Apanski had his first solo exhibition at the Wollongong Art Gallery last year after deciding in 2006 to devote his time to painting and sculpting. Largely self-taught he educated himself by attending the Art Gallery of New South Wales on a regular basis.
Originally from the Soviet Union, he was at school engaged in compulsory courses called military preparations for beginners. The last two years were spent preparing students for the army.
He later refused to join the army because of the war in Afghanistan. I told the military office, ‘I simply don’t want to kill anybody’ or be killed! Next morning I was picked up and delivered to the Republic Psychiatric Hospital where they subjected me to insulin shock therapy for three months. For a year I found it difficult to speak.
After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 everyone was full of hope but the freedom didn’t last. In 1994 power in Belarus was taken by President Lukashenko and over the next few years, Belarus became a totalitarian country. Apanski left in 1997.
Death is a critical subject in his painting. ‘Throughout my life, I learned how to let go of the fear of death: to live death. Death is a very important subject, it tells me one day I have to leave this world, so live with my lifetime with purpose, live with dignity and respect others.’
In his, work there are often mythical icons with machines and weapons.
Apanski comments that ‘When I think about modern society, I see it as a very sick, mental patient who lives in a reality constructed by its own delusional mind. It deliberately confuses good and evil to serve its goals. Conscience, ethics, and morality are a burden for such a society. Highly developed technology in the hands of these maniacs is a great danger to the existence of our world.
‘I am from a country where 25% of the population was exterminated by Nazis in World War II. For me Apocalypse is happening now, it is always near, next to me; it is living in a parallel reality. Its ultimate form is war.
It has been a year since Apanski’s first solo exhibition ‘Anthropocene’ at the Wollongong Art Gallery. ‘The exhibition activated a new sequence in my professional and personal evolution. I was deeply moved to see people of all nationalities, ages, social and religious groups asking the same burning question: ‘What can I do to make things better?’
Apanski’s art is evolving. ‘I am learning how to trust my intuition. Intuition tells me that there is much more in life than my eye can see. Art is a flow of energy, all I have to do is just direct it. Art is also an experiment that is never over; it is a meditative process…I would like to give more space to the viewer’s imagination, I want the viewer to be the co-creator of the work, and I feel that the abstract style suits it well.*
*Refer Artist Profile Issue 43. Story Kon Gouriotis. Photography Bernie Fischer p.100
Pale rider, Death, 2013 oil on canvas
Courtesy the artist and Wollongong Art Gallery, New South Wales