Michael Rogatchi (C). “Poor Yorick!..” In memory of Marcello Mastroianni. 1996.

Imagine a person whose approach to his work is based on the consideration on what if Pygmalion fell in love with a statue not because of her ultimate beauty but out of his own despair for love? That Pygmalion’s motivation has made him to perceive an unfinished statue, which was far from ultimate beauty, as the most wonderful thing in the world.

Michael Rogatchi, our very well-known artist living in Turku, definitely fell victim to one of Heaven’s mistakes. He should have been born in the last century: in 1853 instead of 1953, when van Gogh would have been his contemporary. In that century, artists, composers, and writers were the masters of life. It was the period when a classical education was engrained into the life and marked and defined it. In those times, there was no need to explain who Pygmalion was. In that world, Michael Rogatchi would be at home.

One of his most impressive paintings is July 29th. In Memory of Van Gogh. Michael painted there the last moments of van Gogh’s life as he himself understand, no, feels it. As a matter of fact, the painter succeeded in expressing an extreme moment of being at the border of life and death , literally so.

In Michael’s painting , van Gogh is wearing rather strange shoes, not only very old and falling apart, but not a pair at all. Michael could not explain why but he said that he ‘knew 100% that van Gogh must have had those kinds of shoes, unpaired ones’. To the artist’s amazement, much later after he finished that his work, Michael learned that yes, prior to his death Vincent van Gogh did wear shoes from different pairs, indeed. It is just one of the many fascinating coincidences in Michael’s work and life. 

We are familiar with Michael’s affection for eyes and an eyes’ expressions. He is still fascinated by it. But now, there is something new, as well, in Michael’s works. One can see that the artist has been interested in hands, too. He paints them in a very fascinating and attractive way, making one symbol using hands, after another, each time with a different meaning.

The artist is saying that “hands, indeed, are an extremely important part of a human body. Hands ‘speak out’ on one’s strength, weakness, and hope. Hands can defend and can reject. Hands invite and say good-bye…” And one can see that however different they are, hands painted by Rogatchi have had experienced a lot.

Michael Rogatchi (C). Breaking of Continuity. 1996.

And what about his famous eyes? They are mostly women’s. Michael does not paint a lot of men, in general. Well, the reason is simple: “Eyes tell everything about a woman. Everything!” – says the artist. 

Each year Michael Rogatchi makes at least one painting of a horse. Horses he loves very much, and understands them profoundly. For Michael, horses are the symbol and even the embodiment of energy. “From the horses in my paintings, one could see quite clearly what kind of year it has been for me. Sometimes, horses are very dynamic, radiating joy and wildness in its best meaning, and it means that I had been quite energetic during that year. Another paintings portrays tired, or sad, or exhausted horses, – and I was the same that year,” – shares Michael.

Together with his wife Inna, well-known writer and movie director, Michael Rogatchi demonstrated unparalleled courage in pursuing their goals. Needless to say, their incredibly hard work has led them both to wide success and recognition. During the last five years, Michael have had as many as seventeen exhibitions, and his works have gone to art collectors worldwide. One of the most interesting works which he has exhibited recently at his large and representative personal retrospective exhibition at the Tampere Hall, was ‘Poor Yorick!…’ In Memory of Marcello Mastroianni. This work is truly an original reading of the famous Shakespearian character from Hamlet. Similarly as Days and Nights of Pygmalion and other works from The Back Side of the Moon Collection, this remarkable painting approaches well-known classical characters and phenomenon from a completely different point of view, and with an independent interpretation.

July 29th. In Memory of van Gogh. 1995.

Michael Rogatchi has obviously learned a lot from the essential cultural figures of the past. And there is definitely a strong presence of this essential linkage in his works.

One of Rogatchi’s most peculiar features as a modern artist is his unstoppable desire to see the Moon from the other side. Otherwise, how on earth would he know about van Gogh’s shoes?…

Tarja Passi, Iltalehti Weekend, Finland, Iltalehti is the biggest and most popular daily in Finland.