Category: Latest, Opinion

Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Riaboshtan

Smoking factory chimneys, oil-black railway tracks, semaphores flashing with red eyes, a tangle of electric wires in the sky – some see such views as the dismal costs of civilisation, but young Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Riaboshtan sees in them a special beauty.

Vladyslav Riaboshtan combines the artist’s admiration for expressive industrial landscapes (colourful tanks running down a black iron river – that’s beautiful! The metro tunnels – that’s mysterious!) with anxiety about the near future. His work in a style ranging from impressionist painting to laconic graphic art is catchy, appealing and effective in the exhibition space. And it always makes one wonder whether large industrial post-Soviet clusters have a future, and whether it is even possible to harmoniously combine technical development with the desire of people to live in a clean and comfortable world.

Vladyslav works in the style of precisionism, a form of realism that emerged in the 1930s in the United States. He focuses on industrial sites: factories, mines, railways, tunnels, bridges, power lines… Vladyslav grew up in the city of Dnipro, the centre of one of Ukraine’s major industrial regions. Factories work there day and night, trains buzz relentlessly, carrying freight cars and tanks into the distance. All of this is dynamic music, the pulse of working life. Vladyslav Riaboshtan now lives in Kiev and captures the realities of the capital, for example, in a series of works devoted to the mysterious underground world of the underground. No matter how much we dream of tropical islands, of a serene life in nature, the Earth today is primarily cities, the roads connecting them, huge factories, quarries, mines. Less than two centuries ago, our civilization took a technological leap, experiencing its first fascination with progress, mechanisms and speed. Artists in the early twentieth century were excited by progress. They believed that a new era had begun. But today everyone is asking the question: where will this rapid progress lead?

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