An article for the exhibition catalog “Central Asia – Moscow – Jerusalem”.

State Museum of Oriental Art. Moscow, 2008


First and the most important lessons of painting Mikhail Yakhilevich as a child learned from his granfather, Meir Akselrod, from whom he inherited the gift of coloristic and specific attitude to colour, figurable modelling and chaste restraint in the expression of feelings.

His works are clearly divided into two periods: early, before moving to the “historical homeland” in 1990, and the current, which is more mature in the opinion of the artist…

In the first period Yakhilevich created colorful paintings, densely populated with lively and largely primitivistic images. In the second period his painting becomes almost minimalist in its terse, much more space and more conceptual than before – while remaining beautiful.  There are now Single human figures in a desolate landscape, natural and urban.

In Israel Yakhilevich discovered the beauty of the desert, the mountains, the sea and the coast, and also cubages reduced to primitive geometries.

All this soft molded large planes or dabs of pure, matte muted, as it was drowned and always luminiferous colours – subtle shades of mauve, violet-blue, lemon yellow, cream, pink and green tones, complemented by a bright colorful splashes. Exactly the colour or rather pictural plastic solution, posessing some “moment of uncertainty”, breathes life into his laconic images and make a mystery of them, which forces us to remember P.Florensky’s statement “Existence is mysterious and doesnt want its secrets to be broken by words».

Yakhilevich developed the new pictorial language in Israel, he has managed to say a lot. A man i placed between nature, in which he finds harmony and modern urban civilization, which condemns him to loneliness(probably the source is artist’s experience, related to emigration), and also between peace and constant threat of war.

In landscapes, we feel the infinity of nature, its mysterious silence, its inner life, transmitted by movement of color and lighting plans, their harmonies and contrasts.

Man fits into the natural world, listens to it, tries to understand its secret, and the buildings in which he lives sometimes look like a part of nature, showing up from it with more luminiferous colour.

Pushing the spatial plans, using unexpected foreshotenings, Yakhilevich suggests dynamism, “angular” and sometimes irrationality of modern life. Many works represents the theme of the city suppressing its people. The human figures are enclosed into the passages between the horizontally extended architectural structures and can only move in a given direction. Strange structures block the road, narrow entrances lead nowhere,  low hanging archways press down.

Artist unfold this theme in the series «Shelter», where the characters do not ascend upward, as in «Balconies», but descend into the bunkers, located in the bowels of earth. However sometimes they grow to the new depths of understanding reality and contemplate space, not the terrestrial compartment.

Along with the solo works, a typical feature of Mikhail Yakhilevich is to create multi-part compositions in the form of diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs, consisting of four pictures. Such compositions can show discretion, complexity and multidimensionality of life, as well as commonality of modern culture. The artist collects this disjointed fragments, adds them as blocks in a child’s toy to get a complete picture of the world.

Michael Yakhilevich creation is a fascinating pictorial narration about Israel, modern life and life in general, in which, undoubtedly, will be written a lot of new pages.