“…After a decade of hard and fruitless work, in 1960, I did my first significant work, painted my first-for the first time, I did something on my own – picture with two faces, THE PORTRAIT,. With this work, my, so to say, development as an artist starts. Accidentally, for the first time, I – I was the first one who did it – pulled down “a face from a face”, in the image and likeness “and so THE FACE”. I was astonishing. As if it were a portrait, yet not a portrait of a certain person, but rather a universal one, a portrait of all in one face, one depiction – and it was terribly familiar. I did not have a task “to pull down the masks”; and what I saw, was not ‘bad”, or “good”; it was more than that. It was more familiar, more real. And this face, or rather these two faces there were imprinted millions of years than mankind had lived in the past. And there also were as many years – in an impenetrable future. Right away, - right away! – I realised that I was shown the way. All normal means of an art of drawing – the form-came right away – too simple – primitive drawing, spectral, “eternal”, burning colour – plain- smooth – contrasting shade – and the most important – PATTERN s main principle. Anything free, impromptu, unnecessary was excluded; no “genius things”; no “inspirations”; no “explosions”; no spectacular brush waves. Anonymity in completeness. Smoothness of faceless artisan ….
….For over 40 years, day after day, I am painting my countless canvas, one after another. Something changed in them, with time, coming pout of the light, or sinking into darkness.. but always – always! – these faces, these PORTRAITS OF FACES, repeat themselves.”
Paris. October, 2002
“There is no satire in Oleg Tselkov’s paintings, let alone, social satire. They have nothing to say about the time and place in which they live. They are of a different nature. They are more about physiology. They emanate from the dark and sinister things lurking at the bottom of any man’s soul. If you wish, a more apt literary analogy would be with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The character releases what is hidden in his conscious or even subconscious, and it turns out to be neither beautiful, nor brilliant but hateful and evil. The artist opens up a vent releasing the monsters of his soul , giving these phantoms shape and image, he detaches them from himself thus getting rid of them and redeeming himself. Indeed, these paintings are offered to the viewer as a medicinal remedy. A cure that is good for the author should also be beneficial for his audience”. Eric Bulatov
“Oleg Tselkov is the creator of an astonishing cocktail of the 21st century. This explosive mixture of Rembrant’s colouring and Rubens magnificent flesh, multiplied by Russian folly and the might of the barbaric spirit”. Mikhail Shemyakin