"Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!"
Samuel Beckett “Waiting for Godot”
I tend to trust the opinion of Lana Vais, for I consider her views about culture and especially about historico-culturological aspects of American and European art of XX-XXI centuries, to be in the least subjective and to the highest degree analytical. According to her terminology, the present-day culture is “mute and deteriorating” as if the mark of silence, like the anticipation of autumn, descended upon the painters’ brushes. Only Cheval’s voice is heard within deserted grounds of lonely galleries that perceptibly lost their right for a distinctive sense of irréel, beautiful and terrifying.
There is no hint of absurdity here. Before becoming an anthropologist, the “surveyor of individual”, I worked as a reporter and was shocked to discover new relationships between people through the lenses of journalism.
The absurdity of love, of friendship, of neighbor relationships… everything proved to be reductio ad absurdum1. How could it be otherwise – for no plots were left after Shakespeare. Our relationships are no different from that of our ancestors, five hundred years ago.
It is important to understand that Cheval, with his unique view and philosophy that developed and gained its strength from a different, perhaps less free world, acquired the ability to combine these concerns, anxieties and impulses of the heart like no one else can. Cheval journeyed through all elements of esoteric backyards described in literature and knows that betrayal can sometimes serve for good.
Absurdity entered our culture since the time when the greatest masters of our epoch began to joke – among them are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach, Hieronymus Bosch and Rembrandt Van Rein. Irony and humor help us endure all hardships and misfortunes that befall our fate. Only through this “human, all too human” ability to endure, are we capable of surviving all that is called life.
How wonderful are the jokes of refined pizzicatos by Paganini, behind whose shoulders, witnesses often claimed to spot a devil, or the jokes in Bach’s interpolations from “Brandenburg concerts”. This same humor Cheval proffers from his paintings into reality and back…
Cheval jokes with the lightness of Mozart and instructs with indisputable conviction of Schopenhauer, even though the latter was banned from scientific circles due to his ceaseless doubts that confirmed his personal maxim “I doubt, therefore I am”.
Cheval’s paintings are filled not with a morally mentoring tone, but with a game of continuous all-permitting waywardness. He changes the game’s course not with the purpose of confusing his audience, but with the intention of continuing the game for as long as possible.
Such a thought.
1 Reduction to absurdity (Latin)