Published: 12.06.2021

Oleksandr Roitburd’s personal exhibition is on view at Shcherbenko Art Centre. It includes two new series of his works: paintings of sculptures and female half-figures. The series are quite different at the first glance but they have one key feature in common: Roytburd flirts with the academic canon in his unconventional personal style.

As the artist himself comments, he “retells famous sculptures entering into a dialogue with the classics and classicist aesthetics. This narration is loose and “more expressive than usual.” But this time it is the depicted sculptures that allow him to be so liberated, their conditional recognizability gives rise to a playful interpretation. Thus, the ancient textbook classics (Cupid and Psyche, Venus Callipyge, Discobolus), masterpieces of the Renaissance masters (Brutus by the Italian sculptor Michelangelo and The Resurrection of Christ by the French mannerist G. Pilon), and examples of classicism (Venus by I. Vitali) acquire softness, playfulness, randomness as if they are reflected in a defective mirror.

“It was an exercise of extracting polychrome from monochrome,” the artist comments. In his paintings, Roitburd puts museum figures in the darkness. In the light of a candle they acquire subtle, sensual shades, and then also humanity and closeness to the viewer. The canon turns into someone painfully familiar with a frightened look or excess weight on the thighs… Finally, visitors of the exhibition will meet an old acquaintance who is the artist himself in a self-portrait. Including his own portrait in each series is the tradition of the artist.

Roitburd started creating the series of female half-figures a long time ago, but the most recent works are presented in the summer of 2021. Again, referring to the academic program, the artist creates vivid and playful portraits that are erotic and ironic at the same time. Depicted (as if from a selfie) women hold objects that make you think who she is and what she is thinking about. Easy but balanced game with heritage, flirtation, and honor, eternal history, and covid modernity – Roitburd continues his casual exercises.

Oleksandr Roitburd
He was born in 1961 in Odesa. In 1983 he graduated from the Faculty of Graphic Arts in Odessa Pedagogical Institute. Member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1989. Director of the Odessa Fine Arts Museum. The artist’s works are in MoMA (New York), The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), Pinchuk Art Center (Kyiv), Odesa Fine Arts Museum (Odesa) and the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Kyiv). Lives and works in Kyiv and Odesa.

Shcherbenko Art Centre
Founded by gallery owner and curator Marina Shcherbenko. The task of the center is to create opportunities for dialogue between representatives of the art world and a wide audience. The center is engaged in exhibition activities, as well as a platform for lectures, round tables and workshops with leading masters of contemporary art in Ukraine and other countries.

You can visit the exhibition from June 16 to July 24, 2021.

Mykhailivska Street, 22V, Kyiv
+38 096 801 20 41
Opening hours: Tue – Sat 11:00 – 20:00

Free entrance!