Geyyur Yunus. Fragments of introspection

– It’s as if all these people in your pictures are saved from the Flood. There are animals, birds, fruits...

But it seems that the artist ignored another attempt at interpretation.

“And this is a thought,” he finally broke the silence. – If you want to be happy, you need to catch the ark on time...


However, Geyyur Yunus is not a fakir, indifferent to the world. And not one of those who cascades words drown out the lack of meaning. Vain and modest, whipping and condescending, sometimes leaning to edification, but more often – a wise narrator of his own visions.


When I was in the sixth grade, my father bought me a tar. In those years it was fashionable to engage in music. Piano, violin, kyamancha... And I began to attend music school. But once  after six months of torment  I took the instrument out of the case, took it by the neck and struck the stone hard. Tar split in two. I went home and confessed everything to my mother. My father returned from work... Mother did not immediately tell him about what had happened  at first, she fed. "Ay kishi, do you know what your son did?"  She said, giving tea... Of course, I was afraid of the wrath of my father, but the desire to paint was stronger.


I attended the drawing lessons in the House of Pioneers and dreamed of coloured pencils, oil paints. I imposed watercolour thickly in layers to create the impression of oil painting. Anticipating the praise and surprise on my invention, I presented my work to Sattar. "What is it? Watercolour? What are you doing? Is this the way to use watercolour?!" He scolded me...

Sattar did not want any of his relatives to become an artist. Only after I entered the art school, he invited me to his workshop. "Get on the trolley bus- 8th, get off at the Olympus., Go up to the fifth floor...". From that day our friendship began.

When meeting with friends at teahouses or at parties, where famous writers, artists, musicians were, he presented me like this: "Meet, this is Geyyur. Very talented and thoughtful young man." I blushed and covered with sweat. "What did he say?! What “istedad”?.. He did this, perhaps involuntarily or out of the goodness of his soul, but this produced in me a feeling of awareness as an artist. A few years ago, a vernissage of graphic works by Sattar Bahlulzade was held. The exhibition was organized by a collector of his works; paintings could be purchased. At the opening were cultural figures, including me. Everyone unanimously called him a great artist... There were also guests from Norway. Later, the translator said that at first, the Norwegians wanted to buy some of the paintings, but at the last minute they doubted: "If he is such a great artist, then why do they value him so cheaply?" – they noticed.


Van Gogh lived in poverty, and now his canvases are sold for millions. Not because people have become smarter and appreciated his paintings. The cost of works dictated by dealers and merchants. They often form artistic tastes...

After classes at the institute, I could not enter the workshop – all the energy was spent on training students. This went on for five years. Then I left teaching.

Among my students were three very capable, but one of them was particularly distinguished. I wrote “6” in my notebook. He had no idea about it until he was told by fellow students. He was flattered, but some time later he asked me to change that mark. “5” seemed to him more convincing than the ephemeral six.

In the visual arts, two plus two does not equal four. At the bazaar - yes, 4. To the debtor – 4. In accounting, too. Those who take the classic solution of this example as a basis will never become artists. Picasso proved that 2 + 2 = 48.


When we say Rembrandt, we do not mean “Sultan Mohammed”. When we say "Rembrandt", we mean Europe, Christianity... When we say "Sultan Mohammed" – we mean the East, Islam...

The world will know the artist by his works. Imitation of European authors is nothing new. Your work – your address, your passport, your DNA. When Fikret Amirov's music sounds, no one doubts where he comes from.

All pictures are rebuses. Not only the paintings of Geyyur Yunus. To understand, you need to contemplate. And for this, you need to prepare. When you go on a journey, you collect equipment, fill a backpack with necessary things... The same with painting. Did you understand everything when you first heard symphonic music?


I first saw the paintings of Kadzhar painting in our National Museum of Art. I was shocked!.. I tried to create paintings in this way, but I could not do anything. You know as if all the tricks, even it seems, but still the level does not hold out. It turned out the whole thing in a special technique. And I began to study Rubens, Caravaggio, Rembrandt... I learned all these secrets on my own. This is not taught in the institutes in detail. But, most importantly, I prayed all the time. “Help me understand,” I turned to the Almighty. And gradually it all came. I didn't think about style, no. What is there... I dreamed of revealing the secrets of writing, the technology of painting. Ensure that faces reflect light.

"How can we calculate the criterion of art?", "There are no criteria in the self-expression!", "Glue gingerbread on the canvas and this can be called art!" – similar thoughts inspire us from all sides. But pointless, or abstract, art is also a reality. The reality of our time. Painting is not subject to exhaustive interpretation. But this does not mean: not to write, not to think, not to analyze.


Post Scriptum

You called – I agreed. You might say: I supposedly followed the plan, the program given by the editors, and the like.

But this is the decision of Allah. Do your job honestly, well, and He will reveal everything at the most unexpected moment.

Interview: Nonna Muzaffarova

Photo: Sergei Hrustalev

Published on the 35th issue