Kyiv. Ya Gallery
15.05.2019 – 10.06.2019
Two and a half millennia ago, the Greeks settled on the northern shores of Euxine Sea. They say that living on the edge of the oecumene was not sweet due to the harsh climate (for the colonists, pampered by the sun) and hostile neighbours. But the centre of ancient civilization flourished due to the fact that, jointly with life and political traditions, the Greeks brought there their gods and the half-mythic heroes. The latter was the only thing that preserved the linkage with the Great Motherland, bearing the memory and peace of the eternal stay in the native culture of the colonists.
We know that in the places where Olbia, Tyras, Chersonesus, Panticapaeum or other Greek polises prospered, there were temples — for the gods and for the heroes. We guess their presence in the almost ruined pillars, in the wreckage of perfect orders or in the remains of the red-figured vase painting which petrified under the glass of museum showcases. Nevertheless, the most distinctive remembrances of ancient civilization and its deities have survived in the air. Just as everything living and inanimate, mythical and material existed for the Greeks in the Aether. Thus, today the air over Feodosia or Kherson saves the outlines of the figures of the long-forgotten epoch.
Civilizations, as it should be, were changing, and the northern Black Sea coastal area remained the edge of the oecumene. Twenty years ago a new empire brought here its myth and its figure. Although this myth does not look like Greek one, it resembles its non-native ancestors. Formally — concrete structures, meaningfully — the same temples in honour of the gods or the pseudo gods who protected the believers. The sites of pilgrimage of the Soviet man — light or monumental concrete structures which replaced acropolises; modernist ornaments which supersede the sincerity of subjects on antique dishes, glass and beams that stretched on the beach, allowing to approach only the iron ships of the departed present.
Today, the northern shore of the Black Sea has turned into a garden of historical figures, the architectural majesty of which was showered off, vanished in the air or grassed. The infinite and static Aether, invented by the Greeks, has evolved from a place of reality to a place of ever-possibility. Crimean artist Andriy Dudchenko, as a descendant of the civilizations that existed here for millennia, in his oeuvre legitimately personalizes the history of their traces. The depiction of Soviet sanatoria — the temples of "beauty, sun and health" for the contemporaries of the last empire — are imbued with the sun which absorbed the shadows of the marble heroes of antiquity. The silhouettes of the past that now appear through Andriy's canvases: David, wrapped in a package, Achilles who stares at the cubic Achilles.
Andriy Dudchenko's Figures project is a series of illustrations about the heroes who lost in the battle with their own future. Deserted landscapes of the seaside, waves, reduced to rectangular lines by the Greeks, and waves, reconsidered in the colour within Soviet modernism, fixed in space, moved far beyond its actuality in time. Now they are expropriated by the coming future which destroys them and confronts them in the dialogue, playing with the figures of the past as with the characters of the ancient tragedy, creating the reality of a new present.