Artist Alexey Chernigin
oil on canvas, 70x100cm 2022
Heavy theme. The idea matured for a long time, accumulating emotions and meanings…
We have a lot of abandoned churches in Russia. Somewhere people left, and the church was left alone in an abandoned village. Somewhere this is an unhealed wound of our past, when thousands of temples were defiled, they housed clubs, warehouses, granaries. Some churches were never rebuilt after the war. And now they stand across the country, these silent colossi, majestic and dreary. The wind rushes through their empty halls. Fragments of faded frescoes are still visible on the walls, on the vaulted ceilings. Somewhere a hand peeps through, somewhere a fold of a garment, somewhere a part of the face of a saint. And the birds are circling over the headless bell tower.
This image of the destroyed temple deeply sat down in me, did not give rest. And just recently, when I was working on a completely different topic, it reappeared.
I was looking for a universal image of the war that has come to us again. An image of total destruction. When your house is destroyed, there is a gaping black hole in the place of your entrance. And here in the alley there used to be a century-old oak, under which you kissed for the first time. Only the skeleton remained of it, all the branches were shot down by artillery fire …
So there was this image of a sniper, who froze in anticipation of the target. Or not, he already sees her, the eye moving slowly along with the person clamped in the crosshair of the sight. The finger strokes the steel of the trigger.
Only he’s already dead, that sniper. His passions, his loves, his dreams, his memories are scattered in fragments on the hillside…