Oleksandr Hnylytsky. Reality of IllusionExhibitions

Oleksandr Hnylytsky. Reality of Illusion

Oleksandr Hnylytsky. Reality of Illusion
Мистецький Арсенал
вул. Лаврська, 10-12
Київ, Київська область 01010

Oleksandr Hnylytsky made a name for himself at the end of the 80s, when Ukrainian art welcomed the “new wave” generation. Not only did he work on paintings during his artistic career, he also used various forms, genres and techniques of the visual practice of the day. He filmed videos, drew, created installations, kinetic sculpture, anamorphoses, zoetropes, opuses of paradoxical design, did VJ performances… Hnylytsky was the least predictable artist in the Ukrainian art process – the changeable, irrational mode of his existence provoked uncertainty, vagueness of characteristics. Hence the strategy of his path – constant mimicry, evasion, transformation. Even in the early trans-avant-garde period, his painting style went through several modifications: the “florid style,” the green “painting of waves,” the black-and-white grisaille, “children’s discourse”… The irony of the consciously lowered, immature position of the author, the typical postmodern deconstructive method of interpretation of quotes of art, the artistically slight carelessness of the style form the basis of Hnylytsky’s many paintings at the boundary between the 80s and the 90s.

He became one of the first Ukrainian artists to use video. At the beginning of the 90s, he organized his own poem-campaign Sleeping Beauty in a Glass Coffin, where Morpheus, Eros and Thanatos become one in nearly decadent sacrament. Later on, the author actively develops the media vector, significantly represented at the exhibition, together with Lesia Zayets as Institution of Unstable Thoughts. In its program projects the duo discovered an original technology of teetering between the real and synthesized worlds. Their actions can be called “cinematic meditation,” which suddenly reveals the psychedelic side of the mundane reality. The projects are created as media hybrids – revealing the boundaries of art forms (painting, media), they immediately erase them or wash out these thin films of illusion. Again, they ask the question – how fleeting and solid different information carriers are in comparison with each other. But the most important thing about the project is not the technical side, but the new, unknown “aggregate condition” and rhythms: every object lives in its time and has its own pulse.

One of the areas of Hnylytsky’s art is a special kind of “simulacrum sculpture,” creation of kinetic objects in neo dada style.

In the 2000s, apart from working with media, the artist, on the one hand, again focuses on plot-driven painting, recoding the mythologemes of characters of hieratic cartoons, TV shows, fairy tales and legends (Cheburashka and Gena the Crocodile, Stirlitz, Fantomas, Koshchei the Immortal, the mermaid…), on the other hand, he “iconizes” small everyday objects – glasses, toilets, tennis balls, records – increasing them to absurd sizes and, through magical illusionism of seemingly realistic painting, turning them into strange, mysterious and inscrutable “things-in-themselves.”

The exhibition is constructed not as a simple final retrospection. It has a specific conceptual core, reflected in the title – the reality and illusiveness of the world in their intermutation and convergence. It is this core that combines incredible variety into a cohesive artistic world of Oleksandr Hnylytsky. The artistic path is depicted not in the linear form, but in the conceptual form instead – the exhibition disintegrates like a puzzle where separate fragments, cycles, blocks and meanings join and intertwine with unexpected logic, generating a complicated “exhibitional performance.”


  • Project curators

    Oleksandr Soloviov
    Solomia Savchuk