The exhibition by Ukrainian artist Ganna Kryvolap will be held on September 25 to October 10 at the Ukrainian Institute of America (New York, USA). It will consist of two sections: a series of figurative works, “Horizons” and a series of abstract works, “Ribbons”. The first series is a sequence of landscape paintings combining depictions of cities, which may seem very different at first glance – such as Kyiv, Istanbul, Gurzuf, Sarajevo… The inspiration for the second series comes from the famous Ukrainian tradition for young girls to “wish on a ribbon” tied to a fence during wedding celebrations. “Ganna Kryvolap’s art is an irrational, generalized model of the world trapped in the constant state of change, struggle, and dynamic unrest. It’s an outlet to a spiritual space with total freedom of choice,” writes art critic Dmytro Korsun. The initiator of Ganna Kryvolap’s exhibit in New York is Lyudmila Rabij. Walter Hoydysh, Director of Art at the Ukrainian Institute of America and Chairman of the Programming Committee and Lyudmila Rabij are co-curators of the exhibition.
“I have been drawing for as long as I can remember,” says Ganna Kryvolap about her childhood. The future artist grew up in a creative environment. Both her father Anatoliy Kryvolap, an outstanding master of the brush, and her mother Zinayida Vasina, ethnographer-artist encouraged their daughter’s creative bent. The young talent was revealed early. As a true perfectionist, Ganna diligently mastered academic foundations – first at an art school, and later at the National Academy of Art and Architecture.
The artist’s unique style is a combination of color and space, expressive details and infinity, small discoveries and eternal truths. Under her belt, she has over 20 personal exhibitions in Ukraine, Austria and Georgia as well as participation in numerous international exhibitions in Germany, Turkey, the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries. The interviewee has lived in Sarajevo for the past two years. Her workshop overlooks forest covered mountains. The room is flooded with light and color. “I am working on several paintings simultaneously; this is normal for me,” comments Kryvolap as she gestures to the canvases. In her interview, the artist explains how a creative idea is born, how people in different corners of the world perceive her paintings, and why it is important for any artist to “listen” to their inner voice.
Ganna, which one of your mentors has had the biggest influence on your professional growth?
Of course, just the fact that I was born and grew up in a family of artists has had a great influence on me. My mother and father constantly worked and discussed creative subjects at home. I was also very lucky with the teachers at my art school; Lev Prezant, Zoya Lerman, and Oleg Zhyvotkov have been fantastic teachers, who not only taught me the academic canons, but also expanded my outlook on art. At the Academy, I remember Professor Danylo Lider, one of the best theatrical designers in the Soviet Union. It’s also worth mentioning the group of classics of nonfigurative art “Painting Reserve” (Oleksandr Zhyvotkov, Anatoliy Kryvolap, Tiberiy Silvashi, Mykola Kryvenko, and Marko Heyko) who were active during my student years in the early 90s, while their works became resonant events in the artistic world. I learned something from each of my mentors; some taught me stellar academic canons, others helped form my views on ideology and art. A lot of the lessons related specifically to painting came from my father. He was very persistent in making sure that I knew all the basics well. He gave me very strict schooling, but I am thankful to my father because now I have no issues with switching gears while painting. For example, if I want to paint a portrait, I can make it realistic or abstract. When you have a handle on the basics, you are not limited by your abilities.
Please tell me a little about your working process. How do you nurture your ideas, do you discuss them with anybody? What facilitates and what obstructs your work?
Creative flow may vary. There are numerous ideas, and you carry them, process them, and work on them for years. Sometimes ideas bear fruit, sometimes they don’t. For me, the working process itself often decides the fate of an idea. When you begin to work, things happen on the canvas, which tell you what to do, suggest new solutions. That is the moment to be completely open and not impose your own ideas on the canvas, but rather listen to it. I think that the most interesting things and ideas are born this way. This is the miracle, for which I love the canvas, the smell of oil and the paints. However, I did try myself in interdisciplinary projects in the past. For example, I did body art and organized events with ballet dancers, which combined painting, music, and dance. I also created theater sets for a play in Germany. All of this was interesting and exciting, but the canvas and the oil are still my true calling.
Your paintings have been exhibited internationally, some are in personal collections of modern art’s aficionados in Poland, Canada, Sweden, and Holland. Are your works perceived differently in Ukraine and in other countries?
There is absolutely no difference in perception. This is so great! And this proves that Ukraine is a European country, art included.
GANNA KRYVOLAP is a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. Member of the artist organization “Syrlun Kuntstverein”, Germany. She is a graduate of the State Art School named after T.G. Shevchenko and the National Academy of Art and Architecture.
Her first personal exhibition took place in 1990 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Ganna has held personal exhibitions at the Museum of Russian Art (Kyiv, 2012) and various galleries in Kyiv. Since 2009, she has been participating in international art exhibits in Berlin (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Istanbul (Turkey), Miami, San-Diego, and Houston (USA), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Museum of Young Art, Vienna (Austria).
In 2013, she received the first prize at the All-Ukrainian Painting Triennial.
UKRAINIAN INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. The Institute serves as a center for hosting art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children’s programs, lectures, symposia and full educational programs. It is located in New York City at the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion, designated as a National Historic Landmark. Daniel Swistel is the President of the Institute.
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