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Vlad Gabda, From Nature. Painting of various years
painting, mixed media
installation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Kyiv, curated by Jerzy Onuch

Malarstvo (“painting” from Ukrainian and Polish) was a project conceived by CCA’s second director and curator Jerzy Onuch who had always been interested in the idea of painting. Onuch thus invited painters Tiberiy Szilvashi from Ukraine and Leon Tarasewicz from Poland to challenge the idea of painting in the space of CCA galleries. Szilvashi used the complete space as the ‘ground’ of a painterly intervention, turning it into a volumetric painting. The room was painted blue, a pool with deep-blue water vitalizing the floor. Only a few colored spots highlighted the composition.  

Tiberiy Szilvashi, Figurative painting
oil on canvas

Szilvashi’s early painting was close to hyperrealist tradition, which then developed as a new visual language in Soviet art. However, from the very beginning of his practice the artist was opposed to the realist approach in painting. Working on the idea of time and its representation in painting, Szilvashi thus developed a principle of “chronorealism” which enthralled seemingly realistic genre scenes with wide colour plains standing for metaphysical time and specific painterly experience. According to the artist it was necessary for him as a painter “to live through time in a psychological manner, and then to live through it in an existential manner, once the work had been completed.” So the process of painting itself was captured in the canvas. It is already then that colour became an essential narrative element in Szilvashi’s painting, as well as point of conceptual reflection for the artist. As Marta Kuzma argues, “Szilvashi views the activity of painting as first and foremost a process: an encounter on the canvas, with or without preparation, with colour and time coordinates resulting in forms or areas suggesting space, and through colour, conveying a configuration announcing spiritual condition. This metaphysical condition is emphasized by colour, which is never clear and final in the work.”