We are announcing the gallery's first exhibition in 2024—When All the Good Became Good and Left and the Evil Released by artist Krystyna Melnyk.
In her practice, Krystyna works with a double power of images. Influenced by Georges Bataille, and in particular his text Story of the Eye, Melnyk seeks to convey a sense of the sacred through the idea of the suffering body as described by the philosopher. Tenderness and even admiration for this body, despite its fatal deformity, are the feelings that engulf an observer of the artist's works. Because it is through the experience of pain, suffering and disgust that one can get closer to humanity.
After the start of the full-scale invasion, Krystyna felt more like an iconographer (whose function is to subdue) than an artist (whose core is power). Under the influence of Storozhenko's sacred and monumental workshop, Melnyk began to work with levkas. This medium, which is traditionally used in icon painting, allows you to create a work over a long period, which, therefore, becomes a witness to life. Moreover, when depicting sacrifice, an artist must take the position of a victim, by devoting a significant amount of time to its creation.
For the last year, Krystyna has been working on a large altar inspired by the Northern Renaissance. The first part of it will be exhibited at the gallery. The centre of the work depicts a boy's chest, which is almost completely surrounded by female figures. Through the cropping of the shapes, this rather classic levkas takes on a modern look.
Melnyk's first works were tied to the perception of war past. In them, the artist reflected on why the Second World War happened. At the time, it was hard to think that it could happen again. Now, Krystyna's pieces seem prophetic. Pain, physical decomposition, a wounded body—these are things that accompany us every day. However, the way the artist paints these tragic images gives space to feel love and tenderness at the same time, proving that there is neither absolute suffering nor serenity. From 10 January, we invite you to visit the exhibition and share this dual experience yourself.
Opening: 10 January at 19:00, 21 Reitarska St, Kyiv