Igor Melnikov


Igor Melnikov’s illusory paintings employ tropes of landscape painting and portraiture in order to convey ambiguous emotional states. An underground painter during his time in the Soviet Union, he was constantly confronted with a paucity of materials, and so developed an economical approach to painting, reflected in the spare directness of his work. Melnikov paints in a technically precise manner, creating dream-like spaces inhabited by childish figures bearing indeterminate facial expressions, which lend the work an aura of emotional instability. “The most important thing to me is to catch the uncatchable expression on the face," Melnikov says. “There is an instant when you don’t know whether it is going to be a smile or tears.”