We are probably all familiar with the saying “even the walls have ears.” But sometimes, especially in the Soviet days, the walls also had eyes. But in this particular case, let’s not talk about being followed by the secret service, but about eyes that are clearly wide open. This is not about spying, but about an open gaze. But who is the one watching us?
Walls and objects around the home often take on human traits in the paintings by Henrikas Natalevičius. After all, everything that has eyes looks alive. Inanimate objects are imbued with life and become a part of us, each with our own past and present and a story to tell.
We might look at this painting by Natalevičius as a set design, for example, for a mystery thriller. A door will soon open and a person or an object with eyes wide open will walk into the room and, without turning left or right, will march straight up to the wall and look directly into the eyes. But to whom do these all-seeing eyes in this narrow hallway belong?
The pinkish, almost undulating walls, almost as alive as a human body, and the narrow red runner (perhaps a carpet) with its green edging would be common attributes in Soviet-era, or perhaps later, interiors in private apartments or offices. Everything here is expected and recognizable. Except for the eyes. Whose are they?
Take a closer look. Would you agree that we’re looking at this painting from a rather strange angle? As if we were standing in front of the wall from across the red runner, but from a slightly raised perspective? Imagine a traditional layout for such a space – there would normally be a wall where we are standing. In other words, we see the image in front of us through the eyes of the opposite wall. Are we spying? What intrigues us in this hallway? And, again, whose eyes are those that we see? Have you had enough of the questions? Let’s take a break and move on.