Chess Paintings by the Russian American artist Michael Cheval

We must constantly fight against a monster which devours everything: routine. ― Honoré de Balzac

Habits and routine may contribute to our success, but they also have an unbelievable power to waste and destroy. As long as they dictate the patterns of how we live, the way how we make decisions, the way we look at the position when we are making the next move, new dimensions in life won’t emerge. As someone put it, “The same old thing – even if it’s champagne – is still the same old thing.”

When we live in a familiar world, everything can be explained, sometimes even with bad reasons. Common rules and boundaries prevent us from seeing the true face of things around. “To understand our life the way it truly is. Without propaganda, ideology, politics and imposed tastes. Life in its pure state is beautiful, full of meaning. But combined with the above, it is absurd, illogical. The majority of people became accustomed to such life and they do not notice this.” says the Russian American artist Michael Cheval (born Mikhail Khokhlachev, Kotelnikovo, 1966).

The Air of Immutable Truth

Michael Cheval, The air of immutable truth (2013)

So how we break the chain of routine and renew our lives? How we take a fresh look at things in an attempt to understand what they really are?

“That is why it is useful, once in a while, to turn everything upside down, in order to wake up,” continues Cheval. [as Einstein put it, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”]

According to Cheval, “absurdism is an inverted side of reality, a reverse side of logic that does not emerge from the dreams of surrealists or the realm of the subconsciousness. Rather, it is a game of imagination.”

Cheval’s paintings show a map of author’s journey into illusion. They always offer you a “metaphor that requires a sharp eye to decipher often hidden meaning. A puzzle whose code needs to be discovered.”  (

And chess seems to be part of the puzzle.

Enjoy Cheval’s paintings. And give your imagination wings in 2014! Happy New Year everyone!


A la guerre comme a la guerre

nullTrojan defense




The epic zugzwang


Portrait of Mr and Mrs Paul Cass in Vermeers interior


New rules of the old game


Illusion of diversity


Cheval, On the edge of eternity -Alexandra