Oleg Korolev:
Essays in
Contemplative and Visionary Art

Originally appeared in: and

The Tower of Ego

       A Transcendental part of human nature always looks for its own Eternal source and inevitably has doubt regarding visible reality. The conditionally perceived illusionary surroundings require examination and overcoming...
       Surrealism, through it's inner absurdity and paradoxes , destroys trust in reality. It is an aesthetic game of the human imagination with a nostalgia for everlasting spiritual liberty. But Visionary Art has a different field of play. The Contemplative artist is a participant of the action himself, he doesn't play with the help of mind by the symbols and their mechanical constructions anymore, but operates with energies, forces which bear the images, intuitive way.
       ...A Visionary artist can not be Atheist, he always serves a certain Power and represents it by own creative activity and life. I would describe my art as a Contemplative one, which embodies a certain cognitive model of Mystic Reality and actually devoted to a Contemplation of a beauty of invisible Divine things...

The Prodigal Son returns to his Father

       The pleasure of a motiveless painting appears when caring ceases. Beautiful rhythms come when fear is gone and affection leaves. Perception is clear when the mind is calm, and becomes pure and virgin, when dualities are overcome.
       Consciousness returns to it's Source... Son returns to his Father. This universal principle, reflected in Scripture, I believe could be true and applicable, for example, with the development of Art, from it's past to it's future. As soon as an "objectivesation" of consciousness (Ego) is the reason for all destruction (be it destruction of civilizations, empires, cultures, or personalities), but the overcoming and a divinization of a person (Ego), is the reason for all new alive flows or enlightenments...
       The history of Visionary Art started with various sacred practices of the archaic ages, where the images were brought directly from certain mystic energetic worlds and remained interactive for those whose perception was ready for it.
       Such Art didn't look for public recognition in the sense of art critiques and aesthetic estimations, being a part of a cognizance of the universe and a tool of influence, or serving as a door to the proto-images.
       By measure of an 'objectivisation' of a society's consciousness, Art was separated from the Sacred Spiritual and has become a part of Culture... As soon as Culture itself it is a dead religion (when Religion losts it's conection to the world of Spirit, it dies as a Religion and becomes Culture), Art had been undergoing Modernist's changes, but still remained for a long time on a base of on the previously given outer shape of the religious traditions...
       From bad to worse, Post-Modernism, per se, rejected any connection of Art to the Divine, and proclaimed the human mind and it's constructions as the source of all goodness. Now we have already announced the "dehumanization" of Art, so called "Actual" Art, which in fact has the shape of the dark consciousness of the poor "Prodigal Son." Where the eating of the kitchen waste together with pigs may represent and perform the "Actualism" of the contemporary authors. Such words as " beauty" and "love" are now a "bad tone," and a "serious" art critic can never afford to make a fool of them-self with such expressions.
       In museums of Modern art and various Biennales we may see some heaps of a strange schlock, which they call "Art," and hundreds of Prodigal Sons around, who look for some spiritual food for their empty souls in all this loathsome rubbish. This is the end of the circle, this is an apotheosis of an aberration...
       Though, anyway, it must be a very good sign, because after night always comes morning, and I think we probably will become witnesses and participants in a rebirth of the neo-Archaic ages of the human-kind youth in Art history. Son returns to His Father.

3 of March 2005
(written especially for the site of the Society of Art of Imagination)