Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center
Pink Series / Carpentry Shop.
27.11.2013 – 11.01.2014
The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.
Pablo Picasso Banksy
Grey and pink. Mastery and technical reproduction. Aura and simulation.
Volodymyr Kostyrko's new exhibiton Pink Series / Carpentry Shop, which brings us into contact with the circle of these confrontations, is made of works, most of which were presented in Louvre – a large-scale exposition that took place at Lviv Palace of Arts this summer. Nowadays Pink Series is displayed in its entirety (several works were created this fall) and Carpentry Shop opposes it in an adjoining hall of Ya Gallery in Kiev.
At first glance, we are dealing with a quite unusual for Kostyrko theme; it is closer to Warhol and Jung's motives rather than to «new old masters». Here the most problem questions of the 20th-century art are discussed: the work's authenticity and its reproduction, the loss of aura (Benjamin), copying and multiplication of the same thing (Warhol), creation of images as simulation (Baudrillard). The reflection upon the essence of art after all those slogans, critiques, theories and provocations becomes the main question of the exhibition.
Pink Series commenced with the juxtaposition of two artefacts: a photo of Talib's street-art and an old pillar. Talib offered a new Ukrainian state flag – USSR-like one, however, there is a black trident instead of a star, and red color of revolution is substituted by pink color of residents' all-embracing «liking» for the tender appearance of their houses. In turn, the ultramarine column base, which came to us from the Baroque, lost its original look with time and became pink. Tied on these plots dialogue between old and new gave birth to the series covered with pink monochrome.
Most canvases present separately selected items gathered in a peculiar alphabet, whose letters play according to archetypal rules: we can see elements of either art history (street artists' paint spray can, precious diamond skull, a banana fromThe Velvet Underground album cover) or author's own artistic way (a paint spray can as footbal fans' rhetorical weapon, a man's portrait with a skull and a banana that waits for rococo mouths). These pieces of art are created in the Renaissance style when seperate and defective things didn't exist for painting yet, but all objects were perfect – beginning with «athletic rosiness» of a 32 kg weight, throughout the pigmentation of «galleys'» utopian currency and shine of burning cars, and to «eschatological pink» of the suicide's bath. All these works create a space of the archaeology of ideals, open to multiple inspirations and interpretations. Though, despite their own eidetics, all of them are skillful copies of copies whose original is drawing techniques, not phenomena themselves. Actually, the form takes an important place in this theme. Kostyrko's new work Leg, double reflected, parodies Leonardo's «branded» manner and at the same time integrates his ancient art history-oriented earlier works (Galicia and Ukraine, 2002) into up-to-date problems. Da Vinci plays the role of an «artistic surgeon» and the main creator of Renaissance archetypical images; red that frames digital relations between Halychyna (Galicia) and Ukraine hasn't faded yet; acid pink of Cupid's hairstyle shows a taste of firm love drawing another bodily counterpart – live St. Sebastian's pierced body.
The second exhibition room is quite the opposite. Local artisan cosiness is based on the intersection of sketches for future pieces of furniture and the paining of joiner's hands – the master without his forefinger. Space and body work here instead of time and ideas. Instead of pink memento mori we find a real loss of organs, instead of eternal forms – contra thesis of everyday devices in all their delicacy, singleness and complicacy. Despite the fact that furniture is still absent, the sketches of its pieces aren't perceived as eidetical. This effect is supported by the presence of Carpenter's Altar – Kostyrko's first installation in the past twenty years. His diptych Carpenter's Hand, previously created in Louvre exposition, was displayed together with an old workbench and later was surrounded with pieces of antique from artist's private collection. Its spatial composition became a sacral wooden center accompanying Baudrillard's comment that «every old thing is beautiful by itself only because it lived up to our days».
Pink Series / Carpentry Shop located in two halls that keep their set distance from each other; they are two seperate zones and any intimacy between them leaves an aesthetic burn. As it always happens, the spectator is that movable, compulsory element, delegated to turn this confrontation into productive communication. Therefore, in courage of such movement there is a chance to understand Umberto Eco's metamorphosis when several cliches make us feel sick, while thousands of them touch our hearts.
Borys Filonenko, 2013