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Tracing Visible Subjects' Invisible Inter-Connection

Posted 11/7/2012

By Professor Ojars Sparitis



Inna Rogatchi - essayist, writer, cultural figure, poet, and now also photographer, - is this not too much for one person, even if a talented one? My answer to that is the following: if you have been chosen by the Creator for speaking to people, for reaching out to them, it means that you are 'an instrument' of a special sort. In this case, why could not you be also 'an orchestra'? Even just for the purpose of reaching as many soul-mates as possible, and those who are still searching their own way.

Tellingly, the author has chosen 'thread' as a part of the title of the series (Melody Thread). It evokes a number of associations. Thread means a string, a wire, and a linkage. In my understanding, all those meanings are quite suitable for the way in which Inna interprets the theme of her musical collection. All those meanings are stating, narrating and referring to the many layers one can see in this body of work. It also could be said that being able to discover and express invisible inter-connections between visible objects, requires intuition, intellect and skill.

Colour-wise, the works of the Melody Thread series are expressed by the artist in a variety of sepia spectra; as to composition, the musical instruments are combined with music scores, drapes, and architectural details. The works are named in the tune with the main theme - DuettoSounds of EternityTarantella Echo, and the like. They all sound like paraphrases of various musical themes, or like notes written over the orchestral score. They also look like paraphrases of a 'musical still life' theme; like a vivid brain game full of reflections of symbols characteristic, perhaps, of a Renaissance intellectual.

Importantly, one can see a living soul in those works of art photography, with its subjects talking to us. Historic musical instruments featured in Inna's works are transformed into soul-bearing, singing pieces of art - and by that, a dialogue is born. A very special dialogue - when those alive, 'breathing' images are 'talking' to the touch of the energy that comes from the look of a person absorbed in the work.

An instrument starts to play, its strings' vibration touches emotions of a stranger, passing by and noticing the image casually - and a miracle is born. It is the miracle of transforming a two-dimensional picture not just into a three-dimensional one, only by gathering its depth, but into its four-dimensional one, the dimension that does not belong to the material world. This is the emotional dimension, with the prevailing component of time. We are as if hearing the voice of the instrument from Inna's photograph, or ensemble's accord; we are hearing a sound of melody coming upon us from the photograph. And we are starting to realise a harmony in the images' co-existence with the environment around them, and us.

Voices of melodies enchanted in the music scores are reviving in the images of the instruments, their resonators shown to us in the magic, velvet semi-darkness. The voices are calling, from another world, to the masters who created those beautiful, ageless instruments. They are calling also to the musicians whom we never knew. The hands of those musicians were touching, affectionately, the bodies of those talking, crying, laughing, reflecting creations. We can see those historic instruments with their voices still as alive and beautiful as ever.

When creating her photographs, Inna Rogatchi has been able to grasp the special contiguity of the magical moment when after bowing to the public, the musician has just left the stage, but the sound of the strings is still vibrating in the space. It is still alive and present here, among us, in the hall, at the concert that has just finished.


Ovid used to say: "I congratulate myself for being born in this world"; and also "We are living as the people of our own era". These words of one of the finest poets, an unparalleled orator and Julius Caesar's contemporary, are quite applicable to all of us who are watching Inna Rogatchi's fine art photography series that she has named with fine precision - Metamorphoses. Or Transformations.

In his famous philosophical poem of the same name, Roman poet, philosopher and Epicure's follower Publius Ovidius used Mediterranean myths from Greece and Rome for creating novellas, in which he inter-connected them all. It is easy to presume that the chain of Ovid's stories based on myths could come out as yet another repetition of fable-like plots. But Ovid did manage to attract his readers; and the readers of his time were not that prone to believe in all sorts of fantasies. Ovid won his readers as his Metamorphoses was a shining example of masterly, inventive combination of intellect and emotions so evident in his work. Ovid's classic narrative is one of the most appealing samples of the philosophical poetry in which allegories and allusions are applied as the main tool for creating wide and rich tapestry of the era contemporary to the author and his readers. When reading such work, we are starting to see ourselves in context and more fully, and our perception gets richer and deeper.

