Inna Orlik - Between subjection and virtuosity

 

There is a painting that is not as much inspired by the external reality as by the world of dreams and imagination. From myths that survive over time and those images of reverie which turn an often-unbearable reality into a bearable and almost poetic one. Because this is the sensation I obtain, when I look Inna Orlik’s impeccably designed and full of symbolisms paintings.

She is the Georgian painter who has thoroughly studied painting and graphic arts, who has exhibited her works all over the world and who has chosen Athens as base for her activities. Into her extremely personal painting, she masterfully combines the technical information of the West and the fairy-like mystery of the East. Her compositions are dense, visual facts which create subjection to the viewer, due to their noble technique as well as their fertile lyricism.

 

Inna Orlik is working on her male figures like the heroes of a desperate struggle and the female ones like the nymphs of a fairytale yet to come. In the beginning there is the firm design which consolidates the composition through its hidden architecture. Then comes the colour that expresses the internal disposition of the artist: warm red colours which are transformed into that wine made by Christ at the wedding in Cana and golden or blue-green colours – clouds that separate hell from heaven. And finally, the graphisms which, through their virtuoso sensibility, complete the illustration endowing it with transparency and lyricism. Furthermore, the artist inserts into her paintings forms from glazed ceramics, last marks of opulence of a world that no longer exists. Whoever stands in front of Orlik’s paintings sinks, almost unconsciously, into a world of magic where miracle can happen anytime.

 

Personally, I am touched by her compositions inspired by the Sibyls of Michelangelo at the conches of Sistine Chapel as well as by her big military saints, the Virgins with the Infant, arising out of either the orthodox tradition of the East or the Italian – Cretan baroque. The complex of Orpheus and Eurydice also fascinates me; eternally attached to an indissoluble bond of both life and death. He wants to save her through the music whereas she is thirsty for light through the darkness. Lastly, I think her art is corroborated by Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, Shahrazad’s fairytales, Leon Bakst’s scenographies and Burliuk brothers’ poetic illustrations. Namely, an art of domesticated passion and romantic magic.

 

Manos Stefanidis

Professor of History of Art

University of Athens