Lviv. Ya Gallery

Yaroslav Motyka. Ya Mo

Yaroslav Motyka

27.04.2022 – 26.06.2022

Yaroslav Motyka

He is a classic without a pedestal; there is always a trace of clay on his clothes. He is unstoppable, energetic and brave. Motyka is a lively energy of earth and nature, strength of a human and mission of a sculptor.

Exhibition Lviv Ya Gallery

The Boulder

Pavlo Gudimov, Project Curator

I love visiting Yaroslav Motyka. The door is open. He is almost always working in the studio. There is a path to his workplace you need to take to look at his new sketches and sculptures, but you should watch where you step – there are pieces of clay, sketches, remains of gypsum forms, and scattered photographs. Motyka has not lost his childish passion for art and continues to observe life through his works. Even now, waving his big hands and throwing his head back, he is telling me about his trip to Tustan reserve (Urych, Lviv region), that he has found new rocks in the forest by the reserve that decidedly remind him of a sphinx. He is telling me about the striking scale, about how many images the mountains generate in his head, and that they migrate into the sketch book with commentary that he is showing me here and now. Thus a sculpture is born. A large male figure that moves from the mountain in a dream as a myth about the rock that sleeps and slides down.

Motyka lives in Lviv in a spacious house with the studio on the ground floor. He built it with his father. His family consists of wife Yaroslava Motyka, painter and his main critic; daughter Mariana, painter, teacher and father's helper; granddaughter and sister. Things are humming in here. There is an inviting chaos of sculptures and materials (wood and rock) outside yet with a perfectly organized rock garden in the yard. The garden is unique. The garden of artists – Eden – that has only rocks and special plants is Yaroslava's and Yaroslav's common creation. The garden is sort of a key to the artist's work. Some of his works indeed resemble natural forms or are inspired by nature. Boulders. Gnarls, cavities, either smooth or ragged. Motyka knows a lot about form. He is accurate in ironic portraits, grotesque in free modeling of genre scenes, and captivated by corporeal beauty, an act, a myth and family memories. Motyka is a treasure house of stories and, even though he doesn't know exact dates, he remembers everything in detail. Time is not that important for the sculptor. And when answering the question, 'When did it happen?,' he usually says it was 30 years ago and smiles at you )

From his first work in the public space – Lily in the pond in Stryiskyi Park, 1966, – through the decommunized monument of glory of the soviet army to the plastic era of the Independence, he is integral, honest and passionate. You never know what comes next to his mind tomorrow. The sculptor's last works are always unexpected and frank.

He is a classic without a pedestal; there is always a trace of clay on his clothes. He is unstoppable, energetic and brave. Motyka is a lively energy of earth and nature, strength of a human and mission of a sculptor.

I recollect his stories about Havarechchyna village, about his attempt to save the local pottery in the 1980s and our trip with Andriy Kisel and Solomiia Loboda in autumn 2021 when we were searching for the almost lost craft of black ceramics. He remembered all villagers, instantly found common topics for communication, while with enthusiasm looking for and scooping out rocks on the street that resembled some sculptural images. He brought a whole bag of such rocks to Lviv. Then we drank tea out of thermoses by the pruned branches of an odd-looking old lime tree on the hill above the village with an unforgettable autumn landscape.

Motyka has an especially wide view of life. The whole world with its passions is sculpture or a theme for sculpture.

A new theme is born. Yawning people. A mother is sitting on a bench with a child in her hands both giving a soft yawn. Both humor and satire are present.

Motyka loves talking about sculptures. He appreciates criticism and complains that he hasn't had anyone to talk to lately. He also writes poetry. He writes it in small letters on pieces of paper and always promises to rewrite and read it, but these are only promises so far.

He is a boulder. He transformed into a sculptural image himself and sometimes sculpts his own portrait. One of the last portraits represents boulders that are put together making a sitting figure in a beret with a hammer and a notebook with poetry.

I remember like one time he led me along the abandoned rail tracks to take a look at a strange garden. We had walked for half an hour and finally found ourselves on someone's neglected backyard where the hornbeam hedge entangled in the mesh fence and grew into marvelous unnatural forms. Motyka approached and commented on almost every bend and gnarl. It looked like he had been there many times before. It was an exciting trip. We went back in the twilight walking on the tracks that were wet from evening dew…

Curator - Pavlo Gudimov

Texts and research - Pavlo Gudimov, Nataliia Tulina-Maruniak, Daria Molchanova, Anna Godun

Yaroslav Motyka's workshop team - Mariana Motyka, Mykola Korniienko, Andrii Hrytsak

Design - Kateryna Bolshakova

Exposition - Pavlo Gudimov, Kateryna Bolshakova, Anna Godun

Management - Tetiana Borivets

Communications - Svitlana Velehan

Editing - Anna-Maria Volosatska

Translation - Dmytro Yankovyi

Restoration - Oresta Hural

Photo - Roman Shyshak, Pavlo Gudimov


He was born on January 10, 1943 in the village of Staromishchyna in the Ternopil region. Lives and works in Lviv.

He received his primary art education at the Art School in Lviv, with the assistance of Roman Turin.

In 1966, he graduated from the Lviv Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts, majoring in monumental sculpture. Studied with Dmytro Kravavych, Danylo Dovboshynskyi.

Diploma thesis garden and park figure in the pond of Stryiskyi Park in Lviv "Lily" (artificial stone, 1966)