The first project of InVogue Gallery in Odessa is the personal exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian artist Stepan Ryabchenko.
Stepan Ryabchenko systematically works on destroying the boundaries between physical and virtual reality, keeping pace with the global process of “digitization” and reality augmentation. At the same time the artist retains unwavering craving for traditional motifs and classical forms. His works are recognizable, and, while dealing with different topics in different series and being realized in the form of prints, sculptures and neon installations, they still line up into a single coherent story.
In the case of Stepan Ryabchenko, the expression “personal world of artist” takes literal meaning, because it does create an alternative reality: a multi-dimensional virtual space that has its own laws, forms of life, mythology and specifics of relationship with material world.
A new round of Ryabchenko’s research is the “Virtual Flowers” series, which consists of anthropomorphic flower characters inhabiting the boundless virtual expanses of the artist’s works. They are not mere objects, but heroes, possessing their own character and equipped with artist’s description. In addition to the mythology which every character is endowed with, they all have bright and unusual forms with almost tangible materiality.
Each inhabitant of the virtual garden-world is nurtured by the artist with inspiration, awe and care of a good gardener, nurturing his creations and providing them with the best growing conditions. The existence of this garden is not limited by climate factors or any physical parameters. Its appearance, species diversity, area and duration of existence are measured solely by the capabilities of creative mind.
Flowers are a symbol of the origin of life, inspiration, creativity and hope. By creating virtual nature Ryabchenko dedicates it to the establishment of harmony between humanity and existing material nature, offering his own approach to these relations, gentle and personal, where everyone is a conscious subject. In Ryabchenko’s interpretation this topic is reminiscent of Romantic period artists, who sought answers to many questions in the relationship between human and nature, and who saw in nature a reflection of the innermost feelings and thoughts.
The theme of relations between humanity and nature is as old as the world itself, but the artist is looking for new ways and languages for its comprehension. In addition, this topic becomes especially acute when the threat of environmental catastrophe permanently hangs over the world mainly because our activity and relations with the world are not thought-out enough. Using one of the results of humanity technological progress as a tool, Ryabchenko aims to bring an element of creativity into relationship between human and their original natural surroundings.
Natalia Matsenko, art critic
Stepan Ryabchenko was born in 1987 in Odessa. Contemporary Ukrainian artist, one of the leading figures in digital and new media art. He participates in international projects and Biennales. His works were exhibited in the most prestigious London contemporary art gallery Saatchi Gallery, Museum of Modern Art in Bratislava, New York, Moscow, Vienna, Vilnius and other cities. In 2011 he was nominated for the PinchukArtCentre Prize, and in 2012 became the winner of the international competition of contemporary sculpture «Kyiv Sculpture Project». At the end of 2015, Forbes magazine included him in the top 30 most successful young Ukrainians.