About the Installations
"In search of the blue thread" – this work of 2002 was the starting point for all of the following installations done by the artist (in some I was in the role of co-author, while in others I was the co-curator). After this big work he did "Gates of prayer", "Tree of life", "Commentaries, part one. Exodus", "Adams dream", "Commentaries. Part two. In the desert"…
The technique changed: color monotype was added to the black and white monotype, the texture rose in complexity. Moreover, in some of the works together with "random" depictions, that are not made by hand, concrete figurative forms also appeared, but the main principle of this work, described by this excerpt, remains unchanged:
According to Jewish tradition, the world is created based upon a schematics, which is infused into our existence.
In its foundation this schematics has three elements.
The first element – as the first act of the Creator of the Universe, the creation of all from nothing, male beginning, right hand. It corresponds with the male beginning in the process of creation, including the creation of the human being.
The second element – that is the process itself, the transition between the "first bang" to the scrupulous building of the material world, which has borders. This stage is expressed by feminine categories: number two, left hand.
The first element belongs to the category of transcended, the eternal. The second belongs to the material world, and thus it is inherently bound and finite. The first – inseparable unity, the second – fragmentation. That is how the cosmological tension comes about. It, which could not exist without a third element, which has to bring harmony into the eternal conflict of contradictions – the third element, whose mystery lies on another unattainable level. Only when this third element is present, the first and second element fuse into one another, forming a new reality, which unites them both.
It is akin to birth. Two unique elements transform into a third – the new human being melts the spirit and the material into time, because it destroys the border between generations.
If this schematic permeates all of our existence, then the process of creativity, as one that is the most incomprehensible in its irrationality, it too must be bound to its rules.
Anatoly and Marina Schelest create their installations in exactly this manner and sequence, but not on purpose, because that is how the world operates.
The first stage – this is the world, which Anatoly creates with his monotype. It is mostly the result of "blindfolded" work, as it is never know beforehand what kind of information will be hidden inside these spot structures. Simply put in the words of the artist when he works he clearly feels an unbounded harmony of existence.
The second stage – the process of accessing of what is done, ordering and choosing of the pages and their multiplication. Thus out of one cell, a whole organism grows. In this "female" part of the process, Marina comes in. Only after that the artists take the pages with the information encoded within them, and put them in a chain of compositions.
"It seems that he discovered his inventive primeval- matter, creating with its help a textual cloth, and uses it for the creation of his own individual pictorial language. What before seemed like a personal revelation, now has claims to be a universal language."
By entering in the space created by them, we enter a harmonically impulsive world, we enter into it and it engulfs us and forces us to comprehend it. The key to comprehension lies in the images not made by hand, which swarm in the first monotypes: figures of people and animals, landscapes, terror stricken faces and Hebrew letters, – all of these who appeared practically of their own accord surprise the viewer with their "Finnishness". Pressed into the common fabric of the installation, they often lead their own lives, not connected to the rest of the series. Once they are recognized by the onlooker, they push him into an independent reading and open up the multidimensionality of space. As if it was self-appearing, as if from nowhere, figures became a sign and revelation for Anatoly in his own time.
Their appearance and the unfathomability of the process turns us to the words of a prayer: "God hiding behind the doorstep of secrets, the mind exceeding any comprehension..."2
In his graphic works, Anatoly Schelest constantly instills in himself and demonstrates to others his hard conviction. That it is not his efforts that he puts in the material world, which are the true reason behind the events that unfold on the canvas, on the paper.
While on the installation space, which already unites the effort of two artists, the tragic fight to unite spiritual structure with its material embodiment continues. Artists can feel it much sharper that "…conceptual- symbolical narrative is no longer adequate to describe reality, but it is merely a "step", which can help the soul to understand by the path of "greater insight".3
In these installations the artists’ desire to overcome the painful divide between the natural and the transcended is almost tangible. Anatoly's work on the monotypes is a labor of love; it is inspired, and spontaneous. The joint effort of Marina and Anatoly on the installations, – the docking of pages, searching of forms, and composition into series – this is a process that is not less engaging, but rather full of struggle and doubt. Probably that is the only way "…a creation can be born that unites in itself two opposites – spiritual enlightenment, knowing no bounds, and formal symbols, striving to enclose this enlightenment and bound it in precise formulations."4
The main mission lays in decrypting the information encoded within the monotype that enters this world through it, but in no way does that entail that it will be subject to change, or deformation, but only through enlargement or shrinking be revealed. On the next stage, the images develop in the chain of forms. They multiply and can be perceived on both macro and micro level. Every artist tries to create spiritual things with the instruments of the material world. Here, in this installation, we are clearly made to understand that "…this world is not more than just a smoke screen hiding the Him, the creator."
Out of the article "In search of the lost meaning"
Marina Leibovich (Shelest),
Ludwig Museum, Koblenz – Ma'ale Adummim – Jerusalem, gallery "Skizze"