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"Katerina Bilokur. I want to be an artist!": A stunning exhibition in the Mystetsky Arsenal in the year of the 115th anniversary

It was about her that Pablo Picasso said: “If we had an artist of this level, we would force the whole world to talk about it!” Ekaterina Belokur (Katerina Bilokur, 1900 - 1961) is a self-taught artist, a representative of “naive” art, ”she wrote amazing floral fantasies. An unusual and fascinating world is presented at the exhibition “Katerina Bilokur. I want to be an artist! ” Long-awaited and large-scale event!Fragment of Katerina Bilokur's painting “Maria Primachenko was busted here. And the great Bilokur at the same time seemed to fade into the background. This is wrong, ”says about the personal motivations to create an anniversary“ personal ”by one of the most famous Ukrainian folk artists in the world, the project curator, deputy. Director General of Arsenal Alisa Lozhkina. In total, 3 personal exhibitions of Bilokur took place in Ukraine before World War II, and a few more after. To insult a little! And the last in a row took place in the Kiev House of Artists 15 years ago, to the 100th anniversary of the great Catherine. So the current opening day is truly a landmark event.Press conference on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition. Speaker curator, deputy. Director General Mystetsky Arsenal Alice Lozhkina. Next (in white) - Natalia Zabolotnaya, general director of MA.The phrase “father” of cubism, probably known to every modern Ukrainian (it is believed that the master of painting said these words when he saw Bilokur’s paintings “Tsar Kolos”, “Birch” and “Kolkhoz field” in the Soviet pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris 1954), today adorns the entrance to the "personal" in Mystetsky Arsenal. However, the organizers of the exhibition, perhaps, exaggerated their paints with their statement about the impossibility to see the pictures of the legend of the Fine Arts from Ukraine. You can admire the best works of Bilokur every day, excluding weekends and holidays, in the famous Kiev National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art. And in the Kiev region, near Yagotin, in the village of Bogdanovka, in which the artist was born in 1900, and from where she practically never traveled until her death in 1961, the Memorial Estate Museum of Yekaterina Bilokur has been operating since 1977 Historical Museum).Katerina Bilokur. Sleep. 1940. Oil on canvas. Yagotin art gallery.Self-portraits of Katerina Bilokur. Autograph under one of the self portraits. Yagotinsky picture gallery. Most of the works at the exhibition “Katerina Bilokur. I want to be an artist! ”Borrowed precisely from these museums, as from the owners of the largest“ bilokurov ”collections in Ukraine. In total, the exposition contains about 100 works, including oil painting, pencil and charcoal sketches and sketches. For them are the video installations of modern Ukrainian artists. The video series is complemented by textual author's comments about how and why girls chose their profession. Not all of them delight the art party - for example, the project of Zinaida Likhacheva, which is, by the way, quite good: in the video, women's hands press flower petals into clay. Alas, in general, the video is perceived as something completely alien to Bilokurov's painting ...
The films “Katerina Bilokur. Message "by Olga Samolevskaya and" Under the canopy of white acacias "(" At the lull of bilikh akatsiy - ukr.) By the famous artist and film director Oksana Chepelik.Katerina Bilokur. Landscape The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting techniques contribute to the formation of the genre in Europe and why is the Hudson River so important? Read more with the mill. Early 1930s. Plywood, oil.
Yagotin art gallery.

The road winds away. Early 1930s. Plywood, oil.
Yagotin art gallery.
Difficult fate, disorder, inability to learn professionally due to the lack of a document on the end of the seven-year plan, perpetual movement in defiance of the environment ... This was the path of the artist herself.

The landscapes of Katerina Bilokur seem idyllic at first glance. And just knowing how much pain and human, personal grief of a woman and artist stands behind naive and “warm”-looking images, you cannot help but be amazed: how did Katerina Bilokur manage to create her “idylls” despite all external circumstances? ...Crimson autumn. Watercolor paperAkvarel (from Italian. "Aquarello") is a well-known painting technique using water-based paints, invented in Art. III. in China. Water color paints become transparent after dissolving in water; therefore, when applied to grainy paper, the image looks airy and thin. In contrast to oil paintings, watercolor works do not have textural strokes. Read on. 1950s National Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Arts

Pay attention to a fragment of the work - it’s not for nothing that the public spends so much time at the canvases at exhibitions! In watercolors, Bilokur does not change her typical love for detailing.

Having already examined the exposition, the art discussion was catalyzed by the curator of the Platform for Cultural Initiatives Isolation, Olena Chervonyk. Ms. Olena criticized the curatorial concept of the exhibition. Or rather, on her page in Facebook, popular among Ukrainian audiences, she wrote directly:
“I don’t see any curator at the Bilokur exhibition. I see the involved administrative resource on collecting works in one place. And also, I see the mindless hanging canvases on the walls of Arsenal. This is not enough for me personally. And, by the way, in order to do really curatorial projects in Arsenal, everything is absolutely there, except for understanding the profession, of course. ”The main opponent of Ms. Chervonyk in the heated dispute about curator in Ukraine was the artist, curator and critic Oleksandr Roitburd (we just visited his personal exhibition), - he tried to disavow the possible negative impression of the profile audience about the work of the Mystetsky Arsenal.Katerina Bilokur. Wreath of beans. 1950s Canvas, oil. Yagotinsky picture gallery. Despite the temptation to compare this picture of Bilokur with Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, we have to state: most likely, the image of contrasting, bright colors on a dark, almost black background Katerina "borrowed" from the Ukrainian folk embroidery by satin stitch. This technique and today is considered one of the most complex embroiderers. The colors are not “flowers”!

