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08.12.2006 – 10.01.2007
Andrii Antoniuk “From days embraced by you”
Folk Ukrainian artist Andrii Antoniuk dedicated this small exhibition to the memory of his landsman, famous Ukrainian poet, film director and film actor, laureate of Taras Shevchenko State Award Mykola Vingranovskyi.
Speakings of famous Ukrainian poets, writers, artists and actors of Kyiv Theatre of Poetry “Mushlia” led by Sergii Arhypchuk are planned for the literary soiree (exhibition opening).
“The artist was born in 1943 in Bohopoli, suburbs of Pervomaisk (ex-kozaks' city Orlyk) in a rural family… He acquired a taste for the art at school. Then there was an art studio. Odessa Art School. He'd never stopped painting: not in the army (he served in Volhohrad city), not in Zakarpattia, where he appeared after mobilization… Here he made friends with a great painter Fedir Manailo.
But let's bethink ourselves on that time — top of totalitarianism. Minions of the system for sure had defined the “nationalism” and formal freedom of the artist. If he'd managed to provide his personal exhibitions in the late 60s in Volhohrad and later on in Odessa, where he moved for living (in 1970 he was admitted to the Artists Union of Ukraine and he settles in Mykolaiv), the 70s were not the right time for any exhibition: “neofolkorism”, as his style was called, was under silent prohibition. But there still were the “residential” exhibitions not for the general interest — only for friends and specialists.
His oeuvre got its full bloom in late 70s. As it was explained by the artist: “paintings became monumental with something from the icons and very conventional at the same time…” Art syncretism by Antoniuk: worldview of Ukrainian nation, synthesis of faiths, mythology, folklore, history and culture combined in the bright symbolic form. And all this mixture stands on the Ukrainian art background — traditions of monumental painting, icon painting, folk and common pictures (lubok), vyshyvanka and pysanka… Besides this he had used a specific complicated European manner of multi-layers painting. Colors of his paintings look like precious stones, in bright printings of which you can see the wisdom of the Universe.
Art of Andrii Antoniuk was crowned with the highest prize — Taras Shevchenko State Award. His paintings can be found in museums of Mykolaiv, Odessa, Lviv, Kyiv, Moscow, Kaliningrad, and in private collections in Ukraine and abroad: in the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Spain…”
Volodymyr Pidhora, Art critic.