A Radiant Image by Hryhorii Havrylenko

The White Spece of the Stedley Art Foundation presents the exhibition of Hryhorii Havrylenko (1927-1984), one of the most important Ukrainian artists of the XX cent. who have not been properly studied.

Lizaveta German

The exhibition presents the drawing from the collection of Oleksii Vasylenko. One can easily identify his and his alone female images greeting a viewer from 7 pieces of the exhibition. This imagery represents the most symbolic and, at the same time, the most intimate and precious part of Havrylenko's universe. The variety of tools and techniques used in the pieces created in different years allow tracking down various stages of the development of his artistic language. These laconic and expressive painters in pencil, watercolours and ink, linocuts and pastels together form the core of Havrylenko's art – the search of a «radiant image» is the epitome of absolute womanhood and ideal plastic formula.

If one illustrates the history of unofficial culture not with artworks (that used to be forbidden and, thus, “invisible”), but with the stories of people as live representatives of this culture, Hryhorii Havrylenko will undoubtedly be a symbol of art Kyiv of the 1960s-70s. According to an insightful quote of Anna Zavarova, a principal researcher of his art, this artist “not only measured the whole path of European art with his balanced, precise steps, overcoming the distances of several decades, but also did an immeasurable input into Ukrainian culture of the XX century.”

Havrylenko, who, as an artist, is 100% contemporary to his time, can hardly find a place in the wide-spread divisions of the art of the Soviet period into “official” and “non-conformist”. He drew illustrations for books a lot, his works were used in the thousands of copies of books. However, his most important drawings and cuts did not fit into the ideologically accepted art and, hence, could not be exhibited for the public. Havrylenko was not an ardent dissident, politics interested him either as a topic neither of art nor of conversation. But the very mode of his life and, most importantly, his mode of thinking were so different to those of his contemporaries (including the majority of his fellow artists) that it is absolutely impossible to imagine him as a part of a “system” of those years.

View pictures from event

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