Personal website of artist Olexey Lytvynenko

During life, the atoms that form human body are constantly replaced. We borrow particles of surrounding things and creatures, giving ours in return. This miracle happens permanently and insensibly, but we remain ourselves. This is probably an illustration of unity of the whole existence, even more refined due to being unapparent. The unknown “illustrator” in form of this process has left us an example of taste and perfectly implemented idea.

«Shadow of the warrior» 1995«Shadow of the warrior» 1995 «Something winterly» 1995«Something winterly» 1995

Having the nature, a depersonalized teacher, as the role model, according to the laws of similarity, Oleksiy Lytvynenko obviously tends to reproduce in his works the harmony of existence, which he senses so acutely. The system of the artist’s painting is in perpetual transformation, meanwhile, remaining characteristic and individual. On this way, the beginning of creative work was the most dramatic in tone. Mastering the new for him artistic language of non-figurative art, the artist had to overcome not only the resistance of the material, but also his own concepts and stereotypes of the past. The works of 1995, 1996, partially of 1997 are witnesses, consequences and first triumphs in the selected aesthetic direction. In the works, it is clearly seen how the artistic “muzzle” were trained, how the compositional thinking developed, how, by willing intellectual effort, the usual point of view was shaped. («Shadow of the warrior», «Something winterly» 1995) The colours in the paintings of that period are thick, dense, the surface of the paint bears energetic traces of palette knife, scratched lines – traces of visible physical action.

«Whisper the sleep-1» 1995«Whisper the sleep-1» 1995 «Children’s room» 1996«Children’s room» 1996
Colour layers overlay each other, sometimes reaching sculptural, objective materiality. The tonal and structural tension is supported by orderly geometrical forms that sharply and clearly organize the rectangle of the picture. («Whisper the sleep - 1» 1995)

The vertical of the «Children’s room» together with the horizontal of the work «Step by step» from an expressive diagonal intersection, that in the year of creation – a distant now 1996 – was only a probability, one of possible ways. Some qualities, that had been implemented in these works on symbolic level, as signs, in time received a detailed embodiment.They outline the field of concepts, in which the artist works not only on the level of form, but semantically and thematically. («Children’s room» 1996). A stop – freezing from a miracle seen – a bird – resonant silence of green and blue colours – and the opposite, strong movement of red colour from one side of the canvas to the other, clearly made rhythmic with energetic strokes of grey and white plant shapes («Step by step» 1996). In one work there is tranquility, meditative existence of natural mystery, in the other – steps towards the unknown, extension of known space. The dialectic pair “observation - action” creates and fills the personal artistic language through material specific.

«Step by step» 1996«Step by step» 1996

1996 was not only internal, but also an external reference point, full of events. That year, Oleksiy Lytvynenko, Petro Bevza and Petro Lebedinets were awarded the honorary prize of International Salon «Salon Internationale D’ART Contemporain» (France). A personal exhibition in Paris followed. These achievements in fact “legalized” Ukrainian art product among other European countries, proved the importance and relevance of creative search. For the participants, that was a sign of correspondence of their ambitions to the strength of the talent. The moon of international success reflected in all three artists being awarded the title «Artist of the year» (Grand-prix of the international art festival «Golden section», 1997, Kiev). It seemed that the form and the tools had been found, and they only worth extending, developing and deepening.

The transition

It appears that sharp opposition and conflict is not present in Oleksiy’s works, due to absence of narrative and plot action. In fact this conflict is placed on another level of creative work, and is not an opposition, rather the impulse that originates form the difference of potentials. In this case – from the requirements of specific sensual perfectionism of the author, that requires corresponding implementation. The author rejects expressive form and gestures as characteristic feature of transition of an invariable object in the environment. He is interested in the internal motion in time, similar to the lifecycle of plants, where the external transformation is the result of deep internal changes. The artist links the motion and time, preferring time as integral being, or a process, over the notion of time as the sum of discrete episodes.

