VASILY KAFANOV

City Face, oil on canvas, 54 x 54 inches, 2014

Guarding the Nest, mixed media on canvas, 54 x 54 inches, 2016

About the Artist

Vasily Kafanov (born in Moscow on 16 July 1952) is a Russian-born painter and illustrator. His works have been collected in many countries. His painting style mainly involves the depth of life in different forms. He also uses ceramics, printmaking and sculpture for making his artworks. After finishing school, he was in the Soviet Far East, Kuril Islands, serving in the ranks of the Soviet Armed Forces from 1970 to 1972. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Art and started his life as a graphic artist and an illustrator. Later on, he graduated from Advanced School of Cinematography and created four short cartoons at the Soyuzmultfilm studio. In 1990, Kafanov emigrated to America and started living in New York. His first exhibition in the United States was in the summer of 1990 in San Francisco. Kafanov paints in many sizes and categories and has numerous auctions and exhibitions in different galleries. His paintings have been reproduced on book covers as well as album covers. [Wikipedia]

About the Work

My work focuses on reconnecting time. Time is an illusory and shapeless substance. It is homogenous along its entire length, and we recognize each of its distinct ages by the objects it produces and leaves behind. Time is like a blank canvas on which each age leaves its own inimitable imprint, coloring it with its own recognizable objects. Our parents and grandparents, and generations that came before them, were all defined by the objects of their age. We see them in old photographs dressed in the fashion of the day, sitting next to their record players or driving their quaint motor cars. The old photographs, the black-and-white images printed on cardboard from the century before last or the Polaroids from the 1970s, are also now a thing of the past - as are earlier oil portrait of men and women who came before them. It is the objects that pin us to the blank canvas of our time. I collect those objects, the images of the people they used to define and the ideas - in philosophy, technology, the arts - that gave rise to them, and put them in my work.

I work in a variety of media. I make paintings, collages, sculpture, drawings and ceramics.  I scour flea markets looking for old object, for machines, mechanisms and devices of the past, whose purpose we no longer understand but that are ineluctably pinned to the age when they were created. They were once indispensable and useful, and they defined their time. I don't try to restore or even understand them, but I find a new life for them in my work. 

Our own age is defined by the amazing variety of objects we have created, but even more so by the objects we have discarded. This doesn't mean that time has accelerated but rather that ages change one another at a kaleidoscopic pace, without having time to define themselves, to shape into an image or to leave a memory. I see my work as stringing together those half-formed shards of ages and reconnecting them into a continuous timeline.

Contact the artist

Artist Website