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Mykola Kryvenko. Kryvenko’s Line
April 18, 2015 - July 26, 2015
Mykola Kryvenko was born in 1950 in Kyiv. He graduated from the Republican Taras Shevchenko Art School (1969) and Drawing Department of the Kyiv State Art Institute (1978). Mr. Kryvenko works on painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, writes texts. Mykola Kryvenko has been teaching drawing and painting at the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture since mid-2000s. Kryvenko’s works are in numerous private and public collections, including the one of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. He works and lives in Kyiv.
While obtaining official education, Kryvenko attended the classes in a studio of Grygoriy Gavrylenko, famous Ukrainian painter of the Sixtiers who had been sacked from his position of a lecturer at the Kyiv State Art Institute in the 1960s due to ideological considerations. It was Serhiy Paradzhanov who was closely familiar with unofficial Kyiv art circles and who recommended that the young artist cooperate with Gavrylenko. During the period of close cooperation with Gavrylenko in the late 1970s-early1980s, his influence can clearly be seen in Kryvenko’s works. However, the artist moved to pure abstraction in the mid-1980s, which has become his principal artistic method ever since. This transformation was unintentionally (however, not by chance) captured in a number of drawings of the 1980s represented in this publication. They are not structurally united in a single series, they are executed in different drawing techniques. However, these works allow one to follow the plastic thinking of the artist and, even more, – to become closer to his “primary sources”.
Art historian Eduard Dymshyts fairly notes that Kryvenko’s artworks are “consistently abstract”, and the impulse creating their essence comes from the “Eastern philosophy and impressions born by communication with favourite works of art” . At the same time, there is an evident starting point in Kyrenko’s painting and it is his internal dialogue with the surrounding: following the advice of his mentor, it is the daily work from nature that permits “to reach the feeling of direct contact with the live” . And even though Kryvenko has not been following this principle for long, even his most minimalistic, almost transparent works give the feeling of pulsation of something alive.
In the early 1990s Kryvenko joined the Zhyvopysnyy Zapovidnyk (Pictorial Reserve) – an informal group of Kyiv artists who have produced immortal paintings. The ideas and artistic heritage of the Zhyvopysnyy Zapovidnyk became one of the most important phenomena of Ukrainian art in the 1990s. According to Tyberiy Sylvashi, one of the founders of the group, who spoke 15 years after the creation thereof, “Not everything painted with paints can be considered a painting. […] The art historian Ganna Rudyk called her text about the Zapovidnyk “Painting as an Unfinished Project”. Painting as fundamental art in general, a project, has no ending. The works of artists belonging to the Zapovidnyk are just a chain in a painting project of the world art […]. In this sense, perhaps, a painting is just an episode in terms of the language of painting that is constantly expanding”. Actually, the incompleteness (both of his painting project in general, and of each particular painting in particular) is a conscious choice of Kryvenko as an artist. And, probably, it is the incompleteness that makes his painting so “possible”.