Odessa artist: Virtuosity as an ideology

Evolution and absolute freedom of Vasiliy Ryabchenko

Vasiliy Ryabchenko is a Ukrainian painter, graphic artist, photographer, author of objects and installations. One of the key figures in contemporary Ukrainian art, and the “New Ukrainian Wave”. He was born on 23 July 1954 in Odessa in the family of the Soviet graphic artist Sergey Ryabchenko. His art education begins in 1966 in an art school.

Vasily Ryabchenko. “Swing for hemp”, installation, 1993 | Photo: Vasily Ryabchenko ©

Vasiliy Ryabchenko’s early works are distinguished by the synthesis of «western» and «eastern» approaches to pictorial art — almost «english» aristocratic asceticism the language organically flows into the Chinese «dance of a brush».

I am against revolutions, I am for evolution and absolute freedom in this evolution. My internal location and orientation is conflict-free.

Vasiliy Ryabchenko
Vasily Ryabchenko. “Grand Etude” (diptych), 150 x 300 cm, oil on canvas, 2013
Vasily Ryabchenko. “Games with characters”, 90 x 85 cm, oil on canvas, 1991

In the second half of the eighties Vasily Ryabchenko imbued with the transavantgarde ideas. But if in general the Ukrainian transavantgarde appealed to the aesthetics of the Baroque, Ryabchenko’s works at this period of time could be more simply described as the «new Rococo». The artist pretends to be a courteous decorator. Virtuosity becomes an ideology.

In 1996, Vasiliy Ryabchenko founded the creative association “Art Laboratory”. In the same year he received the prize and the title of “The Best Artist of Ukraine” following the results of the first All-Ukrainian Art Festival “Golden Section” in Kiev. Also in 1996 he got an award and title «The Best Artist of Ukraine» following the results of the first All-Ukrainian Art Festival «Golden Section» in Kiev.

Vasiliy Ryabchenko. “Grace refusal”, 200 х 300 сm, oil on canvas, 1989
Vasiliy Ryabchenko. “Undecipherable characters shore”, 200 х 400 cm, canvas, oil, 1989

I live and do my job mostly intuitively, not judiciously. I do not like manifestations of too rational, balanced and thought out to the smallest detail. I’m interested in sensuality, but I think that art needs to be different, turned both to the senses and to the intellect. I appreciate the freedom and honesty of any artist.

Vasiliy Ryabchenko

Vasiliy Ryabchenko lives and works in Odessa. Ryabchenko’s works are in the collections of art museums in Kyiv, Odessa, Sumy, Chernihiv, Zaporizhia, Norton Dodge (USA) and in private collections in Ukraine, Russia, USA, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Greece.

Kuporos, 2010
Vasily Ryabchenko. “Catcher”, 180 x 160 cm, 2019