Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center
18.01.2011 – 26.02.2011
Like Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, who in 1934 publically formulated the concept of the black race distinctiveness, the well-known Ukrainian master of wood sculpture,Mykola Malyshko decided to test "negritude the Ukrainian way" in Ya Gallery Art Centre. Indeed, "sculpture as a metaphor of the actual reality", in author's opinion, is able to express not only an artistic pursuit, but an urge to achieve unity and form Ukrainian's national self-identification. "When themes of folk art actualize in society, it is interesting to observe a shaped artist improvise with the authenticity that we didn't know before," PavloGudimov comments on the concept of the project.
Half a century ago researchers of African folk wood sculpture noted its monumentality combined with harmonious sense of lines and proportions. It used to fascinate Picasso and Matisse, and more than that - all of the French intelligentsia whose own culture-creating potential was on the verge of exhaustionin the beginning of the XX century. It is not surprising that a Ukrainian sculptor whose artwork is close to African plastic artsin form and spirit became fascinated with creating his own "black" sculptures. Thanks to Malyshko's objects' "rudeness", simplicity and considerable realness, they can easily be accredited to the most ancient examples of African carving. Spiritual component of the exhibition is the artist's expression of his respect for the African nations' sculptural tradition that contributed to his transition to a new period of art-making - a period of creating more laconic forms.
After influencing the European artistic avant-garde, in a century, "African theme" continued conquering European civilization on the new spiral of its development. Fascination with African style in the age of "high technologies" incarnates a contemporary person's urge to return to the natural, real and physically palpable. Considering that in contemporary art everything "that is made here and now to express the actual needs of the society" is important, sculpture becomes an exact reflection of the "most fundamental forms of thinking" of our time. It is true especially when spoken of work by such sensitive to Ukrainian reality artists as Mykola Malyshko is. Sculpture for him is "a book where a lot can be said", that can be "touched, felt through touch... seen... carved... chopped... hewed..." and, finally, "read" not only with a "mind's eye, but with all the bodily senses."