Dostoevsky, watch movies of Tarantino and Visconti and of course use the Internet. And if a national trait appears, it may be because of a philosophical subject of Slav or extreme form refinement of Japanese.