Volodymyr Kostyrko

Volodymyr Kostyrko famously pays a lot of attention to the old masters. In the new series Trans-Square he paints Kazymyr Malevych's Black Square on top of the Vitruvian Man (lat. homo quadratus) of Da Vinci.

Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center

“It seems, all that mechanical utilitarian world should have only one aim – give people time to live their primary life – making Art “as is", restricting the sensation of hunger in favour of a feeling for Art."

Kazymyr Malevych, “Suprematism", 1927

Volodymyr Kostyrko famously pays a lot of attention to the old masters. In the new series Trans-Square he paints Kazymyr Malevych's Black Square on top of the Vitruvian Man (lat. homo quadratus) of Da Vinci. Primaeval ideas of morally stable human being, Adam with four sturdy letters in his name and the breadth of outstretched arms equal to his height, images of microcosm in a man of macroworld – they all end up under the layer of black paint, leaving but a square – trans-square.

The transition to modern society which represents the ideals of the Renaissance and the place of an artist in this society, these are the main issues of the exhibition, marked by the gesture of Malevych: a refusal backed by a declaration left camouflaging, which is a demonstration on its own. Same as before, on Kostyrko's canvases (Rococo's not Dead series, etc.) the image of Renaissance is a Rococo wig which feels natural both surrounded by idyllic embroidery and in a hand that pulls this wig off from the cut-off head. Povstanecj is the work where a wig becomes the mask for the first time, a necessary attribute for a protest. This again is the motion very similar to Malevych's experiments as described by Jean-Claude Marcadé, “Overall, it is typical for Malevych to use the language of camouflaging which contains information without ever pronouncing it. This applies to his language in texts (about realism, economics, and God) and on canvas." [1] He goes on, “…what was a beard in 1912, turns into a muzzle in the late 1920s to shut the character up whilst depicting a quasi-idyllic scene with people on a field, as if they're long gone". [1] The wig isn't the only inversion of the series to echo Malevych. Kostyrko hangs a monochrome canvas free from artistic trails around the walls of gallery. He hides religious images on the reverse (not by painting but by turning over), and Suprematist canvases become flags of anarchist resistance where abstract figures are widespread heraldic symbols. Trans-Square is a prompt warning: the foundations on which the modern society stands are not strong enough yet, they require future struggles to be accepted. This is the challenge people have for the government – interests of society before interests of a bunch of businessmen. The struggle in which the Declaration of Artist's Rights is the right to life and death, the right not to be threatened by the state and to have “workshop and home untouched". In which person's free time shouldn't only have to be liberated, taken back from the state but also taken up after such a liberation. Heroes of this struggle are those who fight demodernisation: feminists in Rococo wigs, “accidental hero" with a punk mohawk, a revolutionary without an eye.

In the end, thoughts about protests and pillars make one come up with a simple but compelling metaphor of an airport, a place with numerous runways which have been placed on one territory, yet they create an opportunity for wider communications – with the capacity to receive and send out. These territories become necessary means of existence in our time in social and cultural plains, but when one wants to name a structure like that, all the challenges of modern life become apparent. That's how one gets Hetman Mazepa whilst waiting for Malevych.

Borys Filonenko

1. Marcadé, Jean-Claude. “Malevich: Return to the Image", Almanac #3, p. 28


Volodymyr Kostyrko

Born in 1967 in Lviv. In 1987, he graduated from the Lviv School of Applied and Decorative Arts, and in 1999 from the Lublin Catholic University, Faculty of Art History.

One of the organizers of the "Vyvyh" festival in 1990-91. Since 1994, author and participant of group and personal projects in Ukraine and abroad.

Works in the style of "new old masters".

Аrt historian and artist, a living classic

The author of the concept of interpretation of the heritage of Lviv, in particular artistic solutions of author's design and interiors, introduced the fashion for sentiment and careful (honest) restoration. Specializes in interior design, in particular of cafes and restaurants in Lviv. Among them: "Under the Blue Bottles", "Cafe 1", "Kabinet", "Kumpel", "Robert Doms Hop House", "CC Local", "Mons Pius", "Centaur", "Atlas".

Virtual tour
09.10.2019 – 09.12.2019
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery
07.02.2018 – 05.03.2018
Exhibition Kyiv Pavlo Gudimov Ya Gallery Art Centre
24.02.2016 – 03.04.2016
Exhibition Krakow International Cultural Centre
29.04.2015 – 01.06.2015
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center
27.11.2013 – 11.01.2014
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center
08.11.2013 – 14.12.2013
Exhibition Dnipropetrovsk Ya Gallery Art Center
05.07.2013 – 26.07.2013
Exhibition Lviv Lviv Palace of Arts
05.10.2011 – 07.11.2011
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center
01.09.2010 – 27.09.2010
Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center