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Front is a long-term painting project delving into collective memories of World War II. The project evolved from a single photograph taken shortly after the fall of Nazi Germany. In this photo, my great-grandfather is seen standing among Soviet soldiers in the midst of the ruins of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. A painting I made after this image to evoke the predicament of one man in June 1945, gradually evolved into a series exploring the era and its shadows. The works also aspire to express the human conditions that haunt us to this day, whether as memories of the past or as the results of current dramas. By exhuming experiences of a distant war, I aim to confront the darker corners of the human psyche which can emerge at any time, wearing any uniform.

          Front deals with the existence of evil, destruction, and suffering. But no matter how much destruction is depicted, in my works I strive to attain and retain an overall visual order; perhaps, even harmony. After all, painting is a fundamentally constructive process of putting shapes and experiences together, whatever its subject may be. The unique potential of art is to express any crisis or horror within an overarching aesthetic structure. It is an open question whether we can transcend the tragic encounters with the dramas of reality and still retain a vision of the overall harmony of being. Art can give no answer, but it may offer at least some guidance on this deeply personal quest.

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