The photograph as the image of silence

The thing that strikes you first in Arkady’s photography is the silence it evokes!

The silence of the objects, places, people is not an inanimate silence but an absolute condition of apparent life, a form of reflection that leads to an aesthetic view and the mystical contemplation of the picture.

In addition, the serial order with which time and manner are segmented in scansion in Arkady’s photographic works brings together the whole discussion of his poetics - and, when all put together, they conclude it.

The sequence is the only form capable of complying, without compromises or alterations, to the modes of being in his stylistic ‘vision’ and at the same time scan and confirm the ‘adventures’ of his observation.

Arkady Lvov was born in Odessa, Ukraine, during a period of strong aesthetic changes and his stay in New York, where he still lives and works, sealed the bond between two cultures: the eastern and western sides of his work show themselves to be absolutely compact, perfectly combined in a high quality stylistic process. There are clearly other influences which determine his stylistic research; in a particular way, the European renaissance style of painting and frequent stays in Venice and Tuscany confirm his belonging to the great aesthetic school of the Italian Masters of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The theme of still life, recurrent in Arkady’s works assumes, within his poetics, a concept of philosophical reflection; his, is an attentive observation of things in order to ‘freeze’ them, in order that the moment does not escape and that the picture has its fixity both within, and without, time.

The most striking elements in his ‘still lifes’ are not so much the objects, their surfaces and their actual existence as objects but rather the geometric order and architectonic space of emptiness that regulates volumes and determines the ‘silence’ of the pictures. In this, Arkady’s works have only one master: Giorgio Morandi.

Morandi, in fact, placed his subjects in the centre of a circle, a constructed model to the left and the painting-canvas in front. The distance between the extended arm of the artist and his eye determined the prevalent and interchangeable distance or proximity of different paintings.

That which continues to weigh upon our conception is, for Arkady, the ambiguity between the instantaneous representation of a immobile moment of motionlessness and the actual, organic movement, in visual terms, of a defined work. Although a photographer can choose a natural situation with specific dynamic characteristics, no photograph could equal the temporality of a painted work; and Arkady knows this well enough to make a photograph appear like a real painting. For him, it is not about simple connection, nor is it about more or less successful variants; entire pictorial cycles may be read as real and true visual sequences- successive photogrammes.

The light etched out by the special platinum treatment that Arkady uses in his photographs reveals hidden depths and unveils compositional harmonies closer to pictorial sensibilities than to those of photography, thus confirming again how much Cicero maintained, that "in the shadows and projections of light and shade, painters see more than we see".

Stefano Cecchetto