by Alina Livneva20 June '18
Socialist fraternal kiss - the kiss of Judas!
Socialist fraternal kiss by Gheorghe Virtosu
Without any doubts, art is the unique instrument for exploring the most general and catchall subjects, like relations, emotions, death, love, calling… And people turn to it in searching for some objective truth. However, art is impossible without subjectivity: creators have to base their works on personal observations and individual perspective to breathe some life into them and make their works more tangible.
Now a citizen of the UK, Virtosu lived a large part of his life in native Moldova. Thus, he perfectly knows the life of his country, when it was a part of the USSR. He witnessed socialism in action. After moving to Western Europe, the artist found himself engaged in another, completely opposite situation - the realm of capitalism and democracy. And the contrast between the two systems was overwhelming. It was like suffocating for a long time and finally have a chance to breathe at the top of your lungs.
For the contemporary artist, the choky atmosphere of socialism is iconically represented in the tradition of the Socialist fraternal kiss - the emblematic act of greeting for the communists. This tradition is quite shocking for the Western mentality, which is very cautious about treating one’s physical space. Such forced demonstration of power by invading one’s physical space causes nothing but the feeling of disguise. Violating and even denying the very existence of private borders of people was typical for socialism. And to express it visually, the artist intentionally stresses the turmoil of the oil painting ’s design.
Usually keeping the texture of figures laconic in opposition to the emotionally rendered surrounding, this time he allows the painterly ‘disturbance’ inside the geometric shapes as well. Dots, lines, and careless brushstrokes create the noise to distract the attention from the outline and flatness of the oil painting ’s surface.