Catherine Bilokur's detailed quote is the title of the exhibition.
“Fate tests those who are going to go towards a great goal, but no one will catch the strong in spirit, they are squeezed, they stubbornly and bravely go to their intended goal. And then fate rewards them handsomely and opens before them all the secrets of truly beautiful and incomparable art ... ”

And I will draw and draw flowers, because I love working on them so much that I can’t find the words to express these feelings for their love - my great love!
Katerina BilokurKaterina Bilokur. On the outskirts. EtudeEtude - educational sketch, which the artist uses to study nature. Such a recipe for the artist, where everything is simple and clear. An etude is written quickly, precisely, schematically, literally on the knee - this is a proven way to touch the world and catalog it. But the status of etude in the history of art is so unstable that sometimes it acquires a value much more than the final picture, for which he served as a help. He is surrounded by a serious wide frame - and hoisted on the museum walls. So in what case is an etude a student warm-up, and in which is an independent, lively and valuable work? Read more . 1940. Oil on canvas. Yagotin art gallery.

Fragment of the painting "On the outskirts" (1940).
The pastoral scene resembles one of the most common plots of Ukrainian cross-stitch: Ukrainian artisans — embroidery lovers — are creating similar ones today. But there are also thoughts about the painting of Mykola Pymonenko, so beloved in Ukraine, as well as about painting ... of the era of classicism!

Despite her life in the village, Katerina Bilokur was engaged in self-education whenever possible. In particular, in its library were albums of reproductions. She was greatly impressed by visiting museums in Moscow and Kiev in her youth.Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more Nadezhda Bilokur. 1941. Oil on canvas. The National Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Art. Portraits of neighbors and local authorities are the “currency” with which the artist living in rural areas often has to pay for the good attitude of the environment towards him (and for a fraction of the products of the local subsistence economy). But Katerina Bilokur also had many blood relatives. Did they realize that, thanks to her portraits, always decorated with flowers, they would remain in history? ... Katerina Bilokur did not have her own family and children. They were replaced by art. Are there many more examples in the world of such a strong desire to draw? ... Here is another touching picture with the central image of a baby, created by Bilokur in the prime of his creative power and skill.Katerina Bilokur. "Happiness. Storks child brought "(Happiness. Chernoguzy brought the child). 1950. Oil on canvas. Yagotin art gallery.Fragment of Katerina Bilokur's picture “Happiness. Storks baby brought "
(another fragment of this work is the title illustration of the material) As for the “birthmarks” and “bottlenecks” of modern curation - alas! Sometimes, instead of puzzling over the "concept" of the next exhibition, its organizers, without further ado, simply hang various works on the walls. And somehow this thing is called. And yet (and not only in Ukraine) it happens that even the best of curators come up with a “concept”, and this personal interpretation “fits” the work of both individual artists and entire styles, trends and trends ... Such inadvertently born “new myths »About culture are fixed and then relayed in subsequent exhibition projects, scientific and critical literature. Did the organizers of Katerina Bilokur manage to avoid two extremes? I am thinking about this, immersed in the contemplation of the exposure.All the details in the paintings of Katerina Bilokur are written out so lovingly and carefully that I want to study every fragment of any canvas under a magnifying glass.Katetina Bilokur. Bouquet of flowers. 1942 - 1943. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Taras Shevchenko.

With the help of painting, Bilokur tried to “isolate” from the adverse external conditions and the tragedy of everyday life. During the German occupation of Ukraine, the Katri family remained in their native village, Bogdanovka. And again the power of the spirit was given to the artist by flowers, the beauty of nature ...
Also pay attention to the presence of flowers on the canvas, in nature never blooming at the same time (tiger lilies, lilacs, peonies, even dahlia)!

Katerina Bilokur usually painted her canvases during all the “warm” months, carefully “portraying” flower after flower.Katerina Bilokur. Tsar Kolos. 1949. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Arts.

Fragment of the painting "Tsar Kolos" (1949).
After this work and admiring Pablo Picasso's feedback, Katerina Bilokur became a world-famous artist.

Well, it seems the curators have avoided two modern “traps” in the composition of the exposition, which I mentioned above. There is no randomness, but there is no far-fetched idea. At the exhibition, the Soviet myth about the “young lady-peasant woman”, who wanted to be an artist more than anything else, was gradually “relayed”. And, having laid life on the altar of high art, it nevertheless became it. However, this simple idea about the “nugget of the people” in MA is not strongly imposed: it rather goes in the form of a background. In general, to assess who Katerina Bilokur was and what she had to “want to be an artist”, in Mystetsky Arsenal should go with its own baggage of knowledge, armed with the details of its biography - one of the most tragic in the history of world art. By the way, it is a pity that, after deducting a couple of quotations, Bilokur’s epistolary, which is also very interesting from a literary point of view, has not yet had a place in the large Mystetsky Arsenal.

The project of the Odessa artist Uta Kilter is one of the “parallel” video projects of the exhibition.

Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more artist nieces. 1937 - 1939. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Arts.

Fragment of the picture.

Share Share Share Generally, “lack of ideology” is not always bad: maybe, without adding anything to the understanding of the artist’s fate and creativity, the authors of the exhibition have not damaged the existing “author's myth”. Although, in theory, they could: in the year of her 115th anniversary, Katerina Bilokur knows, without exaggeration, every Ukrainian. Maybe she is often not spoken about. But she is loved here. For fate - "just like my mother (grandmother, great-grandmother) in the village." For the flowers in the pictures. "As on embroidery, only more beautiful." Flowers of Francis of Assisi in Ukrainian.Katerina Bilokur. Hut in Bogdanovka. 1955. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Arts.Fragment of the picture.The iconic art genre Bilokur, art historian Irina Koneva, who authored the first monograph, the study of the artist’s creative work, called the “Flower Icon Painting”. The exhibition will run until July 19, 2015.
Photo - the author of the report.