Vasily Bazhay: I don’t strive for audience approval

Vasily Bazhay: I don’t strive for audience approval

17 May 2016

   One of the most famous Ukrainian masters of picturesque plastic arts, Lviv artist Vasyl Bazhay amazes Kyiv residents with a new performance “Refrigerator”.
      The artist turned his huge scenic canvases into 3D paintings: he twisted them into cocoons and hung from the ceiling. Thus, Vasily impresses spectators who walk between pictures as if through a maze.



    Nadezhda, the exhibition visitor: I’m astonished. This is an incredibly enchanting labyrinth of paintings. I was curious about the combination of, technically, sculptural form and painting canvas. And I have seen a rather different view of the way to present paintings, a different approach to placing it
in a space and how the artist’s sense of form had been modified.

     Indeed, there is something to think about. Since Vasyl Bazhay is one of the most outstanding Ukrainian masters of picturesque plastic arts. He has already been working on these paintings more than thirty years. The artist notes that the exhibition “Refrigerator” is now not just a number of static scenic canvases, but paintings which move using the viewers movements, situating them with new energy.


Vasily Bazhay, the artist:

     “Perhaps for someone, there is pictorial art separately. But for me, a lot of things go through performance into painting and vice versa. This project also allows me to work with the place where my works can be heard. When they ask me where to put them, or hang them up from the ceiling, or what form they should take. I listen to those things.”



     Marina Shcherbenko, project coordinator: When a series accumulates, (Vasily Bazhaya’s series is autobiographical), stories accumulate. This is a kind of artist’s diary. Today we can see that these works have become separate beings and constituted a certain labyrinth of life. Each visitor can walk through this labyrinth and feel the new emotions which are the author’s own.


    In the home, a refrigerator is used for long-term storage. However, in his project, the artist, on the contrary, begins the unfreezing process, revitalization action. The canvases that have served their purpose, he enriches with a new idea and returns to life. Some of these paintings had previously adorned the premises, some had become the piece of the museum exposition and presented at exhibitions, while others had been kept in the vaults. It is the readiness for storage that characterizes the idea of archive repository inspired the artist to create this project.



Vasily Bazhay, without exaggeration, is considered one of the most eminent masters of picturesque plastic arts. First and foremost, he is a painter and a “pure” abstractionist, who is completely immersed in the element of color and form. Therefore, a bright range of impressions from his works consists of diversity and beauty of color, variety and richness of formal decisions. In a relatively short time, the artist has become a leader and a classic in the field installations and ready-made objects, although for the last few years he has focused exclusively on the pictorial structure.


    Having discovered in visual art a unique property called `the ecology of the spirit`, he actively implemented it  in his project, developing the concept of performance as a unifying factor of the entire creative field of his own. Bazhai’s canvases affect and activate human organs of perception, make you think, and rest assured not a single viewer will remain indifferent.


    Vasily Bazhay`s paintings are held in museums in Lviv, Kiev, Khmelnitsky, as well as in the galleries and private collections in Ukraine, Belgium, and the USA. The artist was born on October 4, 1950. Since 1991, he has been a member of the Lviv Union of Artists of Ukraine, and since 1996 – a member of its board. From 1998, he has become head of the conceptual art section of the Lviv Union of Artists. He lives and works in Lviv.