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Polish painter view on modern Ukraine

On July 22, 2016, Fresh Paint, a monumental work of Polish artist Sławek ZBIOK Czajkowski, was shown within the framework of Art Residence in Ivano-Frankivsk. It is a mural painted on the front wall of the building at the address 100 Mazepa Street, an example of conceptual art in a public space.

Before creating a sketch, the artist travelled all over Ukraine, observing socio-political changes in the country, and his work became the result of his reflection upon the Ukrainian society transformation.

The artist’s attention in this project was attracted to the topic of identity search, which is the gesture of emancipation and modernization estranging us from the Soviet past. Using allegorical images, the artist depicts the transition from the old to the new through the process of initiation. Sławek Czajkowski thinks that painting objects of public spaces blue and yellow (the national colours) signifies such a process in Ukraine. Painting fences and bridges, the nation tries to draw the demarcation line, behind which they leave the difficult and burdensome past, ready to start a new page in history, change and transform into a new society.

The idea is reflected by two figures and a mirror portal. One of the figures has a deformed anatomic structure, representing a person deformed by the regimes, the burdensome heritage of the totalitarian empire.
The second concept serves as a portal, and people change when passing through it. The mirror is the symbol of the gesture, the action used by a person to separate himself from the past.

On the opposite side, there is the Modulor, the image created by French architect Le Corbusier. The Modulor is a symbol of progress and modernization, a symbol of rejection from the old for the sake of the new. In this work, the person of old times, overburdened by the destructive past, changes into the person of modern times. Today, the artist observes in Ukraine such processes as decommunization of consciousness and search for identity with no Soviet past.

It is of crucial importance to perform the work in a simple, sketchy form. Travelling across Ukraine and observing social processes, the artist makes a sketch, which interprets the terrific process of civic participation. He squares up the sketch on a wall, making it several hundred times larger, giving it enough importance and power which this process deserves.

Due to such multilevel format, the work belongs to the category of conceptual art which requires additional context for understanding the numerous layers used as the basis. Conceptual art considers the content to be more important than aesthetics, when the meanings used in the work can require the simplest methods of execution, intensifying the content at the same time.

Sławek Czajkowski is one of the most interesting young Polish artists. His artistic practice has left a mark in major cultural capitals of the world from Shanghai to Sao Paulo. He is Grand Prix winner of IX Geppert Competition for debutant artists in 2009, holder of the scholarship program of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, co-curator of OUT OF STH festival (Wroclaw), prize winner of WARTO in Visual Arts 2010.

The project was implemented by Teple Misto Platform as part of Art Residence in Ivano-Frankivsk.

The residence curator is Yevhen Samborskyi, organizers are Roman Malynovskyi and Liliia Hohol.

The event was made possible through the active participation, promotion, and assistance of the project partners: Maliarnyi Dim (the shop of decorative plaster and varnish-and-paint products), Nadiya Hotel, Kuhnia Restaurant.

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