This site uses cookies to provide a better user experience.

Back to press
“The naked body is not about vulgarity” – Svetlana Chimid for FLACON

Full information

Nudity? That’s not a word. A naked body is something else entirely. But everyone treats works of art where it is the center of the work differently. Someone admires, someone sanctimoniously covers his eyes (yes, still does), someone is looking for meaning.

The artist Svetlana Chimitdorzhina (pseudonym: Svetlana Chimid) has a key object in her works – the naked female body. She draws from life. Self, other women. And she does not do it just to demonstrate the beauty of the female body. She believes that it allows her to see a person better.

We asked Svetlana how it feels when your naked body is seen by dozens of visitors at the exhibition. And at the same time we asked her to reveal the secret meaning of some of her paintings. From here on – only direct speech.

Drawing myself naked is brave
I am not embarrassed to draw and show my naked body in exhibitions. I think it’s a matter of professional deformation. In my classes at the art institute, there are several nude models standing in front of the students at the same time – it’s a familiar environment. While I’m working on a painting, I’m not disturbed or worried about anything at all. Only afterwards, among visitors, I can become slightly uncomfortable, but this quickly passes. For me, showing the body in paintings is not about vulgarity, it’s about challenge, courage, inner strength. In a thoughtful artist there is a schoolboy teenager. In life, I don’t like to show my body: I prefer a T-shirt or a loose hoodie to a top. In paintings, on the contrary, clothes get in the way. Nude paintings show a person “pure”. Clothes, makeup – these are all superfluous visual codes, they confuse, take away from the essence. Of course, I can also paint a girl dressed, if it is necessary according to the idea and will convey the idea. But I don’t want to clutter the picture just like that.

Working style and recent paintings
Nowadays I work mainly in three directions – text, figurative and “new landscape”. In the text (in works where words are used – Ed.) the words “I” prevail, they attack the canvas in swarms, as if flowing down it. In my new works I use mirrors in antique frames on which I place neon letters. I am also very fascinated by whirlpools and hurricanes. They are big and I feel small next to them. That’s why I turn to the technique of landscape and combine it with flat geometric figures, creating contrasts. In the midst of velvet clouds, an abstract bronze star, devoid of light and shade, appears. In figurativ I can also show my “I” – with the help of rhythms and lines of the body I convey my thoughts. After all, if a person is his thoughts and his body, then one expresses the other. It is in figurative works that I almost always paint women. Through a woman’s image you can convey the whole palette of emotions. Emotions suit a woman, they blossom on her.

Images of femininity in the works
When I think of the word “woman” I think of gender roles, matriarchy, patriarchy, feminism, notorious ideals of beauty, prejudice. But I want to see just a woman in my paintings. For example, in the painting “Courage” – soft facial features with a determined look are drowned in orange paint, a symbol of courage. The portrait, though chiseled and neat, is still strong, monumental. The tail gathered at the back looks like a warrior’s headdress. Contrast of softness and strong poses, facial expressions. I like to “skip” eyelashes, eyebrows, to show the beauty of a woman only through the sculpture of the face. Soft brow arches, round forehead. The skulls of men and women are radically different. No matter how much beauty standards change, it is the skeleton itself – the proportions of the pelvis to the shoulders, the plasticity – that hooks me in an image. I like to depict how a woman sits, stands, crosses her legs, walks. Nowadays there are a lot of secondary signs of femininity (eyelashes, eyebrows, heels), I myself love and use the beauty sphere, but in my works I talk about what is really important and beautiful for me. My woman is beautiful by default, she doesn’t have to try. And the heroine does not flirt with sexuality, it makes her childishly naive and open, you want to trust her.

The difference between the ancient nude woman and the modern woman
In the past, a woman was seen as an ornament, a flower. Today one wants to translate the female image through depth and strength. It is as if the modern woman does not know that she is beautiful, she has no goal to be so, but she is, without canonical poses, gloss. For example, the Pre-Raphaelites loved to paint women’s curls, in general hair was for them a symbol of softness and beauty. In my works, the hair goes into the background – there is no volume, it is rather wet and tight around the head and forehead. The understanding of woman in general has changed over time. I am close to the primary image of a woman – Venus of Willendorf: fertility, mother, warmth. Now a woman is portrayed as strong, independent, beautiful, but we can only fully understand what she is like after a while. When I create works, I set a lot of goals for myself. Sometimes I have an image and I want to convey it with the help of my skills and associations. I want the other person to say: “Ah, yes, I know what you meant.” You might not have been able to describe exactly what you were thinking with words, but you still understood each other through the work.

What beauty is to me
Beauty for me is elegantly composed rhythms, shapes and colors. If you’ve fallen in love with those special straight lines of the eyes and nose, upward, straight eyebrows – that’s it, you’ll never forget them again. I like the concept of Japanese aesthetics “wabi-sabi”: wabi can be translated as “modest, simple and unassuming beauty”, and sabi is a patina of antiquity, authenticity and peace. But I’m not giving up on understanding current fashion trends either. I like where beauty fashion is going now – monochrome, clean girl make-up, minimalism. It feels like we are moving towards simplicity and something bigger than ourselves – no frills, no unnecessary details. Then we have space to think about what’s important.

Similar articles