An exhibition of contemporary art “Beads by Zinaida Likhachova. 2010-13” (modern artistic clothing, jewelry, accessories, installations, video art) will be presented at the National Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art Museum until October 21, 2013.
After the successful participation in international shows (Oxford Fashion Week, Georgian Fashion Week, Russia Fashion Week, London Fashion Week) and art exhibits (Art Monaco, First Kyiv Biennale of Contemporary Art, ARSENALE 2012, Art Kyiv Contemporary, Miami River Art Fair, New York Pulse, Art Copenhagen), Zinaida Likhachova will present her art works of the recent years at the National Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art Museum.
The exhibition includes over 70 pieces: the 70 so-called “beads” made by the author, among them being dresses, blouses, fabrics, accessories, non-traditional headwear, T-shirts decorated with art prints – all they seem to be the beads of an original “ornament,” a true jewel of Likhachova’s artistic work of 2010-13 in the area of women’s attire.
Authorial interpretation of authentic ornamental motifs and iconic symbols of folk art, reminiscence of Ukrainian poetic and song folklore, recreated through modern means of artistic expression, and also the artist’s emotional and sensational experience with her ability of deep aesthetic and spiritual experience of the highest achievements of national culture – all this makes up the art by Likhachova, an original Kyiv-based artist, who has been consistently looking for her niche in the contemporary art space, and who has an absolute confidence in the depth and versatility of traditional art as an inexhaustible source for a modern artist.
“The discovery of my own sense of the Ukrainian folk tradition in creating women’s attire, in the traditional reconstruction of woman’s image is the idea of this exhibition,” says Likhachova. “Besides, graphic and plastic transformation of the essence of this phenomenon and its transition into the dimensions of modern art is the most important for me.
“I rely on my own admiration from immersion into Ukrainian folk customs and traditional way of life, my spiritual experiences from perception of ancient song lyrics, my pleasure from the contemplation of rural landscapes: everything from the slightest perceptible breath of earth to the taste of fruit it gives us. I put it all into images of women I create with the most up-to-date means of expressive art of the early 21st century, applying also the achievements of contemporary art.
“This exhibition is the ‘living history’ of my creative works, which has been collected bead by bead and strung on the thread of life. It is a collection of my emotions and feelings, my reaction to the outer world, my love for it.”
The names of Likhachova’s art collections are not random, they usually contain the key to decrypting the topic which excites the artist and to understanding the emotional mood of the work (“Light of the Sun” (2010), “Echo” (2010), “Heart of a Birch” (2011), “Autumn Is So Sweet” (2013). In items of clothing, jewelry, accessories from these collections, which are distinguished by the author’s depictive ingenuity, her charming sense of the world’s beauty, you can be immersed into the elements of ancient sacral geometric motifs, suggesting the ancient Slavic ornaments and decorative textiles of the western Ukrainian regions. You can enjoy the flowing lines and rounded contours, which bring up the associations with plant and flower ornaments of carpets and embroideries of Podillia and Polissia, or feel the echoes of modern art of the late 19th – early 20th centuries with its tendency towards the graphic intertwining of trees, branches, stems, and flowers.
Collections “Live in Kiev,” “Cocooned,” “More” (all from 2011), “Phonetheus” (artistic collaboration with designer Jean-Pierre Braganza, 2012); T-shirts with art prints from series “Motherland” (2013), “Famous Ukrainian Women” (2013); installations “Touch” (2012) and “Other” (2013), decoration from the project “Language. We” (2012) by Likhachova are dominated by both figurative and abstract shapes, marked with individual graphic, composition, and plastic thinking of the artist. They captivate with their special moods: each one contains a specific emotion: be it lyrical or dramatic, it certainly is passionate, temperamental, impulsive, the one that is close to a woman’s soul which thrills and touches to the quick.
Almost all ensembles of the contemporary women clothing created by Likhachova contain a mandatory component, a necklace, a piece of jewelry which ancient Ukrainians made of pears, corals, colorful stones. A line or a few lines of a necklace served as a traditional decoration for young women and girls. An especially magnificent necklace was a part of the festive attire of a bride. For married women, a necklace was a sign that meant their husbands took care of them. It would be appropriate to mention Shevchenko’s lines here: “And he loved his wife – oh dear God! He dressed her in necklaces, like a landlord’s child.”
At the exhibition at the National Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art Museum Likhachova was most impressing with her full body-length necklaces, created in the original technique involving the use of textiles of the noble red, blue, and brown colors. They can be perceived as very modern art jewelry, but at the same time, they carry that very ancient symbolism, which was mentioned above.
Likhachova is an artist who is rapidly finding her way in art, her original style, and even her “national” original style. And that is why anything that is created by Likhachova is “art with roots.”
Her works are distinguished by simplicity, elegance, minimalism, clarity of the idea, and most importantly, the sense of Ukraine. She addresses the national archetypes, our traditions and rituals, transforming them not only into objects of women’s clothing, but into emotionally powerful sculptural compositions and installations, in graphic and video art, in artistic and music performances, striving to make them more modern, understandable, “live,” and thus returning them to us.
Also, the same purity of feeling typical for traditional art can be found in Likhachova’s works. They are especially attractive, because there is no place for “infernal forces” in them, which are often present in contemporary art. Likhachova’s works do not carry any evil or negativity.
Remarkably, Likhachova, who exhibits her works all over the world, presents herself first of all as an artist who was brought up and cherished in the Ukrainian land, as a contemporary master of Ukraine’s art, whose culture she is sincerely proud of.