«Bridge-ІІ» 1998«Bridge-ІІ» 1998

This conceptual direction might be already seen in the cycle “Transition”, 1998. Here the motif of the bridge appears, which figuratively visualizes the metaphor of the title. Correspondingly, selection of spatial tools occurs. The artist gradually changes the covering layer of pigment to the light of the canvas through luxuriously nuanced glazing. Colour combinations are no longer dominated by solid intense areas – they appear as the ability of a particular object to absorb or emit specific color tonality. Generalized forms, that were successfully used before to portray favorite motifs – plants, butterflies, particularly salient triangle and its derivatives, continued to remain topical. They naturally transform into the arches of the bridge («Bridge-ІІ» 1998)

The artist chooses heroes for his canvases that are most distant from usual suggestive interpretations of the society. His themes are landscape, water, plants, insects, fishes and amphibian. The «habitants» of Oleksiy’s works are perfect, as well as not overburdened with opposing own “self” to the surrounding reality. The artist each time finds a new visual equivalent to this perfection. Just compare the graphical detail of a dragonfly in the picture «Sign of the evening» (2000) with almost enamel tactility of the «Butterfly» (2001).

«Sign of the evening» 2000«Sign of the evening» 2000 «Butterfly» 2001«Butterfly» 2001 «Mountain» 2002«Mountain» 2002
Improving the technique, the master diminishes directive intrusion into colour relationship. Interaction, interpenetration of transparent layers, diluted with varnish, creation of often unexpected, inimitable colour combinations is a matter of time and chance, arther than fully controlled process. Maybe, it is the reason why some of Oleksiy’s works are panted and “grown” for years. This gives an illusion of “self-development” of the picture, creates a fantastic feeling of depth and surface, extremely convincing in its structure. Sharpness of contour that separates one object from another disappears («Mountain» 2002).

The pursuit for basic constants of the regular field of the image – the vertical and the horizontal – is conditioned by interest in the universal characteristics of sense that provide symbolic scale to even an ordinary plot. («Time of the water» 2000). The light acts as the intermediary in such transformation. However, a directed ray, effectively revealing the external form, hides the internal structuring behind the prominent illustration of details, and therefore is inappropriate for the artist. Lytvynenko attains the internal glow. The glow of the twilight, when sky, earth and water seemingly merge, according to the artist – is the real time for the true sense of things. Twilight in the meaning of essence is the closest metaphor to the depicted state.

«Time of the water» 2000«Time of the water» 2000

The plasticity of the language of painting, not formalized by strict schemes, provides the ability to vary the process of creation widely: from consistent, sometimes for several years, saturation of the area, to almost momentary, instant sign. The work is viewed as an exercise, as integration of two states – the process and the result – on the way of creative cognition of the world.

«Koan» 1998«Koan» 1998

The author himself provides a hint to where the sources of such perception of the world lie, in works «Koan» (1998) and «Mountain» (2003). Commensurability of ephemerality of a small feather and materiality of a large mountain is the most obvious in the aesthetic plane of the canvas. It is a certain appeal to the spirit of Chinese traditional genres of «mountains - waters» and «flowers – birds» as to an artistic result of Eastern philosophic idea.

«Tree» 2004«Tree» 2004
At the same time, Oleksiy’s works are charismatically personal, and deprived of even a slightest hint at vulgar imitation. («Tree» 2004). The work of the artist may be viewed as an indirect reply to R. Kipling’s statement of impossibility of meeting between the West and the East. The sphere of visual images, created by Lytvynenko , allow to see what Heidegger described as “landscape thinking” - activity of the mind that differs from the usual. “Thinking” in this aces is an euphemism, indication of a similar process, nevertheless released from standard verbal reflection and conceptual noise.

The Tread

The direction and the goal of the artist was and still is the reduction of literally and other similar brokerage of mind constructions, that, like a curtain, obscure the clearness of observation.

«Geese» 2009«Geese» 2009
At the beginning, the motive power was he desire to release the ductile entity, the reality of the painting itself. Today Oleksiy longs for the painting of reality. Conclusions and generalizations are necessary, but they cannot keep and properly reveal the live flesh of the creation itself. The author, being at the same time the spectator, according to Lytvynenko – is an equal in rights, not separated part of the existence. So the process of “naming” (in this case – depicting) things is like an action of magic, where the image (name) and the thing are identical. Reduction of this distance to the minimum makes the thematic sphere of the works inexhaustible, just as the life is greater than our notion of it.

The author chooses sensual implementation, emotional merging, rather than the mechanics of construction of the concept. Turning the volume of his personal “voice” to the minimum in the exposure of the picture and in its name, the artist avoids conclusions, stops on the threshold of reflection. Personal attitude does not appear in what the artist sees, or in stylistic peculiarities of art syntax – the focal point, through which the world is perceived, emits love and joy of the infinity of forms of occurrence of life. («Geese» 2009) Growing of these feelings is the most significant characteristic feature of the artist’s latest achievements.

«Tender Japanese picture» 2003«Tender Japanese picture» 2003
Painting is not a self-sufficient goal now – it becomes means of non-verbal communication. Naming of the works as a traditional text accompaniment of the often becomes a source of soft self-irony («Tender Japanese picture» 2007). Thus extra pathos of vision is leveled, and the works become closer for direct perception.

The term «still life» should have been extended especially for Oleksiy with the meaning “quiet life”. Following the ironical intonation of the artist, we can say that he has created a representative gallery of our contemporaries – living creatures, as we are, («Butterfly» 2007, «Yellow dragonfly» 2007, «Sunflower» 2009).

«Butterfly» 2007«Butterfly» 2007 «Yellow dragonfly» 2007«Yellow dragonfly» 2007
However, in contrary to us, the «quiet» heroes of the artist’s canvases are ideal (not idealized) things in themselves, familiar, but unknown. In the plane of painting the artist fantastically manages to unite the recognizable proximity of known, familiar object with presence of internal mystery. «Sunflowers», «Thistle», «River» are the logical next step. Growing of the scale of perception during these years caused the transition to the group “portrait”. Implementation of specific set of natural non-anthropomorphous in the rectangle of canvas might be considered as the result of internal need of necessary balance. It is counterpoising the dominating reality of human society anthill by the means of image. Then, tenderness of reed growing through the sky reflected in the water is replaced by orderly, dense rows of sunflowers, threatening advance of thistle and pattern of water lilies (images). Natural balance, harmony of the whole as integration of harmonious singles is the ideal and aesthetical alternative to the structured chaos of society. The windows into the space of life, opened by the artist are the chance for refinement without boundary stress. In general, for Lytvynenko, catastrophic therapy is not a single universal method of reaching catharsis. Looking at his canvases you understand that this individual positivism is not naive.
«Sunflowers» 2009«Sunflowers» 2009 «Thistle» 2009«Thistle» 2009

The Lyricism

Ancient Greeks singled out several kinds of love. The highest form – «agape» included the power of «eros», devotion of «storge» and friendly–domestic sincerity of «philia». At the same time, this active in its generosity feeling was free from the viral desire to possess the chosen object. Probably due to extreme materiality of ancient Greek culture, display of the opposite – close to platonic – spiritual aspect were so valuable. This “Platonism” was not a dogma, which would render communication completely impossible, the feelings are rather re-melted from impulsive and chthonic into aesthetically perfect. The from-creation energy of the nature has such a follower in the person of the artist. Lytvynenko does not want to own, but to be. Be with the world. Visitors of his studio could confirm that the world responds to these feelings. Responds with flowers, young bines, and floral comfort in several dozens of flowerpots. The artist is not a distant dreamer, escaping from reality. Oleksiy firmly, though tactfully and respectfully fits into the lace of everyday life, time after time discovering images and presence of the Other. With his works, he gives the same opportunity to us…

«Green Field» 2003«Green Field» 2003

The Conclusion, but not the end

The unity of the natural world does not require necessity of valuation characteristics. Its harmony is not subject to decomposition and retelling by means of language. The harmony might be shown and felt, but impossible to describe in the format of cause and effect. The words are a communicative space, where people unable to communicate with the nature, exist. The contradiction between active, observing and evaluating activity of human and the landscape, that does not need this in itself, is removed by the artist, by removal of homo sapiens (including the artist himself) outside the borders of creative plane. To unite, you need first to understand the separateness. Than the picture becomes the magic key that opens the doors of mind, locked by the social life, and includes the spectator into the out-of-language circle of experience and living of the existence («Green Filed» 2003).

Andriy Gurenko, 2010-07-03