Ovid starts with the creation of the world, and then goes on with his description of pre-historic civilisations. He leads his readers to the climax of his major work - transforming Julius Caesar into a star, thus creating a metaphor of unparalleled shrewdness, one of the strongest images in classic literature. It is interesting that this should work in such a serious genre; Ovid does not deny himself the joy of a healthy smile, and sometimes a bit of teasing of the gods and their 'godly' tricks. As can be expected from an Epicurean, he also thoroughly enjoys a playful approach to the theme of love, and a pinch of somewhat distanced irony regarding his contemporaries' attitude to life.

Turning to Inna Rogatchi's series, and our perception of it, the key to her 20-piece Metamorphoses - or Transformations - work is the names of famous artists, composers, and poets who have become 'myths' for us, with their legendary lives and achievements. In her 'mythology', one can trace the same 'godly' approach as in Ovid. It is the approach of creative individuality. It is the way of inspiring the spirit.

Observing Inna's collection, we realise that we are witnessing the creation of a new world; the world of Inna Rogatchi. We can see the process step-by-step: it starts from molecular, spark-like dew drop reflections of the poetry of Japanese scientist and poet Matsuo Basho, the star of the Edo Period, and it reaches explosive leaps into the infinite cosmos of the choreography of the great Maurice Jean Bejart. In this newly created world of Inna Rogatchi, there are some crucial divisions, both fundamental and previously known and new ones. Additionally to the pillars of spiritual life manifesting light's separation from darkness, existence's separation from non-existence, and festivity's separation from the mundane, we can see here divisions of new, emotionally charged inspirations. Those original inspirations in Inna's world were born by her subjective perception of the atmosphere, colours, sounds, and - sensations. Her perception is seemingly meditative in its approach, and it has become the main impulse for her inspirations.

In Ovid's world, as in that of Inna Rogatchi, humans with their individual capacity have been created already. This human being is enjoying himself, and he exalts the Creator. But sometimes, when he realises how inferior he is, this human becomes melancholic. It happens when he realises that his capacities in the world created for him, are still inadequate, still limited. Of course, each individual experiences passionate outbursts, the innermost of one's soul gets out every now and then in temperamental ways; impulses of our uplifts and downgrades are expressed in emotional swings.

But on Inna's works from Metamorphoses collection, the Cosmos portrayed there is still the space which is unreachable for us. This is the place where somebody else is thriving; some creatures who are more perfect than we are, and maybe even ideal ones. The borders of the clouds in Inna's works are semi-transparent; they are eroded by the artist resembling water-colour technique. Essentially, her clouds are free from gravity. The gravity that presses a human being towards the earth, and keeps him there so powerfully. But the human being in question is aspiring to overcome the doom imposed upon him. This human being dreams intensively of getting the possibility to move freely in non-measured, non-limited, free space; even if in his spiritual form and way. This human being is holding his breath with the thought of being able to get closer to the sphere where the creative genius lives, the one who Creates ideas.

In her Metamorphoses series, Inna Rogatchi in her artistic capacity is trying to get closer to her ideal of man and creative personality - closer to maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, the outstanding cellist and conductor.

Inna is able to get in her works imprints of many varying impressions coming from natural phenomena. In these phenomena, there are only minimal traces of human presence; only some subtle traces. The artist is searching for a harmonic accord between herself and the cosmic space she is looking at; she is interested in producing such accord between music and the artistic matrix created by the composers and poets and the heartbeat of those listening to music and watching photography.

The 'penmanship' of the clouds in the sky is only ornament; fairy-teller Ovid seems to us to be 'a stalker' of a special sort (referring to Andrey Tarkovsky's hero in his classic film Stalker; Tarkovsky's stalker navigated us to the country of the unexpected, the country of risk and fear); and Inna Rogatchi is only 'an instrument' in the Creator's hands. For she trusted only Him with her idea. The idea to create by a series of art photography images of her memorial to Mstislav Rostropovich. It is in memory of the great master who opened the curtain for millions of people. The curtain that covers the space in which human abilities become infinite for us to feel and see.

Ph.D. Ojars Sparitis 
Professor of Latvian Academy of Arts, Real Member of Latvian Academy of Sciences

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