Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center
11.01.2012 – 06.02.2012
"Hurry, give me a goblet of wine, so that I can freshen my mind and say something smart"
Based on Tom Standage's research "A History of the World in Glasses"*, it is possible to come to a conclusion that grapes hold a chronologically second position in the world civilization development - right after the ferments of malt that constitute a beer formula. Generally speaking, all the ancient history of the humanity could be described though the opposition of these two beverages - beer and wine, through the opposition of slave's delight and aristocrat's contemplation of the world, through the opposite alcohol preferences of revolutionary Lenin and philosopher Kant.
Exhibition "Cabernet" originates in the vineyards of Hurzuf. It was there that Oleksandr and Tamara Babak updated the alphabet of Ukrainian culture's imagery, that they've been developing in their works for a long time, with one more element. Oleksandr depicts fallen grapes with ink on paper. Tamara creates three dimensional sculptures from grapevine. The former and the latter are so-called "works drawn from nature". The word nature (lat. "natura") has, in this case, the following etymology. It is both the image - a form duplicated to become art, and the primary base - material of the artistic creation itself. Nature is cabernet - the most common variety of red grape.
Hurzuf arbors became the prototypes of Tamara Babak's objects. Individualized old and more typical modern ones, they serve as cosy small interiors decorated with grapevine. By creating anthropomorphic forms Tamara reveals grapevine symbolism through the perception of structures and schemes of natural materials' interaction in space. Oleksandr Babak's works - ink stains (here a linguistic construct "to drink ink" in the sense of "to drink wine" is in place) are determined by the same ornate forms, but in contrast to sculptures provide a qualitatively different result. Firstly, it is a story about color that can be described with the words of Goethe: "... It might seem a little strange, yet the eye does not see any forms, for the light, the dark and the colors in combination are what constitute that which differentiate an object from another object for the eye"**.
Thus, gathered in one gallery space under the mutual title and "nature", works of Oleksandr and Tamara Babak are, on one hand, complementary parts of one project, on the other, they express different perspectives on the perception of artistic material. What is it that we see first - color or form?
Another subject present in project "Cabernet" is anthropological turn. Grapevine with its spiral branches reflects on the indirect path to understanding Ukrainian culture, to its connection to ancient culture and Byzantium though the craft of winemaking. Winemakers, portrayed either in full statue, or like portraits, concealed in the works, become the acting subjects of these cross-cultural relations. In the times of Ancient Greeks who were the first ones to execute the "turn to a human" wine had already been playing the role of thinking quality condensate. According to Aeschylus, "bronze is the mirror of the exterior form; wine is the mirror of the mind".
So, as a necessary element of discussions about the beautiful, a glass of wine will be present at the opening of exhibition "Cabernet".
Boris Filonenko, January 2012
* Tom Standage "A History of the World in 6 Glasses", New York 2005.
** Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "Theory of Colors", 1810. Didactic chapter.