Michael Cheval's paintings are a pure offering to surrealism. Cheval is someone who likes to provoke the viewer, catching attention based on a succession of details that are revealed progressively. Cheval likes to play, enjoys pranking and constantly defies the laws, going against the established rules. He has a rather peculiar way of exaggerating situations through a visual hyperbole. In an ambivalent way, he is capable of causing different optical impressions, causing a visual perplexity. He plays with objects, contradicting and baffling their cognitive senses with an underlying tone of humour and a satirising ability that mishmashes aesthetics and functionality.

Not everything is what it appears at first, he recovers several stories and allegories using humour and irony as a surprise effect. He is able to portray the stories in three different acts, since the viewer becomes aware of the different elements in a progressive way, thus giving rise to a temporal continuity. And suddenly, as if it were an anecdote, a new element arises that changes the whole meaning of the scene, which causes an absurd situation or an unexpected end; it is the ah-ha moment, in which we laugh or rejoice.

One of the common illusions can be found in the several patterns camouflaged in foliage, tree trunks, fabrics, etc., which suddenly show a world full of creatures and characters that help create an atmosphere or the outcome of a specific scene.

Cheval loves music and his compositions show several musicians, which provokes a sort of lightness or enchantment, where objects and beings float as if they were bewitched. His surrealism is so spontaneous, due to its naturalness and harmony, it seems that if something strange is  happening, it can only be in the spectator’s mind.

By Pedro Boaventura • Excerpt from Masters of Painting - Volume 1


Michael Cheval was born in 1966 in Kotelnikovo, a small town in southern Russia. He grew up among paints and brushes, canvases and easels.  His grandfather, a professional artist and sculptor, developed Michael’s love for drawing in his early childhood.  A three-year-old boy, he could already draw complex multi-figured compositions, illustrating his fantasies and impressions.

In 1980, Michael and his family moved to Germany.  His new setting made a great impression on the young artist.  Museums and castles, ancient streets and wonderful landscapes of southern Germany permanently defined Michael’s tastes and predilections.  Always interested in history and literature, Michael became absorbed in music. He organized a band and devoted a number of years to rock ‘n’ roll.  He composed songs and wrote poetry.

After graduating school and serving in a Soviet Army, Michael moved to Nebit-Dag, a Turkmenistan city in the middle of Kara-Kum desert, near the Iranian border. Absorbing Oriental philosophy and the character of Central Asia, he began working as an independent professional artist, shaping his style and surrealistic direction.  Michael collaborated with several theaters and publishing houses in Nebit-Dag and Ashgabat.  In 1992, he graduated from Ashgabat school of Fine Art.

In 1990, Michael held his first personal exhibition in Turkmenistan’s National Museum of Fine Art.  This was a significant event for the 24-year-old artist that showed high appreciation from the republic’s artist community.  In 1994, Michael moved to Russia and worked in Moscow as an independent artist and an illustrator for various publishing houses, including the famous book-publishing house “Planeta”.

His decision to immigrate in 1997 to USA began a new epoch for the artist.  He returned to the Western culture that greatly inspired him in his youth, but now he brought his own experience, his philosophy and vision.  In 1998, he became a member of the prestigious New York’s National Arts Club, where in 2000 he was distinguished with the Exhibition Committee Award at the annual club exhibition.  

Since 1998, Michael regularly exhibits in various New York galleries.  He is a member of Society for Art of Imagination (London, UK) since 2002, and participates in annual European exhibitions held by the Association.

In 2003, Michael was accepted as a participant in the famous “Brave Destiny” exhibition, held in Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in Brooklyn. Among other participants were such celebrated artists as H. R. Giger and Ernst Fuchs.  

Since 2001, Michael exhibits at the International Show, Art Expo, which is held annually in Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York. 

In 2006, Michael’s works were accepted by “Feast of Imagination” exposition at H.R. Giger Museum Gallery, Switzerland.

In 2008 - he was accepted as a participant in the "Dreamscape 2009" exhibition in Amsterdam and published in "Dreamscape" book among of 50 Worldwide famous surrealist artists.

In 2009 - Michael Cheval was chosen as the Best Of Worldwide Oil Artists  by the Best Of Worldwide Artists” Volume I Book Series (Kennedy Publishing, USA).

In 2009 - Palm Art AwardJury and Art Domain Gallery (Leipzig) certify that Michael Cheval is the winner of the First Prize of “Palm Art Award”.

In 2010 – Michael’s artworks have been published in "Dreamscape 2010"book among of 50 Worldwide famous surrealist artists.

In 2010 Michael’s artworks have been published in “Imaginaire”book in Denmark and participated “April’s fool” exhibition organized by “Fantasmus Art”.

In 2011 the famous actress and artist Gina Lollobrigidacommissioned her official portrait to Michael Cheval  - in July 2011 the painting was completed.

In 2012 Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise companies are started exhibiting Cheval's artworks onboard of their major cruise ships. 

In 2013 Michael Cheval has been nominated for Palm Art Award (Germany).

In 2014  Ohio Distinctive Publishing and Stanford Apseloff published the book “Michael Cheval’s Dreams” (Love and Romance).

2015 - Michael Cheval’s artworks are exhibiting in 9 galleries with Wyland Galleries of Key West and Signature Gallery Group.

In 2016 - Park West Galleries accepted Michael Cheval’s artworks for more than 120 Cruise ships all over the World.

• Cheval, Michael ( 2004 ). Lullabies.  InterArt Gallery. 96 pages full colored, art album 12" x 9,5"

• Cheval, Michael ( 2007 ). Nature of AbsurdityInterArt Gallery. 128 pages full colored, art album 12" x 9,5"

• Who's Who in Visual ArtVol. DE 2010-2011 ISBN 978-3-9813474-1-8

• Dreamscape 2009Publisher: Imaginary Editions ISBN: 9789490668020

• Dreamscapes 2010Publisher: Imaginary Editions  ISBN: 9789490668020

• IMAGINAIRE III: Contemporary Magic Realism  2010  Publisher: Fantasmus-Art Aps ISBN-10: 8799214784

• Stanford Apseloff  (2014) “Michael Cheval’s Dreams” 96 pages full colored, art album

• Ohio Distinctive Publishing  ISBN-10: 1936772159

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