Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center


Rostyslav Koterlin

16.02.2011 – 14.03.2011

Rostyslav Koterlin

There is nothing "entirely new" in the world, all the born life particles are related to one another - maybe this was the way Pythagoras-mystic who was the first one to "calculate" this world used to think.

Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center


Migrant soul

There is nothing "entirely new" in the world, all the born life particles are related to one another - maybe this was the way Pythagoras-mystic who was the first one to "calculate" this world used to think. It was approximately in mid-500s B.C. As a follower of Orpheus cult he believed that the human spirit is immortal and is reincarnated in endless circles of life cycles. This teaching was named "metempsychosis" (from Greek - migration of souls) and was prominent in philosophy of Socrates and Plato. Plato while talking about the last hours of life of his teacher Socrates in dialogue "Phaedo" presents a brilliant passage. As we know, according to the judges' sentence Socrates had to drink a lethal dose of hemlock. Being deeply disturbed by this, Kriton - one of Socrates' faithful friends asks: "... How should we bury you?"

"However you like, Socrates replied, if, of course, you can catch me and I don't flee".

He laughed quietly."

Socrates obviously didn't care at all that he was about to die, being a true believer in the immortality of the soul, in its superiority over the body. After all,many ideas from Socrates's and Plato's teachings found their place in Christianity. But this project is about something else.

One spring day 2009 a certain idea "broke through" to me so hard that it just made me set about to realizing it. Generally speaking, it was about a person's cry.

Looking through photo portraits of many well-known artists by Eddie Navarro in one of the old issues of "Decorative Art", I noted one important thing. Despite anthropological differences in features, individuality and uniqueness of characters, faces of Beuys, Warhol, Picasso, Moore, De Kooning and many others clearly expressed a certain similarity, familiarity. It could be explained with the fact that photos were made by one author. But this fatal affinity is also present in there artists' portraits made by other photographers. Despite external dissimilitude, their faces are concentrated the same way, they express some special, remarkably deep and mysterious life intention. Bringing this unexpected idea to life I sculpted masks of six artists who are important to me and included them into the performance that I entitled "Cry". It was realized during the Week of Contemporary Art in Lviv on September 4, 2009. On the outside with a good share of irony it looked like this: in front of the public artist Koterlin drew "paraphrases" of famous works by Malevich, Van Gogh, Beuys, Duchamp, Picasso and Warhol with charcoal, burnt the drawings in turns, rubbing the ashes into his hands, temples, parts of body around heart, solar plexus, etc. When tired with the monotonous action public started to relax, wailings of girls-mourners in shawls (one was in a hat) wearing the aforementioned masks erupted from different corners of the hall. The girls walked and wept around the public, and Koterlin was washing up from the ashes. Performance happened, but the realization of the basic idea found a continuation in the current project"M ∞ PSYCHE".

Ancient Greek maxim says: "One can think with eyes and see with mind".

In my young years myths of Van Gogh, Malevich, Duchamp, Picasso, Beuys, Warhol and Arhypenko filled me with energy to move forward in art. I used to peer into their works, read into the concepts, learned, then critically reevaluated many things and then studied more. Today for me important is not as much what was created by them, but the very human nature of these figures. Much more important are the features of their faces, the expressions of their personalities in public, transferring their life philosophy and deeds into the modern world. Scrutinizing theirfaces you come to understand that they had wholly cried this world out. They had mourned not only their contemporaries, but also us, the following generations of humanity. Nobody could know this, nobody could even guess this, but for them it must have inevitably happened in order to gain a right to see clearly. A clear and trustworthy look into eternity.

Pythagoras is credited to divide people into three categories. Ones who came into the world to buy and sell belong to the lowest. A bit higher are those who came here to compete. And the highest are those that come to just observe.

SevenUkrainianartistswere reincarnated in project "M ∞ PSYCHE". YaroslavYanovskyi as Van Gogh, MyroslavYaremakas Kazimir Malevich, AnatoliyZvigynskyias Pablo Picasso, NazarKardashas Alexander Arhypenko, RostyslavKoterlinas Joseph Beuys and YevgenSamborskyias Andy Warhol.

Rostyslav Koterlin


Born in 1966. Lives and works in Ivano-Frankivsk.

1998 graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, department of journalism.

Koterlin is a researcher and an analyst of processes that take place in contemporary art; he is also an author of essays and articles about artists of Ivano-Frankivsk. Since 1990 he's an organizer and a participant of almost all contemporary art programs and projects in his city.

Since 1999 he edits and publishes an almanac of contemporary visual art "Kinez Kinzem".

14.09.2022 – 15.10.2022
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery
16.01.2019 – 11.02.2019
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19.10.2016 – 12.11.2016
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01.07.2015 – 03.08.2015
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25.09.2013 – 14.10.2013
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center
12.09.2012 – 11.10.2012
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center
24.03.2010 – 12.04.2010
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center