INTERVIEW with Lyudmila Bereznitska  

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‘The Horizon Observer’ Exhibition - Interview with curator Lyudmila Bereznitskaya

Please enjoy our interview with Lyudmila Bereznitskaya - Ukrainian art historian, curator, collector and founder of Bereznitsky Art Foundation on the topic of ‘The Horizon Observer’ - a posthumous exhibition of Vladislav Mamsikov, one of the great Ukrainian artists of the twentieth century.

‘The Horizon Observer’ Exhibition
Interview with curator Lyudmila Bereznitskaya
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Portrait of Lyudmila Bereznitskaya, 2013.100x120cm, oil on canvas

Please enjoy our interview with Lyudmila Bereznitskaya - Ukrainian art historian, curator, collector and founder of Bereznitsky Art Foundation on the topic of ‘The Horizon Observer’ - a posthumous exhibition of Vladislav Mamsikov, one of the great Ukrainian artists of the twentieth century.

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Morning in Balaklava, 2010.160x200cm, oil on canvas

What does the title of the exhibition ‘The Horizon Observer’ imply?

 

The title was taken from Galyna Sklyarenko’s [one of the leading art historians in Ukraine] article. In her research she focuses mainly on artists from the Soviet era that had a distinct way of painting. She wasn’t so much interested in the artists’ social and political views, as much as in their artistic environment. She considered Vladislav Mamsikov, first and foremost, as a painter, rather than a citizen with a proactive stance on socio-political issues. The title [‘The Horizon Observer’] also indicates key themes in his final works, where the subjects of his observations were seascapes and people enjoying the seaside.

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Son, 2011.140x110cm, acrylics on canvas

The exhibition showcases works from two fruitful periods in Mamsikov’s life: from 1960-80s and 2010s. What are the key differences and similarities between these works?

 

The concept of the exhibition is equal parts very simple and very ambitious. The aim is to show the audience the passage of time - how the artist himself was influenced by historical changes, and how time reflected on his own values and his personal life. Works that Mamsikov painted in the United States will play a vital part in this exhibition.

 

The exhibit encompasses two periods of his oeuvre. His earliest works were created during the 1960-70s - an era called the ‘Severe’ style. By not complying with the totalitarian policies regarding art, artists rebelled against this status-quo. This movement provided them with an outlet, where they demonstrated their own artistic finds. The second period includes works from the last decade of Mamsikov’s life. It was precisely during this period that his ability to convey subtlest shifts in colour tones and interplay between light and shadow really came into full bloom. No wonder that his colleagues nicknamed him the ‘Ukrainian Vermeer’.

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Morning at the 'Cannon Beach',1990-2003. 80x100cm

Did Mamsikov draw inspiration from any particular artists?

 

Mamsikov lived for a long time in the U.S. and had the opportunity to see works of artists he greatly admired, and who shared his sense of aesthetics, such as Edward Hopper, David Hockney and Andrew Wyeth.

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Road under Bridge, 2006. 50x60cm, oil on canvas

Did you have a personal relationship with Mr Mamsikov?

 

We were friends and colleagues for 26 years. This is an extensive topic that requires a larger discussion about thirty years of experience in the Ukrainian art market and the formation of the most significant art events in contemporary Ukraine.

 

In short terms, Bereznitsky Art Foundation presents Vladislav Mamsikov’s works on multiple platforms: museums, galleries, expo centers, as well as a number of projects in Europe. Vladislav Mamsikov passed away a year ago, yet his works deserve to be recognized in the most outstanding collections and venues in the world.

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Guest,1996-2011.130x95cm, oil on canvas

One of the most important figures in Kyiv’s underground art scene in the ‘90s is Maxim Mamsikov, Vladislav Mamsikov’s son. Do their works intersect at all - in terms of themes or atmosphere?

Maxim and his father are two idiosyncratic figures [in the Ukrainian art canon]. At first glance, they are very different, yet their connection is palpable. Similarities can be traced in their colour palettes, a unique, almost metaphysical way of feeling about the world, and the ability to appreciate its beauty.

 

Mamsikov Senior epitomizes several movements of Ukrainian art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; he is the link between the art produced in Ukraine and in Europe. Whereas Mamsikov Junior represents the global processes in contemporary art - his artworks could be compared to his contemporaries, such as Gerhard Richter, Norbert Bisky, Luc Tuymans, among others. The differences are very formal. Works by Vladislav could be compared to Tuymans, and equally Maxim’s could be compared to Hockney’s. Both were and are at the forefront of the most exciting global art processes in the world.

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Road in the clouds, 2012. 130x171cm, acrylics on canvas

Two parts of the exhibition are on display at the Bereznitsky Art Foundation. The third part is preparing to be mounted at the renewed Bereznitsky Private Space. A catalogue encompassing Mamsikov’s wide collection of artworks has been published specifically for this occasion.

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Self-Portrait With Brushes, 2008. 70x50cm, oil on canvas

‘The Horizon Observer’ exhibition is currently on display at the Bereznitsky Art Foundation.

 

Interviewed and translated by Anna Shevetovska

15.07.2021