Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center
On the Table
29.09.2010 – 26.10.2010
Curators Lidia Lyhach and Pavlo Gudimov dedicated the third exposition of «Folk Contemporary» to research of still life. Still life or portrayal of a composition of various household items, flowers, fruit, etc. existed as a part of other genres. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages - on icons and Bible book miniatures. Depicting the «upper world», artists didn't forget the earthly world. Then detailed drawings of bread loafs, goblets of wine, etc. appeared in the compositions of the Lord's Supper of Holy Trinity. Later on, when art acquired worldliness, still life becomes more realistic and finally in the 17th century the genre reaches its acme.
The title «On the Table» itself resonates with the English term «still life» or continuing the word play - "life style". In the authors' opinion decoration of the table is a certain cultural and social marker of time and place. That's why the exposition should be regarded not as a number of images of routine objects, but rather as an attempt to look at people through the most banal objects that surround them. For example, the bread loaf made either of tin foil or mercury on Olena Poliashenko's canvas «Kindersurprise» is like a mirror in which a face of the real character of the painting can be seen. In the works by amateur authors it is commonly an ideal well-off country man whose table is rich with the attributes of a happy life: water-melons, sweets, bread, wine and vodka.
As the director of Ivan Honchar Museum puts it, «folk art is symbolic in its essence - even house painting that has exclusively decorative (not utilitarian or sacral) character. Beauty is a sunset and love matters - a Cossack and a girl near a well with a trail that leads home - and prosperity is a water-melon on the table (and what if it is with champagne!!!). The way it was painted didn't really matter. Today this lack of concern provides us with an opportunity to enjoy the variety of formal techniques and maneuvers thanks to the absence of professional and academic boundaries».
Contemporary artists go even further as they broaden the boundaries of composition design and deepen the critical potential of the genre. Thus Pavlo Makov in his work «Tablecloth» moves the perspective and makes us look at the table from above. Mykola Matsenko traditionally depicts a stereotypical soviet dinner composed of the «first», «second» and «third» courses. Mykyta Kravtsov purposefully constructs a classic almost academically approached «Bouquet» composition, but «puts» flowers in a plastic bag instead of a vase. This way he supports the tone brought by Poliashenko - «brands», «plastic» and «artificiality» are today's key words.