Dimitri Kozyrev’s “Mirror” celebrates the artist’s stylistic choices rather than simple resolutions or understanding. 

“Good art is when you can feel the creator using his experiences,” artist Dimitri Kozyrev says. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1967 and moved to the U.S. in 1991, where he has spent much of his time as an academic. Today as an artist, Kozyrev considers learning and understanding history a crucial part of his work. To create “Mirror,” Kozyrev studied hundreds of archival images featuring young soldiers. In the painting, the forms of these men appear shrouded beneath vivid, modern tones, creating what Kozyrev describes as “a seemingly impossible contrast.” 

The piece­—along with its collection­—is titled “Mirror,” after Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1975 film of the same name. Like the film, Kozyrev’s work is a push and pull between the familiar and the unknown, a means of reflecting on history while moving away from it. “The role of an artist is to look, reflect and then present the result,” Kozyrev says.

Dimitri Kozyrev
Artist Dimitri Kozyrev. Photo courtesy Modern West

Kozyrev’s disinterest in tidy resolutions is apparent in his stylistic choices. His art brings to mind, but does not imitate, chronicled stylistic periods. Instead, it presents as a medley of historical influences. “Every artist is a result of their time and visual education,” Kozyrev explains. “I was first moved by surrealism, then Russian Constructivism and Bauhaus.” 

Kozyrev creates work that is not always easy to understand. However, he does not believe it must be understood to be enjoyed. Kozyrev’s complex, semi-abstract style creates space for his audience to determine­­, on their own, what they take from his art. What “Mirror” lacks in specificity, it makes up for in its ability to garner profoundly satisfying emotions. 

“Mirror” is available at Modern West Fine Art, SLC.

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