Do the strong and the arrogant have the same face? – The sculptor and interrogator Sergei  Trufanov


Dr. Nurit Cederboum

“The strong and the arrogant have the same face; one discards any hesitation while the other overcomes all fears, both appear to rebel against authority. But if the personality only reveals itself in the face, how can we distinguish between these two characteristics, power and impudence” (Giacomo della Porta). It seems that Sergei Trufanov also deals, among other things, with this question - in his own unique way.

Plato and Aristotle determined and even agreed that a basic characteristic of any artistic work is the creation of an illusion of reality. Since that determination, a continuous debate has ensued on the question “what is the role of the arts”. Different approaches have appeared, expressed in different styles of art, paving the history of the arts. Viewing his works, it appears that Sergei Trufanov envisages that his role as an artist is to create an illusionary reality. The potential materials for Trufanov’s reality are: different types of wood which he artistically carves, sculpts and etches, body parts and especially faces which are seemingly the main subject, and a world of emotional and philosophical experiences that effervesce in his conscious and subconscious inner world.

Sergei Trufanov presents a large body of sculptures in small sizes, each of them having a story of its own, and together forming one large story, about man and his overt and covert image. The sculptures are actual physical bodies in space which tell stories. Literature, of course, is responsible for the telling of stories; it is an art that involves a continuous process of absorption over time and is therefore defined as the “temporal art”. In contrast, plastic arts exist in and are absorbed through a static space, and so they are defined as “spatial arts”. It seems that in his unique way, Trufanov succeeds in welding together “temporal” and “spatial” arts, since his plastic creations, the sculptures, tell stories.

Oscar Wilde teaches us that “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry”. Trufanov shows us this in his works, exposing the people and their other thoughts, in contrast to the thoughts that are layered in the strata of their inner souls, hidden behind the mask of their faces, bearing what is covert as an inseparable part of what is overt. Trufanov bases his work on the assumption that the inner world (in Hebrew: “pnim”) is also reflected in the face (in Hebrew: “panim”). The face is multifaceted, appearing in the temporal space, simultaneously above the surface, below the surface and in multiple facets.

Trufanov’s sculptures correlate with the Surrealistic stream – the revolutionary philosophical movement that led artists to integrate elements of surprise and illogic in their work. In the spirit of Surrealism and according to the principles that characterize this stream, Trufanov is careful to maintain a hold on reality, the objects are connected to reality, they appear to be real and correct, but their position, their relationship with reality and the linkage between them is not realistic.

An artist who adopts this style of creativity, touches the material, and using images taken from familiar and well comprehended reality, and actual physical materials, expresses dreams, subconscious thoughts, a world perception and psychological and philosophical theory, attempting to liberate hidden inner worlds from the depths of the soul on a personal and also a universal level.  

In the body of Trufanov’s works we find a combination of body parts, especially hands and other objects. But mainly he is interested here in the different variations of expression in human faces. In the spirit of Surrealism he presents pure free thinking, liberated from the boundaries of logic similar to the “thoughts” that appear in dreaming, or alternatively in madness or in free association.

Trufanov has an artistic hand; he is a skilled and talented sculptor who combines a high level of ability and skills and “wild” uninhibited, but well-reasoned thinking in line with his philosophical perception. He constructs masks and removes them, adding layers and peeling them off, and thus tells us about the complexity of the human soul. And you may ask and reiterate in the spirit of the words of Oscar Wilde: “Can anyone, over a significant period of time, turn one face towards themselves and another towards others without wondering in the end which of them is genuine”

The Surrealists wanted, inter alia, to find a solution to negativism, to mental problems, and they thought that through the arts it would be possible to solve the world’s problems. I do not think that Trufanov thought that he and his works would be able to solve the problems of the world, but he decided to deal with existential questions and presents them to the world in a restrained manner, accurate, clean and nevertheless hitting out.



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