“You turn into what you love the most”. This quote by the famous Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda has always fascinated me. In the modern world, where the visual experience is increasingly important, we all seem to be on a permanent battlefield, relentless struggle for our attention. Attention became currency. We pay with our energy, time, and at the end of the day, we pay with our lives…
Once I have noticed that when people direct their gaze upwards, their faces suddenly light up with imperceptible clarity and joy. Preoccupation and agitation disappear. I have noticed that gazes directed sideways, down and around are almost always full of action and agitation. They seem to be overloaded with mundane necessities, struggles, and efforts.” -Serhiy Savchenko, Gdansk 2019Savchenko Gallery is pleased to announce the new exhibition of photography, paintings and multimedia art by the Ukrainian contemporary artist Serhiy Savchenko. For the first time, the gallery space will be dedicated to the artist’s collection of photographic images of people looking up as well as video recordings of an artist taking photographic images. The exhibition’s focal point will be a 3.20 X 2.10 meters oil painting that has never been exhibited before.
In “You Are What You Look At” Savchenko continually returns to the theme of humanism and humanistic values in contemporary art. He reflects on the works of the famous French philosopher and art historian Georges Didi – Huberman as well as Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda who both have raised the question of the interrelation between the image, the viewer, the society and the society’s ability of self – reflection through images. The artists started the project in 2014 during the Parkours de l’art festival in Maison de Villard in Avignon, France, where he exhibited a hundred images of his French and Ukrainian friends looking up. The project has now been updated with the images of his Gdansk friends as well as paintings and multimedia.
text: Olena Grubb / Serhiy Savchenko
In Frame of Tydzień Ukraiński w Gdańsku IV_Український тиждень в Гданську IV
photos from the opening reception 08.11.2019
Photo: Karolina Jadwiga Bunik
Exposition in Savchenko Gallery 8.11.2019
Gallery Special Project “Dying Warriors/ Ruin and Reproduction”
Erik Mai /Serhiy Savchenko.
October 10-19, 2019.
“War destroys and wipes out any kind of individuality.
Savchenko’s paintings are about the city’s recognizable landscape that is transformed into a monotony of ruins that has no personality anymore. This is symbolic and inherent in today’s world: demolishing and equalizing personality as such.
Erik Mai, by creating his dying warriors out of stone, gives individuality to every single stone.“
From a conversation with the artist Olena Turyanska
about the project
Erik Mai. Dying Warriors
To make myself aware of the duration of the First World War (1914-1918), I worked on 22 stone heads from 2014-2018. The number 22 is chosen after Andreas Schlüter, a German sculptor (1660-1714), whose 22 Dying Warriors can be found in the Berlin Zeughaus Unter den Linden.
From some of my works, I moulded masks and had them cast in bronze and iron. While I was working and thinking about the war and how it happened, many military conflicts took place in the world and in Europe.
Schlüter’s portrayals are also about heroism. I can’t do anything with that term.
Serhiy Savchenko. Ruin and reproduction.
“Ruin is a term with several meanings…” Wikipedia
Every government or country writes a story in its own way, so the story should not be understood but felt.
A series of works that is based on original photographs of destroyed cities after World War II: Dresden, Coventry, Warsaw, Kiev, Hiroshima and Gdansk. 6 works, 6 cities, 6 stories, 6 ruins.
Destroyed cities created with oil and water-based paints, so conflicts between these two opposing substances cannot be avoided. The endless conflict of oil and water in the physical world should perhaps be the main key to reading this series. A conflict that sooner or later is doomed to historical fixation and reconciliation.
Probably, the photos were taken from a high-flying airplane; it is always at altitude that the horizon line relative to the landscape is the same.
All the works are diptychs, and there is the impression as if the eerie landscape is contemplated from the window of a tall, mythical building.
An emotional, sensitive look at the dramatically set design of history by viewing the annihilated centers of civilization. A picture of the world that makes it possible to bring up to date the vision of a story that needs to be felt, not just understood.
“Serhiy Savchenko, resistance against death.” Olena Grubb, MAAB Sotheby’s Institute of Art