Ilya Rabinovich
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The Painting lesson

Visiting The Ethnography Museum in Chisinau, left me with overwhelming impressions. Studying the pictorial landscapes seen almost in each and every hall made me wonder upon the roles and symbolism that those masterpieces are designated to convey upon the visitor. While meditating on the symbolical functioning of the museum a Tchernichovsky’s expression ‘Man is nothing but the shape of his native Landscape’ kept re emerging in my mind.

The painted landscapes are divided to three main groups:

- A naive symbolic painted room describes the creation of Moldova from a religious perspective from Genesis- as a Garden of Eden till the apocalypse.

-Exhibitions that consists of taxidermies wildlife animals a monumental scale landscape paintings. The hyper realistic style mythologizing the uniqueness and the sublimity of the Moldovan landscape, thus contributing to the creation of the national myth. It represents Moldova as the vanishing paradise untamed by humans.

-The symbolic style depicting a landscape and the life of ethnic minorities in combination with costumes belonging to that group.

In all three cases, the function of the imagined landscape is to create an emotional relation with the viewer. In an opposition the consequences of life under Soviet era are described via photographs and material evidences. This dichotomy makes a clear statement about the Moldovan timeline, upon the dream and it’s disaster. But this conceptual dichotomy suffers from some drawbacks, namely the inability to position Moldova in relation to other landscapes and nations. Searching for maps or other representations of Moldova’s borders and territory reveals a disturbing situation, namely Moldova is always depicted as a torn out of the glob territory surrounded by metal frame, the kind of a products from the Soviet era.

Thus the painted landscapes and the maps serve as a metaphor for the Moldova’s strive to redefine their own new national identity. They reject their recent past and ignore their unmentionable neighbors, at the price of recreating themselves as if existing in an empty void.

You can see the digital version of the work in: