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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

A salad of painting and architecture

What architects like to do when they switch off their computers
3 June, 2008 - 00:00

It is not enough to be a good artist or a talented architect to participate in the Architectural Suite exhibit. The participants see both things as their vocation: educated as architects, they devote all their spare time to painting, photography, or sculpture. They display their creations at the annual Architectural Suite exhibit, the latest of which was held at the National Sophia of Kyiv Museum Complex.

Around 30 Kyiv architects showed a variety of works, including watercolors, oils, and pastels, portraits and landscapes, photographs of architectural sites, travel photography, Gobelins, and ceramics.

“Architects are busy people, so they rarely find the time to take their paints and easels and go downtown or to the countryside to paint. More often than not, they pursue their hobby when they travel or go on business abroad,” said the architect and artist Serhii Beliaiev, winner of the Heorhii Narbut Prize. “Most of the exhibit participants painted their pictures in 1960-80, when they were in college or university. In those days they had enough time for painting, and now these pictures are making us look backwards in time. They are sort of a retrospective look at the past.”

The architects painted whatever they pleased: downtown squares, the sea, cliffs, riversides, and picturesque lakes. The settings of the paintings are diverse, ranging from the Crimea to Venice, from Salzburg to the Acropolis. The artists did not overlook Kyiv’s holy place — the Caves Monastery — or the Desna River, immortalized by the great film director Alexander Dovzhenko. According to one of the exhibit participants, the artist and architect Viktor Kirnos, Architectural Suite is a fantastic salad of top-quality creations, and his task is to lay a bridge between professionals and young participants, who sometimes lack a network of creative contacts.

“This exhibit should become a tradition because it encourages architects to do creative work not only on their computer screens (most architects design on the computer) but with their own hands,” Kirnos continued. “Computers have supplanted the architect’s ability to work with his hands and a brush. It is a great pity that young people are forgetting about this component of the architect’s profession. When you switch off the computer, you can depict nature and all living things, which are then conveyed through your world outlook. Painting helps you step onto the path of truth, because this is not simply a reflection of what you have seen but an expression of the state of your soul and the times you live and work in. The ability to be a good architect should go hand in hand with being a real painter.”

No matter whether the artists heard Kirnos’s words or listened to their own intuition, visitors and art specialists alike had high praise for the works on display, which did not differ from art created by professional artists, a clear sign that these creative individuals know how to achieve success in any endeavor.

All the exhibit participants agreed that amateur painting is not just a hobby or time away from their main occupations but a way of life and thinking. As the traveling artist Yurii Khudiakov noted, the show encompasses people of different ages, artistic styles, and outlooks who work in the same profession. Architectural Suite reveals new facets of the talent and preferences of these Kyiv architects, who are shaping the image of our city and its inimitable atmosphere by combining Kyiv’s historical face with modern trends in urban design.

Since this is only the second year that Architectural Suite is being held, the organizers are working on improving it. They want to involve architects from other cities in Ukraine and boost its experimental nature. To further this aim, they are planning to invite more young people, who see the future differently from their more experienced colleagues.

The young participants of this year’s Architectural Suite claim that the works of their older colleagues encompass so many artistic spheres and diverse genres that it is difficult for young people to discover anything new and original. Owing to their youth, they are the ones who are supposed to introduce new ideas and themes into art, combining old and new technologies. To overcome this artistic crisis, Kirnos suggests that young architects combine computer techniques and painting to create electronic installations as a dynamic new genre of art. Maybe we’ll see the results of their efforts next year.

By Inna FILIPENKO, The Day