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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“Coming from childhood”

13 December, 2012 - 10:05
PETERGOF / photo replicas provided by Yurii GORBACHEV
VIOLET WINTER / photo replicas provided by Yurii GORBACHEV

Solo exhibition of a legendary artist Yuri Gorbachev “Collection from New York” opened in art gallery Nebo in Kyiv on December 7. Thirty-three of his paintings were brought to Kyiv. Many of them have already been exhibited in world’s renowned museums and the Kyiv audience will see some of them for the first time.

Yuri Gorbachev is one of the most famous contemporary artists. His paintings are on display in galleries of the Louvre, the Hermitage, and private collections of many celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, Alla Pugacheva, Sofia Rotaru, and Viktor Yushchenko. Some of his paintings are also preserved in the Kremlin Museum, in the UN Museum, and even in the White House.
It all started with the fact that in 1991 the artist moved to America. He barely knew English at that time and, of course, had no money. He had his talent, experience (he had worked with ceramics for 20 years) and also perseverance and hard-working nature. The fact that Yuri looked very much like Freddie Mercury and his last name was the same as the last name of the Russian president at that time played in his hands.
Cheerful works by Gorbachev seem to take us back to the world of childhood. “We all come from childhood. And what is most important then? Sincerity and also the ability to transform, to play some role, but not to be a hypocrite only play naturally,” said the artist. Birds, cats, horses, fish – everything in his works is as if from a fairy tale and it seems that the objects can come to life and start speaking. Obviously, this is how an artist from Odesa charmed the world.
“The spirit of Gorbachev’s paintings has deep roots. A parallel with Byzantine culture can be traced there and art that directly imitates the Hellenic culture. Byzantine art in its history repeatedly sought artistic changes, a new wider scope. It contrasted stylization and decorative art to the classic sense of reality. Paintings of Gorbachev, in this sense, continue the Byzantine tradition,” said art critic Maryna TSAHOLNIKOVA. By the way, you can draw a parallel with the traditions of Ukrainian iconography, including Volyn icons, which, though came out of the womb of the Byzantine tradition, in the process of its development was distinguished for its bright colors, non-ascetic and good-natured faces of the saints.
In the United States people began actively purchasing Gorbachev’s art after September 11, 2001: world got tired of mourning, people wanted some light and joy – there is plenty of that in the artist’s paintings. By the way, although Gorbachev has been living in New York for a long time now, there are no American landscapes in his works, while ethnic Slavic and oriental motifs dominate in his art. His painting technique is also unusual: he often adds bronze, gold, and enamel to oil paint.
Gorbachev was born in Novgorod region. When he was four, his mother was sent to Stalin’s labor camps. The boy was raised by his grandmother in a small village of Padalitsa. He made his first toy himself – it was a horse made of clay. Grandmother appreciated the skill of the grandson and praised him: “It looks like real!” Gorbachev considers himself to be an Odesite by nationality. In this coastal city he studied at the Department of Art Graphics of Odesa Pedagogical Institute, before that he graduated from Philosophy Department at Leningrad University. When Gorbachev was 26 he joined the Union of Artists of the USSR. It was quite difficult but he got help from Raisa Gorbacheva.
In fall of 2010 in State Museum of Urban Sculpture at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg the exhibition of Gorbachev’s art works was opened. After this exhibition, the painting Tsar Nikolai and His Family was included in the collection of the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Gorbachev believes that he was lucky to get such a last name because for Americans it is exotic and they remember it easily. But most of all he was lucky to meet his friends and this is the secret of his success.
Currently the artist is working on visualization of the image of the Ukrainian capital for the cover of an American magazine about traveling. According to the artist, Kyiv today became a more ambitions and promising city – it can be compared with Paris.
The exhibition will be open until January 25 (14 Drahomanova Street). Admission is free.

By Sofia KUSHCH, photo replicas provided by Yurii GORBACHEV