The exposition of pictures of the winner of Taras Shevchenko National Prize, People’s Artist of Ukraine, academician of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Liubomyr Medvid is entitled “Reminiscences,” and the author considers it for the most part a project rather than an exhibit, because the pictures make a kind of meaning and form-and-plastic integrity dedicated to the topic of reversals of fortune, problems, or images of the Prodigal Son.
“Clearly, the canvases on display are not an illustration of the Evangelical parable, they are just images, reminiscences, associations, dilemmas, grotesques, etc., it inspired. In this sense the project is an aesthetic, rather than ethic program. After all, it can be vice versa: at first aesthetic program, then the ethic one,” the author contemplates, “Whether it is so or not, another thing is important: I am always impressed by the effect of a kind of the ‘frozen scene,’ when it is hard to distinguish whether the restless Prodigal Son is heading to or from the Father’s threshold in a concrete moment, concrete location or apogee of freezing. Maybe, I lack the kinetic factor, the factor of movement. If there was movement in the picture, it would not clarify the answers, but would just make the answers more difficult. But this aspect is not important either. Important is that Father is patient, as always.”
On the whole, the project consists of 37 pictures, including three diptychs and a triptych. In Lviv the audience will see 13 pictures.
“However, the figures are not essential,” Medvid emphasizes, “An essential thing is that the project is not over, the show continues. My justification of art is based on the fact that the aesthetic excitement of each one of us is caused by the feeling of guilt hidden in the bottom of our consciousness: it is guilt either for the lost paradise, or for feeling insulted by God. A subject that is able to bring this reminiscence up from the bottom is called a piece of art. The rest is a workshop production amongst noise, rattle, and shafts of sparks or fireworks.”
Roman YATSIV, art historian, professor of art history, pro-rector of the Lviv-based National Academy of Arts:
“Liubomyr Medvid is one of the most interesting personalities of Ukrainian art not only of the last decade. Practically since the 1960s he has been able to surprise our artistic milieu with daring ideas, which go beyond the framework of understanding what an art school is, because he is inspired with the experience of various European milieus.
“Medvid is a very well-read, erudite man in terms of philosophy – in particular, the philosophy of existentialism, the literary phenomena, such as Sartre, Camus, and other personalities which defined the line of development of the philosophic-anthropological thought.
“Medvid gradually developed a special paradigm of thinking, which was embodied in metaphorical cycles – I would call them cycles-parables, because he thinks namely with the categories of serial works, and namely because of this seriation can give various images of this fundamental problematic: man, his rise and fall. They say sometimes that there are too many minor tones in Medvid’s works, too much anxiety, too little light and optimism. His instruction to the world is just like this – very complicated. He uses as the ground the stand of Christian moral, ponders over critical points which are observed in some cultural and civilization shifts. He records them, can articulate them very subtly and present with the help of artistic means. And Medvid’s current exhibit is in fact a result of fruitfulness of his contemplation over these questions.
“The parable about the Prodigal Son, like, actually, his artistic paraphrase of this classic Christian topic, is revealed by a sum of complicated metaphoric means, where the topic of defending human features in a man is encoded. His expression means are simplified at maximum. However, the form is intense, and the painting elements that show this collision and fundamentality of this drama have been made more acute. This is very impressive. This makes you think. This exhibit encourages one to treat with greater responsibility what is going on in modern society. Medvid, even with his civil instruction, forestalls these or other events, looks ahead, warns from excessiveness, brings to more responsible attitude of a person to others and Christian virtues. These problems are very well highlighted namely in this exhibit.”
Liubomyr Medvid’s “Reminiscences” will be on display at Andrei Sheptytsky National Museum till June 23