Curator: Polina Limina
The hardest part in this exhibition was its title.
Heroism is the topic that it is all about. In the 1980s, two books with Serhiy Yakutovych's illustrations were published with an interval of several years – the ancient Estonian epos Kalevipoeg and Oles Honchar's Perekop, a novel about the 1917-1920s war. Things are very different thematically, but they have one common task: to create a strong image of the hero. If we look at the engravings to each edition separately, they are totally organic. But when put in the same space, the illustrations to Kalevipoeg and Perekop form a true conflict. The collision of the heroes from different contexts, epochs and social conditions (yet elaborated by the same artist) manifests the ambiguity, the conditionality of the very notion heroism.
However, heroism cannot be mentioned in the title of this exhibition. This word today refers to completely different meanings, almost opposite to those conveyed by the exposition.
Heroes in everyday life are comprehended rather sensually. They are admired, glorified; very often they bore us with their persistence, which results in the birth of antiheroes. The image of a human-idol becomes a symptom of the society which is interesting to deconstruct, take apart and look closely at each of the pieces. An illustrator acts by the same principle, only provided that afterwards he must put all the fragments together and create an intense vision.
Throughout his life, Serhiy Yakutovych created a lot of graphic forms of heroism which were limited by neither chronology, nor geography, nor concept. There was one intersection in this search: in the point of birth of an archetype idol that concentrated the Utopian dreams and aspirations of different groups of people.
Idol is a better title. It refers to the things that have already happened somewhere. But it does not mean that the past does not influence the development of our present.
Yakutovych was making heroes, but today they have solidified in a completely different form. An idol may be looked at from a certain distance, but a hero is perceived rather emotionally. An idol has already become firmly established, has formed a certain likeness – just like a visual work is complete; a hero is more dynamic, uncertain and ever-changing. The former is easier to analyze, the latter – to gain inspiration from.
The line where a hero ends and an idol starts is conditional. But we still draw it to have an idea about our own development.
The exhibition is a part of the larger-scale project-research of the life and art of the Yakutovych family. In addition to the exposition part in Ya Gallery Art Center, you may find a parallel version on the web-site of the special media project Yakutovych Academy. Every month Yakutovych Academy presents a new episode about different aspects of the creative work of the Yakutovych family and their entourage. Another implemented project on this topic is the book about Serhiy Yakutovych Profession: Artist that was published by the Artbook Publishing House in May this year.
The media project Yakutovych Academy is available at: http://yakutovych.academy/