Lviv. Ya Gallery
Yevhen Lysyk. Drama
20.01.2022 – 17.04.2022
Curator of exhibition
In distant 1989, Jean-Hubert Martin, a French curator and director of the Paris modern art museum Pompidou Center at the time, organized Magicians of the Earth exhibition where he, having compared the works of modern artists and aborigines, offered a new approach: an unprecedented interaction and dialogue. A subtle metaphor in the title opened up the consonance of archaic rituals and professional art expressions. “The magician of the Earth" – that's what I would call Yevhen Lysyk whom we know better for his theatrical works.
Theater is an absolutely synthetic genre emerging from an urging need in shows and ancient rituals. That's where the artist fulfills himself – the artist who created concepts, searched for new forms and means and was passionately devoted to their embodiment.
I recollect one little emphasis from artist's daughter Anna Lysyk's memories: when the Lviv opera prepared a new production of another play, the team of artists and stage designers worked without looking at the watch or expecting the working day to end. When Yevhen Lysyk was the main artist in a play, everybody was enthusiastic and worked like a machine in anticipation for a miracle. These are the moments that define the special energy and inspiration brought by great artists – magicians of the Earth.
He rang down the curtain a long time ago, and we only now begin to realize the omnitude of his talent. Through the memories, archives and artifacts that have reached us, we gradually recreate his image and portrait and try to find out the prime causes and impulses that turned a rural boy, whose childhood was marked by the war and a serious family drama, into one of the most powerful artists of his time. Maybe not only his time? Maybe his time is only about to come? Where do this strength, confidence and scale come from?
Drama exhibition is primarily the result that was made possible after the release of Yevhen Lysynko's album of drawings which was compiled by Anna Lysyk and Ostap Lozynskyi last year. The album makes you want to never stop paging through it and sometimes it's difficult to actually close it. It represents another artist's side which has been little known to this day – the drawing. But it is not preliminary illustrations for stage productions or sketches of images. It is a diary that rather brings from consciousness and subconsciousness the actions and images that were irresistibly breaking through onto the surface. It is something that requires explanation and decryption, stories and feelings, as well as extraordinarily interpreted genre scenes, faces, memories and grand illusions. You peep into the past and, when talking to Anna Lysyk, understand the prime reasons that led to this visualization.
At first, I described this body of works as art behind the scenes, pieces of art without publication prospects. However, later on, I realized that these were also drafts for future works, when the artist closed himself in the studio and created for himself, created the things that he didn't have enough time for in the past.
Unfortunately, he wasn't destined to fulfill his dreams. The illness and early death thwarted his plans and created a bubble around the author. The world stopped stressing out because of the loss. The loss that is hard to evaluate at once.
It has been over 30 years without Yevhen Lysyk. And once again we have a chance to get to know the artist; to gradually break up the concentrate of his oeuvre in exhibition spaces and articulate it through the topics and plots, biography and reminiscences, comprehensible and incomprehensible situations.
The major themes of his drawings are guiding us in our narration and help us create a new view on the genius: the war, memories about the village and childhood, actor's death, numerous images and the world as an absolute metaphor of the author's art practice. I cannot but feel that Yevhen Lysyk was the chosen one, that being an artist was only the earthly profession that enabled him to fulfill and manifest himself at that time and in that place. It is not just talent, it is a special action that must carry on.
Show must go on!
I suggested giving the exhibition theatrical title Drama and arranging it in four spaces-actions with declared themes. What you are looking at is an expressive drawing where a little boy on a horse rushes out of the forest. I have no doubt that this is the artist himself in a pure image of his childhood. Horses appear in both his life and childhood memories, prophetic dreams and numerous drawings, and even at the moment he was leaving this world. You are looking at the work and understand its multilayer content. How many riddles has he left us with and do we have the clues to his art? There are many questions which are hard to answer when you approach the great artist, especially when time passes and links with the past get lost.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the special authority of the past and the present, shaman or magician Yevhen Lysyk!
Curator - Pavlo Gudimov
Texts and research - Pavlo Gudimov, Anna Lysyk, Nataliia Tulina-Maruniak, Tetiana Borivets
Design - Kateryna Bolshakova
Management - Tetiana Borivets, Anna Godun
Communications - Svitlana Velehan
Editing - Anna-Maria Volosatska
Translation - Dmytro Yankovyi
Restoration - Vadym VolkovPhoto - Roman Shyshak