The exhibition of Irina Machitski "The Opening of the Gates of Heaven" in International Centre of the Roerichs, Febrary 2 - March 13, 2016

The exhibition of Irina Machitski THE OPENING OF THE GATES OF HEAVEN

International Centre of the Roerichs, “GRANY” Foundation

present the exhibition

Irina Machitski

Febrary 2 - March 13, 2016


“The Opening of the Gates of Heaven” – the title of this exhibition of Irina Machitski’s paintings is a reference to, above all else, the empyrean, the kingdom of the Spirit: it means the opening of the Spiritual Gates into Heaven. The exhibition is a tribute to free artistic spirit, acting under the promise of fulfilling one’s creative potential and the spirituality of the creation process (which is, as Nicholas Roerich often said, “the pure prayer of the spirit”).

Irina Machitski’s creative thinking is clearly dominated by colour and light, through which she visualizes all her life experiences – existential, musical, visual and literary. The poetic formula of Maximilian Voloshin is a very precise and in-depth depiction of Irene’s approach to life and art: “To see, to understand, to know, to live it all, absorb all colours and all forms through the eyes, perceive it all and bring it to life again.”

The exhibition includes Irina’s two major works: the multi-part composition Eternal Truths (2001) and the ecumenical triptych The Cloud of Unknowing (2001).

Irina Machitski sees Eternal Truth as an “always present, always unknown, always attractive” spiritual substance. According to the artist, Eternal Truth embodies equally – “Faith, hope and compassion. There is might, boundlessness and infinity in it.”

The square polyptych Eternal Truth (2000) consists of 16 square abstract "border scenes" which look like “seals”. In the centre of the black square (undoubtedly, a paraphrase of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square) is the Eye of Providence, a significant symbol common to many religious and mythological systems. It is the embodiment of Divine Providence in Judaism and the All-Seeing Eye of God in Christian iconography. In Hinduism and Buddhism the third eye of Shiva or Buddha is depicted as a radiant point or glowing gem in the middle of the forehead; it’s a symbol of unity, balance and the true vision of things as they are, and at the same time (and above all) the transcendental wisdom, crystallization of light, spiritual consciousness, enlightenment that this symbol incorporates.

If we turn to the core of Buddhist philosophy, it is worth mentioning that one of the translations of “Buddha” from Tibetan is “the one who was able”. Indeed, Buddha was able to turn his potential abilities into actual, real ones; he also taught others how to do that. In other words, Buddha is not a static symbol – on the contrary, Buddha himself and the attempt to follow his path is a process, for “the one who was able went from darkness and came to light”. Leaving behind everything that shackles, ties, tortures and torments, dispelling that which “obscures, distorts, hinders” and, as a result, “arriving” or “revealing something” potentially existing – this is almost a literal translation of the Indian term Tathagata, “the one who has thus gone, thus come”. Therefore, Buddha was the one who has “scattered the darkness and brought the light”.

The artist interprets her painting Eternal Truth, created almost 15 years ago, as a break through a black square which her soul was intuitively seeking – a break so strong and persistent that resisting it would have been absolutely impossible. Prior to the exhibition “The Music of the Spheres”, Irina Machitski described the experience of the “breakthrough… return”: “The Soul was so longing for the break through the Black Square – it was demanding, persistently and with tremendous force. A passage to another dimension… A long, long hallway with you as a fired shell… Light, Light, Light… Nothing but the wild desire to move where the Soul once was, and has been repeatedly. The joy of return. The joy of meeting. Happiness. That is what the ‘All-Seeing Eye’ means… The ‘Eternal Truth’ is nothing new. All is very familiar to the Soul...”

For the artist, this creative breakthrough impulse manifested itself as a happy return, a joy of meeting, a man-made soulful happiness. The Black Square is uncovered through 12 circle-shaped works: Inspired Heart, Mirages, The Flight of Thought, The First Kiss, The Pearl of Love, The Strings of the Heart, Fire-Mist, The Shadow of Doubt, The Call, Unity of the Hearts, Gravity, Mystery (all created in 2002). The project was completed with the four works from the “blue” series: The Orb of Cognition, Refuge, The Breath of Rhythms and The Seal.

In 2003 the film project “The Revived Space of Irina Machitski”, commissioned by the artist and making use of computer graphics, was launched. Irina planned the sequence of the works and defined the project’s focal points, while the digital part of the work was accomplished by Igor Bernstein and Grigory Skoroplyasov. The project was never completed, but we have found it possible to screen it at the exhibition...

At each exhibition in which it has been included since its creation, Eternal Truth has always attracted many viewers. Everyone finds a different and very personal meaning in it; the content is “personalized”. After all, all living beings strive to be happy. They want Love and loving Care. Heaven’s Gates open when our hearts are open.

The Cloud of Unknowing triptych is an unfolding story of coexistence and collaboration of all religions, with the Sun of kindness and mercy shining above. Both side panels are entirely embroidered with poppies, the flowers commemorating the souls ascending to Heaven, while all the earthly creatures look up, watching the sparkling sky filled with a host of souls, forming the very Cloud of Unknowing in their totality. However, those living in the world can, and often prefer to remain inside this cloud of unknowing: those who are spiritually blind and those who are not willing to admit the fact that each one of us possesses all the qualities necessary to be happy and love one another. The relentless, never-ending struggle we feel inside is only the consequence of our own ignorance. The solution is obvious, though not easy: it is necessary to discover new horizons, hidden from us because of our own ignorance. Leaving, struggling, resisting the “human, the all too human” understanding of existence. That is when we need aspiration, intention and motivation. Once the cloud of unknowing dissipates, the Heaven’s Gates, the limitless space of the HEART is revealed and, for the first time, we connect with our true luminous nature: Our Buddhahood.

Artistic work reveals man’s creative capabilities – as Plato once said, “a painter’s eye is able to look at the absolute truth and to that original to repair, and having perfect vision of the other world to order the laws about beauty, goodness, justice in this, if not already ordered, and to guard and preserve the order of them”. Gifted with special vision, the Artist expands the horizons of the viewer’s perception through his artwork. Such transforming works certainly include Irina Machitski’s The Flight of Thought series: The Breath of Rhythms (2002), Refuge (2002), Mystery (2002), Unity of the Hearts (2002), The Strings of the Heart (2002), The Seal(2002), The Force of Destiny (2002), The Seagull (2002), Prayer (2001), North (Polar) Star (2004), Song of the Wave (2004); and the Improvisation series – Flight (2004), The Earth’s Axis (2004), Fear, Soul’s Deceiver (2004), Sweet Dreams (2004), Panic (2001), Forgive Us… (2001).

Fantastic abstract landscapes with story lines expressed only through colour allow viewers to have a long, thoughtful dialogue with the painting, almost losing themselves in the emotional content of these works. Such works teach the viewers a “special” type of vision and subtle perception of form.

The Orb of Cognition (2002), one of the painter’s major works, deserves particular mention. The alternative title of the painting is The Tunnel of Reality. A mass of colour overwhelms the viewer like a powerful bundle of energy, giving a chance to connect to the orb of cognition or be captured in a colourful swirl and fully immersed in the tunnel of reality... This painting is an expression of an alternative choice of a life position, which every human being faces at some point, through the means of art visualization.

Irina Machitski’s exhibition, a charity project, is exceptionally relevant to these times of seemingly prevailing materialism, when there is, in fact, an intensive search for the spiritual foundations of human existence. The choice of the International Centre of the Roerichs as the exhibition venue was not coincidental – it is precisely a place of such an ongoing search process, where people traditionally share their discoveries and findings, discuss them and then continue with the pursuit...

Curator of the exhibition: Natella Voiskunski