Michael Cheval is the world’s leading contemporary artist, specializing in Absurdist paintings, drawings and portraits. In his definition, “absurdity” is an inverted side or reality, a reverse side of logic. It does not emerge from the dreams of surrealists, or the work of subconsciousness. It is a game of imagination, where all ties are carefully chosen to construct a literary plot. Any one of Cheval’s paintings is a map of his journey into illusion. His work is often metaphorical and requires a sharp eye to decipher the often hidden allusions.
“Everything created in the XX century, appeared absurd from the viewpoint of previous generations. Absurdity, magnified and established into the ranks of art, became an inseparable part of our lives. You would be mistaken if you think Cheval sells his paintings. He does not sell anything, but the effect is such that seeing his work makes you stop, stunned as if the powerful gust of wind temporarily restricted your ability to breathe, hear or move. You stand before the painting and realize that you already saw everything presented on the canvas… you remember it from some far away and forgotten childhood dream. Just like we try to recall a forgotten dream, a sense of sweet torment impels us to return here, into the gallery and buy Cheval’s paintings, in order to spend day after day at home, journeying into our dreams… into our forgotten childhood dreams… and remembering how warm and comfortable it felt there.”
“Each painting of Michael Cheval leads its own individual existence. They come to life in a mysterious and magical way, and, after leaving their creator, they become viable entities that possess a spiritual force and an ability to initiate a dialog as well as to gather around itself groups of adherents or, conversely, antagonists. This amazing phenomenon of a certain activity of inanimate objects is, in fact, the true life of art. Michael works in the style of surrealism that is the most difficult for understanding and perception. He has always worked in this style, regardless of time and place where he lived or demands of the society around him, having personally experienced an absolute lack of freedom of the totalitarian system and opportunities of the free society. In spite of the circumstances, the artist continued to work on the infinitely profound subject of the surreal while creating his own personal style.
By laws of surrealism, the image seen by an artist is not processed by the mind, but rather directly transferred onto canvas. The secret is that the artist saw what he could see on the border of the intersecting time and space. Where an ordinary person just sees an unhurried movement, an artist is able to discern a deceleration of the flow of time. An autumn landscape could be interpreted as a collapse of space into a discrete segment of the season. The depiction of timepieces – watches, hourglasses, or wall clocks with a pendulum or a cuckoo – became s symbol of the surrealists for several generations. Broken or tied clock hands, muddled numerals, melted clock-faces and hoarse-voice cuckoos seemingly vary the flow of time by drawing into it figurative objects and then distorting them, giving to them a different meaning, deepening or reducing their significance. Such an approach to a work of painting, cinema, music etc. totally conforms to the Surrealist Manifesto. However, in the course of several decades of its existence, this exceptionally profound movement generated numerous new styles in art. In their essence, they remain surrealist, fulfilling the chief task of reflecting the consciousness, but they contribute- now a greater psychological depth, now an irony, now a posed question.” – SVETLANA VAIS – CHELSEA, DIRECTOR “INTERART GALLERY” NEW YORK