Nikolai Makarov | Russian | Born 1952
Acrylic on canvas
63 × 55 1/10 in
160 × 140 cm
Nikolai Makarov's works are in numerous collections worldwide, which are regularly shown in galleries and museums along with new paintings and art installations. In addition, the artist continues his impressive commitment to Russian-German cultural exchange to this day. Nikolai Makarov lives and works in Berlin.
The VIRTUAL GALLERY is showing an exhibition by Nikolai Makarov from March 20, 2022. The solo exhibition includes numerous new paintings by the Berlin-based artist, which are being exhibited for the first time. The works of Nikolai Makarov can be found in well-known collections, including Pierce Brosnan, Oliver Stone, Richard Gere, Ellen de Generes and Al Pacino.
Nikolai Makarov uses photographs as templates for his paintings, most of which he makes himself. When choosing his cameras, he attaches great importance to the fact that the photographic technology allows him to create the composition and atmosphere he wants for his painting in the prototype - a creative process that involves working with the camera, but does not include the last decisive step outsourced to another medium. Last but not least, the choice of motif is influenced by the interplay of the photographic gaze and the perspective of the painter. With this expansion of the photographic process, he brings the reality perceived by the eye back to a three-dimensionality via the intermediate station of two-dimensionally captured photographs, albeit incomparably more mysterious and multi-layered, by allowing the motif on the canvas to emerge again in a hazy and blurred way, level by level.
Already at the beginning of his career Nikolai Makarov switched from oil paint and brush to a complex painting technique with acrylic paint and spray gun. In the process of creating his paintings, he first creates an underpainting with black acrylic paint in order to define the composition of the picture and to create a light dramaturgy with the design medium of chiaroscuro. Water-thinned acrylic paints are then applied in several layers and blurred if necessary, giving Makarov a sfumatoe effect in his paintings. The final layer is made of the pigment dye Kasselerbraun, obtained from lignite, which is washed into the canvas in the last step. The resulting brownish veil, which is typical of Makarov's paintings and seems to veil and float around the depicted figures and objects, is reminiscent of the so-called gallery tone, the natural darkening process of oil paintings, which is actually caused by yellowing and oxidation.
Based on symbolism, Nikolai Makarov's works have an unreal, sometimes dark atmosphere. He combines the simplicity of the motif with the mysterious - a tenet of symbolism that made protagonists such as Eugène Carrière (1849-1906) famous. Using photographic templates, which serve as preliminary work for the paintings and are then implemented on canvas with a detailed painting style, Nikolai Makarov gets the impression that the border between imaginary and real sensory impressions is blurring. Pictorial objects are transferred to a background and indefinite sphere. No concrete content and meanings are conveyed: rather, it is about sensations, meditation, passion and dreams. Thematic associations such as darkness and death, often in connection with eroticism, are just as present as the processing of the »unconscious inner life«, the original and purity.