Ivan Matvienko. Animal Farm
Erarta Museum presented the first solo exhibition by the sculptor Ivan Matvienko inviting the viewer into the fascinating world of domestic animals
Avant-garde take on the animalistic genre
Vibrant personalities suggesting human-like character types
A chance to gain a new perspective on all creatures great and small – ourselves included
Ivan Matvienko developed an interest in art in his yearly school years, when he took up painting and clay modelling. In search of his distinctive artistic voice and new creative forms, Ivan took a winding path from jeweller, designer, and music producer to his current practice as painter and sculptor. The artist’s present-day creations demonstrate a rich stylistic and thematic variety: while his paintings gravitate towards realism and even hyperrealism, his sculptures are more pointedly avant-garde. Ivan seems to subscribe to the existentialist aesthetics: the archaic lines and forms that conjure his images are meant to accentuate the fragility of the world.
Animal Farm, the artist’s first solo exhibition, explores animal life with a clear emphasis on the structure and proportions of the creatures’ bodies rather than superficial beauty. Having spent much time observing animals and studying their behaviour, Matvienko managed to capture their unique and lively personalities in bronze.
The project comprises several layers of meaning: this is not a mere depiction of livestock linked to us by the simple food chain. All creatures great and small ostensibly reveal human-like features suggesting certain character types. We see animals in their customary habitat, each having a name and a certain temperament, radiating life and warmth, like, for example, the tiny and skinny, but extremely charismatic cat named Zhorzhik. Each Matvienko’s character has its own story and tries to share it with the viewer. Perhaps if we listen to them closely, we’ll get a better understanding of the animals and thus learn something new about ourselves.