A canned meaning of the term self-portrait is understood and interpreted as a stable form of the artist's self-representation, an attempt to look at oneself from the outside. We, of course, immediately think of the typical images from fine art paintings: 'working,' 'in the studio,' 'in front of the mirror,' 'thoughtful en face and in profile' etc. However, the art strategies have long departed from the canons of creation methods that would only use the possibilities of classical styles. The clichéd self-portrait is not the genre's monopoly anymore, there has been a rotation – the author's work has become the reflector regardless of the way of expression (be it an installation or an artistic act, for instance). Thus, the project combines two polar vectors as regards seemingly the most familiar topic – the self-portrait. The first one is the personal allusion to Oleksandr Babak's religious parable, the second one is the breakdown of Andriy Sagaidakovsky's traditional genre.
Oleksandr Babak conceived the idea of Self-Portrait back in 1998 in a residence that was situated in Velykyi Pereviz village. Every time the artist was walking by the local cemetery, he was amazed at the neglect and irrelevance of this once sacral place that was now used as the pasture. Thus, the painter portrayed himself on one of the hilly graves as the prodigal son. It is the homage to the widely known plot and Rembrandt's painting in particular. Babak raises the curtain over the personal drama – if the prodigal son from a Bible parable was forgiven by his father, here he did not even have a chance to say goodbye. There remains only a visual fixation of the general condition that has been gnawing the existence for years.
Andriy Sagaidakovsky's works have nothing in common with the classical self-portraits, however every painter's work (either material or spiritual) is his contemplation about himself. The artist subconsciously refers to the childhood images. Pure reminiscences that come as the assertion of the closed essence and the accentuation of his outlook. Everything you want to hide or deny defines you more than anything lying on the surface. It is shown by the verbal symbols used by Andriy Sagaidakovsky in his works. 'Childish games' the painter plays are the reflection of himself, his identity and naked essence.
By applying different materials and ways of expression, Oleksandr Babak and Andriy Sagaidakovsky reveal the unified nature of a self-portrait as a personal medium that seeks to explore the outside and the inside. It is an element of self-knowledge (in its interaction with the culture) in dynamics and transformation.