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The 3D installation "LOOK" by artist Andrii Chernovil.

Today, the 3rd of June marks the birthday of the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

Chernovil Art Gallery would like to wish His Highness strongest health and creative decisions that would bring Qatar prosperity.

Andrii Chernovil’s “Look” and the Ubiquity of Power


"The image transformed depending on the point from which the viewer sees it "

The 3D installation “Look”, created by Ukrainian renowned visual artist, Andrii Chernovil, is an idiosyncratic depiction of the modern history of Qatar’s statehood. Chernovil’s “Look” borders classical portraiture and yet remains a one-of-a-kind project, encompassing the artist’s solid engineering background, unbounded artistic curiosity, and a vocation originating deep within. Chernovil is a master of evoking authentic human experiences as "Look" engages more human senses than just a classic framed portrait by creatively emphasizing the role of the human perspective. 

The angulation and light determine the characters of the artist’s project. From the left angle, the artwork portrays the Father Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, a visionary leader whose efforts have earned Qatar worldwide recognition. Moving to the right, one can suddenly see Sheikh Hamad’s ambitious and virtuous successor, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the current ruler of the state of Qatar. It is noteworthy that both of depicted leaders of Qatar are connected symbolically and physically. The idea follows that as the time flows, so does the installation, symbolizing intergenerational continuity and cohesion of Qatar’s rulership.

Chernovil wants the viewers to engage with his work. It is not a one-sided interaction but rather a dialogue that Chernovil invites his audience for. The artist does so by reengineering the idea of human perception and integrating space and light as variables rather than fixed parameters. “Look” challenges conventional boundaries of portraiture and offers a new approach to the idea of angulation in the creative process.

This, however, is not everything that the installation has to offer. “Look” not only encourages us to reflect on the visual experience evoked by the authentic artwork but pushes us to think about whether the high art and politics are compatible.

Power is ambivalent

A growing body of research about political communication suggests that portraits of political leaders and coinage, to name a few examples, have always been the means of building systems of political loyalty throughout history. Portraiture as a craft has been instrumentalized to form and present compelling power identities. The source of these power identities is not based on obedience or punitive authority. Rather power could manifest itself through the means of impression, persuasion, and representation. Power is ambivalent. It relies on imagery, which creates distinct systems of knowledge, as the foundation for subtle rule and leadership.

A portraiture is a form of political communication

A portraiture is a form of political communication. It implies the impression of a pre-selected audience and predetermines the reception of political messages.

Erika Manders (2012), a historian, who extensively wrote about the imperial coinage as a form of power communication in Ancient Rome, argued that “the wielding of power is inextricably bound up with the representation of power.”

To a degree, one can consider portraiture as a public ceremony, which reminds the audiences about the dominant power identity in a subtle fashion. It also can redesign the perception of leadership and endow it with the characteristics of virtuousness, courage, and wisdom. After all, portraiture is a cultural phenomenon that indirectly reminds the public about the power identities bypassing the public’s sense of defensiveness.

Chernovil is a master of his craft. Even more so, he is a master of political messaging by accurately portraying Qatar’s state leaders. And yet again, he has placed his name in the history of high art and the world of political communication.


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