Svitlychnyi's and Shaposhnykov's legacy is not only in being part of the context of the famous Kharkiv school of photography, but also in guiding its development, especially in terms of the understanding and use of color. For a long time Volodymyr Shaposhnykov collaborated with Yevhen Pavlov, exploring the field of interaction between painting and photography (in the series “Common Field” (1996), “Parnographiya” (1998), “Another Sky” (2003)). The current project also goes beyond the scope of individual art forms and techniques, combining the fragility of paper with the scale and imagery of monumental painting.
Svitlychnyi and Shaposhnykov's joint project lasted over ten years—the first works go back to 1986, the last to 1999—but really we can talk about a 30-year collaboration, because the artists often returned to their earlier works. Their practice began as a game, where one of the artists would refine the other's work. Gradually, this principle took the form of a continuous conceptual gesture. Entering a new stage, Svitlychnyi, with his background in monumental painting, and Shaposhnykov, with his architectural experience, began to work with appropriate subjects and scales: ancient and Christian imagery like Penelope, Odysseus, Adam, Eve, Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount, became instruments for developing a line of thought. Their paintings were made on Whatman paper, rolls of which passed between them (for the artists never worked simultaneously in the same space); the size of some works reaches 4 meters.
This did not resemble the “workshop” mode of production inherent in monumental practices. Nor was it an individualistic pursuit, as in Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing. The Kharkiv artists’ gesture is the antithesis of individualism: in a video conversation with Serhyi Bratkov, Yevhen Svitlychnyi says, “Individuality is slavery”.
© Національний Художній Музей України, 1995-2014
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