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Artists CV    artwork
Vladimir Ivanov

Neosymbolism of realism

- Your creative work is more known in Germany than in Ukraine. Would you tell me about your path into arts?

- I can say that I loved to draw since early childhood, but definitely resolved on choosing it as a future profession, say, maybe somewhere at sixteen, because before that I paid a lot of attention to literature, which I was very fond of, I even used to write poems or short stories. Only when I was graduating I decided to enter The Lviv Applied and Decorative Arts Institute, which I achieved from the first attempt. I studied at the Institute for five years, graduating from the department of Interior Design and Arrangement as a decorative art painter. The department gave me much to develop my art, the curriculum was based in such way that one could distinguish his or hers different inclinations, whether sculptural, or graphical or painting. Later on it helped me a great deal in my artistic work. After the institute I worked at Artistic Workshops of the Art Fund of Ukraine in Kherson. Mostly I dealt with monumental art, stained glass, and paid a lot of time to ceramics, but of course painting was my main work. In 1988 I returned to Lviv and ever since then I dealt only with painting. It goes without saying, at least I think so, that my skill progressed a great deal because I didn’t deal with any other artistic genres.

- Exactness and even the sharpening of the plotline, contrast, which does not leave one ignorant, the emotion of thought, dynamics. I used to perceive your paintings more emotional, than I actually understood them, for their main features were surely diversity and difference. How can such an impression be explained?

- It’s very hard to explain. A period of purely artistic work in painting was at its beginning. I wanted to say everything about everything at once. About everything, because the most unique features of life called out to certain feelings and keep calling out to them. Thus we have the diversity that showed itself in the variety of meanings of the plotline. And the difference is due to the difference of the artistic “ego”. Besides I tend to perceive the world from different sides. As a result we have the ability to see the same things and phenomenon from different and even opposite points of view. This means that if a person sees a black and a white in grey, someone who sees only black or only white will agree with the first one.

- I will always remember your unforgettable symbolic painting “Hands”. It’s a pity she isn’t neither in Ukraine, nor in Poland anymore. This is the painting that speaks through all centuries of human existence up to now. It has a very strong emotional charge. It just impresses a person, literally knocks him/her down. This painting was the first to make me see the true power of your art. It is so actual even today when the social order has changed, but the human hands yet remained bad. It influences human consciousness. Tell about its history, please.

- The painting appeared as a result of attempting to show both good and bad traits of the human being in one painting. A depicted these traits in different motions of hands. Because hands are probably as expressive as human eyes. Besides hands unlike eyes can literally raise or cripple a person. It depends upon the idea which they execute at that moment. I actually did plan the painting to be actual irrespective of time. Because love, faith, justice, diligence, sense, art are eternal on earth, unfortunately with evil, profligacy, greed, treason and envy going hand in hand with them.

- In 1993-1994 you had a very professional collection of paintings. I for one was surprised with your fruitfulness as an artist. And you kept developing your talent. Please recall what inspired you the most that time in art. What ideas and themes inspired you and which artistic way did you move in?

- I this period I started paying more attention to artistic form, keeping searching for means of better depiction. Still paying much attention to the plot I concentrated on solving only formal tasks. As before that the questions of human relationships and relationship between the human and the world kept appealing to me. The works of this period became a new step on a way to art distinguishing the features characteristic of this particular direction in artistic work. Without giving up on realistic features I began to insert purely formal elements in my work.

- This sound quite abstract to our reader. Would you just name a few titles of this whole cycle of paintings?

- The works of the latest period are: “Self-portrait with Mannequins”, “Nu with a Bird”, “Mannequins”, “Operation II”. These works end the foresaid period of my work. After that I painted: “Neighbours”, “Tourists”, “Solitude”, “Exhibition”, “Rain”, “The Sea”, “The First”, “The Apple of Seduction”, “The Photographer”, “Players”, “Solo on a ‘Cello”, “Orthodoxy”, diptychs “Dream”, “Exhibition” and “Rain” were exhibited in Kyiv and Lviv. “The Apple of Seduction” and “Players” – in Lviv. During last year I have experimented in mixed technique, as a result of which 25 different from the others paintings that made up an exposition of a personal exhibition to my 40 year old birthday in Lviv appeared.

- What is the closest in world art to you? Which art trends, authors, paintings..?

- Paying homage to old masters of painting, the works of modern authors are still closer to me. Beginning with Eduard Monnet, Vasarelli, Ishtwan Chik, Corneliu Baba and many others. Irrespective of their being very different I find a lot of interesting things for myself in each one’s works. Such a wide perception is the reason of my using purely artistic methods alongside with decorative, postural and even graphical methods in my works.

- How do you see our future cooperation?

- To a certain extend in depends on you. I can only say that illustrating works of literature is rather interesting to me and taking into account my undying love for it, the work is not burdensome at all. So I’ll be very glad to make a corresponding contribution in propagation of Ukrainian word in Poland.

- One of the cut trees in your painting “Three Trees. Quiet” is like our culturally cut and sleeping Pidljash’ja and Polissia!

- I moved to Lviv when I was very little. And I gained my professional traits under the influence of western culture. But I am sure that even subconsciously a person carries the genetic code of his/her ancestors throughout his/her life. And the manifestation of this cultural and historic background may appear suddenly and not always consciously. Out of a seed of rye, if it doesn’t die, rye will grow even in Africa, and not, say, some sort of a baobab.

- Thank you for the interview.

Interview was led by Yurij Trachuk

An intervieur for the "Nashe Slovo" newspaper.
Poland 1998