Do you remember the self-portrait of Van Gogh, the artist? The one with the bandaged ear which he cut off in a fit of rage and desperation? That portrait was created in an insane asylum. And have you noticed the second pair of eyes on that portrait of Van Gogh—worn-out yet trying to restore his piece of mind? You haven’t? Right. Because there weren’t any in that portrait. But they are in Van Gogh’s portrait painted by the artist Vladimir Terekhin.
As I look at the four-eyed, suffering face of that great artist, and at other paintings by Terekhin in the style of Van Gogh, I realize that they can hardly be called an imitation, much less plagiarism. So what are they? Terekhin himself answers: “This is the step that Van Gogh didn’t manage to take.”
“A new name of the Russian Avant-garde”—that is precisely how his numerous admirers view his art. The most surprising thing here is not that he has so many admirers, but rather that many of them are very, very influential. As we know, officials of old times were not too fond of avant-garde art. Do times really change? “The Federation Council of the Russian Federation hereby requests that the State Historical Museum accept the series of paintings Long Live Russia! by Vladimir Terekhin for permanent display.” That was the grant letter signed by V. Shumeiko, Chairman of the Federation Council, sent to Aleksandr Shkurko, Director of the State Historical Museum. The exhibit of an entire hall of Vladimir Terekhin’s canvases which was a part of the recent comprehensive show in Moscow got a new permanent address right next to the Kremlin walls. The members of the Russian Parliament who advocated the acquisition of these paintings by the talented Samara artist were not put off by the lips flying in the sky, by the strange faces of our alien relatives, or by the mystical stars rising above church domes. Vladimir Terekhin is experimenting, and the MPs seem to be as well. So we should be thankful that this weird combination of circumstances has given us the opportunity to see amazing pieces of art.