postcard from russia
|the effects of gravity, oil on canvas, 36"x36"|
dear friend canadian artist,
since violence of our eviction i am living day to day like rat in sewer. i have no address, am under constant threat from authorities for reasons of liberal thinking, questioning of authority, possibility of revolutionary actions. with gratitude i have been with some others who are experiencing similar conditions. one man i met, a painter incorporating mathematics with his painting is most remarkable man. this is his story:
his name grigori n. chant. he sometimes talks of theories about painting, about perception. he talks with hands, has wild hair, wild eyes, but also generous heart full of love. he feeds many alley cats even with small amount of food he has for himself. at age 19 he won carnegie/ford foundation award from america for many thousand dollars, his paintings exhibited in traveling show to major museums. he was named at 24 age to be recipient of exxon/ibm research fellowship at university of california, berkeley. in his paintings which are intuitive abstract mathematics, he solved the poincare conjecture. this is amazing achievement, very huge recognition and he is first person to do it. more amazing because he is not pure mathematician but artist painter who resolved this conjecture. in year 2000, as result of this achievement he was awarded $1 million dollars millenium prize, but he refused award, quit painting, left america and is now daily living in poverty. i asked him why he did what he did. his reply:
"when given award in america people want you to be hero. i am not hero. i am simple man, simple painter. i leave because, every where people look at and wait for me to be something new again and again like circus performer. america only wants to be entertained. everything is tv show. but for me, i like solitude. i like quiet. in poverty everybody leaves me alone. now i just feed alley cats and do drawings in small sketchbook which i leave on roadside when is full. i am happy. much happier."
-from your russian artist friend