The Chess Game (Visual Art)

Irina Novikova

3 Questions for Irina

What was your process for creating this work?

Now I am coming to a certain mythological component in my work, since the beginning of 2021 I have been constantly writing Sirens. For me, they are like half-humans, half-birds, it's like a dream. Poets and many creators describe that they would like to have wings and fly, the poet Maxim Bagdanovich has a poem "My soul is like a wild hawk."

This work is from the series "The Game of Chess." I imagined two fighting opponents in the form of elements: air and water, birds and fish. Then I thought that the mask is an excellent attribute that hides thoughts and emotions, besides, the human mask brings these creatures closer to people. Two sirens, these are two pawns on a red and white board, the pieces move, the defeated fall off the board and die. And when the game starts again, then all the pieces fall into place and the game goes on again, this is a kind of cycle.

What is the significance of the medium you chose for this work?

I have been doing black and white graphics for a long time, but I came to ink fills by accident, I wanted to portray a real girl who had an unusual expression, very bulging eyes and a half-open mouth in a smile, I then thought that she looked like a mask, and not real, alive, and filled with feelings. It seems to me that it is graphics, it is black and white silhouettes that can be the most expressive. The absence of color is the absence of an abstract moment, admiring unnecessary and superfluous details. It is black and white graphics that allow me to express what I would like to show on a blank sheet of paper.

What is the significance of this work to you?

The "Chess Game" series is in the process of being created, it may take me a little longer to complete it than I thought .I consider this work the most successful now.

Literary passage:

"Board of non-objectivity

When someone leaves, no one sees everything around.
Memories grains settle in our memory and leave like water, parting in the obscurity of the future... Light is useless here, only darkness helps to keep the lost.
Two moves and another move, someone fell off the board.

We were playing chess and suddenly someone lost his head, he dropped it and it rolled and flew away. 
I was too small to play and too stupid to express my desire, I was aware of this as a baby, and then I created my inner dosseu without cells, without symbols, where the figures stood in a small group and fought with each other with wooden spears... And they there they played, argued and threw their pieces down to die, and then revived on a lonely board, on what they wanted and could have been...
I was alone and was with everyone, I wore a veil and a crown, and then they locked me in a dark corner and I couldn’t do anything about it, I couldn’t say anything and I was only small, the one that is moved and which has no heart and there is nothing that could characterize the big and living. My impressions are solid cells and steps... 
Dialogue One
Who made you up? What are you doing here?
But what about the hare?
Did he run away? Don't know where to find it? 
The hare ran, left white traces, waved its white tail, mixed the cells and no one else saw him, apparently fell off the board. Knight's move, the game is over...
Dialogue Two
- Was the queen here?
- Only the king and without retinue...
- And here was her footman?
- No, only three pawns. There it is around the corner! They must be resting...
The pawns slept peacefully, folding their halberds under the spreading crown of the willow. And by the stream a little deer drank water, and the squirrels frolicked with him. And the white tiger cub was hiding in the bushes...
Dialogue Three
Why do you need pawns? Walk the horse and win! Checkmate!
- Pawns are always needed, they are the first infantry!
- The horse is the most important figure, after the king...
- And you don't know anything. When the sun went down, everything was mixed up, and everyone was put in a box, it was dark and cozy and there was little room to stand. The queen, of course, was given more space, and with her the king, the two main figures in humanity, and their fate is the same as their people, if the box is thrown away, then they are all there too, this is fate. 
The roe deer went into the forest, it is warmer there and there is no wind...
little end."

Irina Novikova is an artist, graphic artist, illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a bachelor's degree in design. The first personal exhibition "My soul is like a wild hawk" (2002) was held in the museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she raises themes of ecology, in 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chernobyl disaster, draws on anti-war topics. The first big series she drew was The Red Book, dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. Writes fairy tales and poems, illustrates short stories. She draws various fantastic creatures: unicorns, animals with human faces, she especially likes the image of a man - a bird - Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week.

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