ASTANA – The exhibition featuring paintings by Kazakh artist Abai Chunchalinov has opened at the Ars Pro Dono gallery in Berlin, reported the gallery’s press service on its Instagram page on Aug.2.
The artist unveiled a collection of 25 pieces titled The Muses of the Steppe executed in diverse genres.
Chunchalinov is considered one of the finest artists in Kazakhstan, whose works adorn not only national museums but have also been exhibited in Türkiye, France and Germany.
“This marks my second personal exhibition in Berlin, and I am delighted to present my works here. Berlin’s visitors are receptive and inquisitive, asking numerous questions about my art and eagerly anticipating my new pieces,” said Chunchalinov in an interview with the Astana Times.
Chunchalinov underscored that his works aim to convey things that fascinated, surprised and charmed him. He also strives to retell intriguing stories he’s come across.
“The majority of my works pay homage to the past, epics, or fairytales. European cultures have depicted their knights, warriors, achievements, and heroic acts extensively, and Russia had its own era of such art. In contrast, we lack this tradition, we are not content with our own epics and tales. We need to undergo this phase,” he said.
Chunchalinov’s paintings feature powerful batyrs (warriors), majestic tulpar (stallion) horses, landscapes of his homeland, and elegant women.
“For an artist, internal discipline is vital – to continuously train and improve. This cultivates a sense of readiness, and inspiration can stem from various sources. It might arise from music heard, beautiful people or landscapes observed, or even an intriguing narrative,” he said.
According to Alexey Shrayner, the founder of Ars Pro Dono gallery, Chunchalinov has a rare ability to convey movement and dynamism.
“His centerpiece work of today’s exhibition showcases a surreal motif, with jigits (men) in the steppe suddenly swept away by a huge hurricane, disappearing from the earth’s surface. Every piece of this painting conveys his mood, the storm inside him which he spills onto the canvas,” he said in his interview with Khabar 24.
Visitors of the gallery including artists, writers, journalists, and critics share that Chunchalinov possesses a distinctive style, which they admire for its mastery.
“Chunchalinov himself named this work “Hurricane”, but visitors independently come to the idea that it reminds them of the Sistine Chapel. Someone later said it is like the Steppe’s Sistine Chapel. I think it is a significant compliment, as he is not being likened to minor masters but compared to one of the greatest,” said Shrayner.
Chunchalinov believes that if a work is painted with sincerity and the artist invests their full effort and soul, the average viewer will comprehend it without the need for any explanation.
“The audience’s perspective is of paramount importance to me. During the painting process, I consistently strive to establish a shared connection with the viewers, pondering whether it will resonate with them and whether they will grasp its meaning. In my artistic approach, I maintain the notion that clarity requires communication in the language of the public,” he said.
The exhibition will run through Sept.30