Елена Окунева
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VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Petr Lebedinets – on the path of artistic truth

VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Petr Lebedinets - on the path of artistic truth
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Photo: lebedinets.com


In our world there are many things that have become familiar to us, almost well-known, but their nature still remains incomprehensible to us. For example, time, which seems so understandable, so integral, but still changeable, deceptive and treacherously slippery. On closer inspection, both light and color turn out to be just as unstable.

The latter, in general, in fact, is an illusion of the human brain, its interpretation. It is approximately in this field that many artists work – riddles and guesses, feelings and sensations, intangible intuitions, which sometimes describe reality more accurately than formulas and equations.


The concept of art by the Ukrainian artist Petr Lebedinets is based on this. He formulates it this way: “Painting is the path of intuitive cognition, which passes through the prism of emotional-associative perception, striving to free itself from the subordination of the objective world …

The laws of color and the processes of color rendering are timeless, limitless and inexhaustible. Painting is designed to realize the illusion through color into a kind of harmony, as an opportunity to comprehend the highest non-material essence of matter ”[1].

The artist often does not give names to his own canvases, leaving the audience free to interpret. For him, this is such a manifestation of democracy, within which the author seems to consult with his audience, not dictating a vector of thought to it, but giving everyone the right to choose and the right to make their own verdict.

However, there are also “speaking”, poetic names that suggest to the viewer the source of the artist’s inspiration: “Spring Concert”, “Summer Space”, “Earth and Space”. All these are rather voluminous clues that slightly narrow the area of ​​the beholder’s search, but still leave enough room for free walks inside the painting.


VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Petr Lebedinets - on the path of artistic truth
Picturesque composition, 2010


Petr Lebedinets is an amazing draftsman: he masterfully owns academic painting and drawing techniques. But there is a big difference between a draftsman and an artist, consisting in the concept, ideology, philosophy, intention, in its very presence.

Lebedinets himself tells how difficult it is to move away from the learned rules and canons, giving them the primacy of emotion, spontaneity, and elusiveness. In his work there is always a place for an idea, he begins each work consciously, following his own plan, but he says that it often happens that a painting itself takes over the initiative and leads the artist along “the path of artistic truth” [2].

They say: eyes are the mirror of the soul, but for an artist these are his paintings. And just as we are not trying to reasonably describe why we like looking at sunsets over the sea and at mountain lakes, so abstract art, Petr Lebedinets in particular, should not be analyzed rationally, because it is a reflection of the artist’s inner world, which you need to feel.


VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Petr Lebedinets - on the path of artistic truth
Jazz, 2014


An example and to some extent an idol for Petr Lebedinets was the well-known Paul Gauguin, who, in a fit of rejection of the rational, almost reached the end. Leaving everything: family, children, friends and home and homeland, he changed his life radically and presented the world with dozens of bright, exotic paintings that influenced many subsequent generations of artists with their color and feeling of freedom.

Now, following the new unwritten ethical laws, the personality of Gauguin and, as a result, his legacy is being revised, moving away from enthusiastic formulations, but this is unlikely to stop fans of his paintings from admiring the “picturesqueness” of these canvases.

People who are well acquainted with what is called contemporary art will hardly be interested in Lebedinets’ works. They will have neither a social component, nor a witty concept, nor an innovative approach. But the audience of Lebedinets appreciates it for something else: for the vividness of color, for mood, for emotion, as a rule, positive.

His works are really usually bright, intense, life-affirming. And Lebedinets does not recognize conceptual superstructures over art and tries to avoid them, dissociating himself from prudence in creativity. For him, “The meaning of painting is hidden in itself” [1].


VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Petr Lebedinets - on the path of artistic truth
Whirlpool, 2004


So supporters of conceptual art can criticize the uncomplicatedness of his canvases, his handicraft as much as they want, but there will always be more people who need just such paintings. And if this public is able to take its lessons and discoveries out of this painting, to change thanks to them, then this art is doing an excellent job with its task.


[1] The concept of Petr Lebedinets

[2] From an interview with P. Lebedinets, UATV channel

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