While some call it novelty, others see the tiny pieces, like a portrait of Chekhov on a cross-section of a poppy seed, as amazing works of art. No matter how one feels about the artistic value of micro-miniature artists, there’s no denying the intense level of skill, patience and devotion involved.
The Museum of Miniatures in Prague features the tiny works of Anatolij Konenko. Born in Omsk, Siberia, Konenko is one of only a handful of professional micro-miniaturists around the world. His work ranges from “standards” like Matisse’s “The Dance” on a sliver of mammoth bone to more whimsical creations like a caravan of camels parading with ease through a needle’s eye.
Konenko always takes an object we can identify - a seed, an insect, a needle, a hair - and breathes life into it. Certainly the objects are there to give a reference for scale, but they are also part of a dance. The micro-miniaturist allows himself to be inspired by the object, to play with the idea of the object, and change the way we view it. For example, one of the most spectacular pieces by Konenko is a flea, his feet clad with horseshoes, and his hands wielding a tiny pair of scissors, a key and a padlock.
To create a 0.9mm pair of scissors, Konenko, like most micro-miniaturists, invented his own instruments, some of which have been used in eye-surgeries. As with other micro-miniaturists he could only work between his heartbeats, for fear of the slight tremor destroying his precious work.