VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN ART: Universal Viktor Sidorenko
It is not news that contemporary artists often create, by and large, one work. There are two ways: the author either develops the same topic by different means, or, on the contrary, speaks about different phenomena and ideas using one visual language, a code consisting of materials, colors, and approaches to creating a work of art.
Viktor Sidorenko is a Ukrainian artist who, although he does not stop experimenting with form and media, is more likely to fit the second type. The artist seems to have decided on a character who wanders from project to project, developing and evolving along with his author.Viktor Sidorenko was born on the last day of 1953, the year of Stalin’s death. His parents were repressed by the Stalin’s regime, and this fact, of course, affected the themes that the artist develops.
Sidorenko has been working long with the topic of cults and their role in society: at first it was a cult of personality, which equalized the inhabitants, now these are cults of gadgets, consumption, metauniverses, which in a different way, but also devalue the role of a particular person.
Thus, a hero appeared in the art of Viktor Sidorenko – “a man in underpants”, who literally became a household name , combining the prototype of an inhabitant, an unremarkable bystander, who at the same time is an demonstrative cross-section of the whole society.
Due to its versatility, this image is easily transformed depending on the context, and almost identical works can be read by the viewer in different ways, acquiring ways of interpretation under the influence of time, place, events and the personal experience of the viewer.
The artist himself confirms the fact of the evolution of his character, “The difference between the first appearance of the character in 1996 and its modern variation is huge. Then he was connected with the historical background, and now he lives without it.
In fact, the underwear, which gives out the same address, which is not a house or a street, but the Soviet Union, speaks of being bound to a certain time. Quite often, the communist red figures of men and women hang in the space created by Viktor Sidorenko, as if in a crevice between the past and the future, in an endless search for themselves, in weightless uncertainty, a step away from something.
However, the same characters, almost the same, impersonal, in our time refer to a different issue. A fresh project by Viktor Sidorenko uses new technologies and experiments with optics on the topics of borderline sensations between the real and the visible, the actual and the desired .
In fact, people in Sidorenko’s art serve as a tool with which the artist conveys to the viewer his ideas, his philosophy, which, in fact, is quite consistent with what the author criticizes – the use of a person as a function, the insignificance of an inhabitant in front of something more.
It is also curious that Viktor Sidorenko is not limited to his own creativity, more precisely, only its visual component. The artist reinforces his art with a theoretical and philosophical base, and twenty years ago he even created the Institute for the Problems of Contemporary Art, which is working on a research substantiation of the processes and practices taking place in the Ukrainian art space.
In parallel with the exhibitions of Sidorenko himself, academic programs are often held dedicated to ideological and social issues and problems that the artist tries to reveal in his paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Since Viktor Sidorenko is a mature artist and, moreover, is actively involved in organizational and scientific activities, a lot of articles about him have accumulated. However, many of them describe the artist’s art in a very abstract and generalized way.
Most likely, this is due precisely to the universality of the protagonist of Sidorenko’s work, his plasticity and, as a result, the dynamism of his perception. We can say that Viktor Sidorenko’s “man in underpants” is a mirror for the viewer who sees himself, his acquaintances, his problems, his thoughts looking at this work of art.
The exhibition of Sidorenko, which is open until February 20, 2022 at M17, is called The Spectrum’s Colours Are All White Light, and it seems to be a good metaphor for the entire art of the artist. In the vein that any meanings and subtexts have the right to be, and that they converge in one universal “white light” – in people who, although they live completely different lives, are fundamentally very similar.
 Krivushenko B.O. – The paradigm of Viktor Sidorenko’s creativity in the artistic space of Ukraine at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries – European Science №6 (48), p. 104-108
 Curator Andrey Siguntsov about Victor Sidorenko’s exhibition Year Zero. Idea of the world.