The Loony Bin Of Life

My devotion to Pinocchio is not a secret. I have always loved the character from the book by Carlo Collodi. I loved Disney's Pinocchio, I love the Russian Pinocchio, and I love my two Pinocchio toys. They have travelled with me around the world; they are ancient and wise. Made in Russia, they came from Russia to me. They are old, probably 50 and 45 years old. They are ageing. One of them has lost his hair and, unfortunately, his nose.

Since I was introduced to Pinocchio's character, I have always been painting and drawing this wonderful marionette. Pinocchio willy-nilly was becoming a hero of my work.

My first portrait of Pinocchio was an oil on canvas, very expressionistic, with fat, large strokes of brush paint. It is a dark painting. The next was lighter, brighter, finer, with the spell of impressionistic touch. The series Return of Peter Pan also has a Pinocchio theme. Two brothers sitting close to each other and talking.

A few years ago, I made another painting with Pinocchios in it. It is a fascinating painting. I had an urge to paint a huge Pinocchio. I wanted to make him lean forward. I sketched him on a large canvas using thinned oil paint. Then, I made very quickly a small sketchy painting on a small canvas. The space of the rectangular canvas was full of creatures and children. They were marching and holding banners and flags. They were protesting. They wanted to be free, free from all the rubbish and nonsense of adulthood.

The night after, I didn't sleep and thought about that painting. A new idea was born in my brain, with the huge Pinocchio as a predominant element. I imagined a Merry-go-round, some beautiful wooden horses and my children and a few toys riding them. A carousel as a loony bin of life. The children and the toys they want to escape from this madness. Pinocchios, as wise men, would help them to achieve it. They should rescue the children from the loony bin of our lives.


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