The movie is called Temistokl Virsta. Stream of Consciousness (television company Hlas). The artist is one of those who started a new direction in the history of modernism of the second half of the 20th century, the author of numerous abstract paintings marked by the bright coloration. His personal exhibits have taken place in many countries.
On October 15 Virsta will celebrate his 90th birthday in Paris. Due to his health issues the artist was unable to come to Chernivtsi, but he delegated his wife Orysia (who is also a painter) to Bukovyna.
“We last went to Chernivtsi in 1998 Orysia told. This time I came to the opening of his exhibit as we respect his motherland a lot.”
We remind our readers that Temistokl Virsta was born in a teachers’ family and spent his childhood and youth in a mountain village of Ispas in Vyzhnytsia raion of Bukovyna. His father skillfully played the violin, painted watercolors, and taught the Greek language in Vyzhnytsia that is why he gave Greek names Temistokl and Aristid to his two sons. The future artist lived in Bukovyna till the age of 17. He learnt his first lessons of painting from local masters. However, before the arrival of the Red Army the family left their homeland and moved to Bucharest where Temistokl started studying painting. The young man decided to pursue his studies in Italy. With this purpose he set off for Italy via Yugoslavia where he was arrested as a spy and sentenced to life imprisonment! He worked in stone mines but managed to escape and headed to Italy…
The desire to become a painter led 26-year-old Virsta to the capital of France where he studied in Paris and later Venetian art academies. He confessed that at the very beginning he worked as a street artist and created decorations for films. He mainly worked as a painter and sculptor.
With the years of tireless work he created his original style that he called a “symbolic allegory.” In the 1950s he created the plastic culture of neo-figurative art. Virsta’s painting demonstrates high technical capabilities, a rich artistic palette, metaphorical thinking, and continuous searches of the form. In the 1960s he was known in the world as the author of abstract and expressive works marked by bright originality, decorativeness, and harmonious union of rich colors.
His personal exhibits are regularly organized in Paris, Cannes, Copenhagen, Brussels, Harvard, Nice, Toronto, Detroit, Edmonton, Montreal, Milan, Osaka, Stockholm, New York, London, Philadelphia, Chicago, and cities of Japan – all of this due to his enormous love to the art and work that inspire him so much.
As for Ukraine, it discovered Virsta’s creative work only in 1997 (almost 60 years later!). Then, invited by the chairwoman of the board of Chernivtsi Regional Department of the Culture Fund Valentyna Diakovska, Parisian Temistokl Virsta came to Bukovyna for the first time and brought 100 works that were exhibited in the Art Museum. Since then the artist has come to Ukraine several times. His exhibits have been held in all regional centers, in particular, in Lviv, Chernihiv, Uzhhorod, and Odessa.
Everywhere Virsta speaks he always tirelessly emphasizes: “I am French, but I have always remained Ukrainian and I am very proud of this!” The artist has backed his words with his deeds. He has given many of his works to Ukrainian museums, founded in Paris the International Association Phoenix that organizes Ukrainian-French exhibits in Parc Montsouris. In 2000 he organized the exhibit “Ukrainian artists in France 1908-60” in UNESCO headquarters.
Virsta actively helps the young Ukrainian artists inviting them to his villa in Saint-Tropez in the South of France where young talented people live and paint and later exhibit their works in their native towns. Also he sponsors Vyzhnytsia Art School.
“Temistokl Virsta always keeps in touch with his native region and our school,” Volodymyr VORONCHAK, director of Vyzhnytsia Art School said. “We have created a museum class of this prominent artist. It is a real treasury of spirituality. His thankful compatriots have given his name to the central square in Vyzhnytsia.”
After official greetings the visitors of the exhibit were shown a documentary about the artist’s life called Temistokl Virsta. Stream of Consciousness prepared by his creative team from Kyiv.
Regardless of his advanced age Temstokl Virsta is always searching and never stops at what has been achieved. His works are still exhibited in galleries of Paris, in many European countries and the US. As a true Ukrainian he is dreaming of turning his house in Saint-Tropez into a museum of Ukrainian modern art to be visited by tourists and inhabitants of the place where Van Gogh, Matisse, and Cezanne lived. Virsta would like the Ukrainian art to be known worldwide. That is why he keeps in touch with the Ukrainian artists all over the world and always exhibits their works in a small Parisian gallery.