Anatoly Gankevich: ‘Art talent usually opens after 30, when you have enough experience, and a story to tell’.

Anatoly Gankevich is a Ukrainian visual artist and film director. Anatoly explored many different countries and shares his vision of …

Anatoly Gankevich is a Ukrainian visual artist and film director. Anatoly explored many different countries and shares his vision of the world in his extraordinary art. His works are exhibited in the leading museums of Ukraine, Russia, and Poland.

Gankevich is one of the prominent representatives of the modern art in Ukraine, who created his unique style – imitation of mosaicas. We talked to this influential Ukrainian artist about the current situation with art in the country, perspectives of the young artists, and must see art hubs to visit in Kyiv.

‘Stranger’, ‘Military-Role Playing’ project

In your ‘Soviet Mandala’ project, you talk about what the Soviet people used to consider their ‘Center’. What, in your opinion, can work as such ‘Center’ for Ukrainian people today?

Ukrainians were the part of Soviet Union for a long time, that’s why they can still relate to the ‘Soviet Mandala’. However, if one would look for the ‘Center’ of Ukrainians today, that probably would be the household, the family, the farm. Ukrainians developed their farming mentality for centuries, it’s can’t be changed fast.

A Soviet Wall Carpet: a symbolic representation of the ‘Mandala’ of Soviet people

What do you think about the current condition of visual art in Ukraine? Are there enough schools, exhibitions, events, opportunities? Is the art community here strong?

In my opinion, the most interesting artists today are still the ones from the 80s-90s, like Savadov or Mikhailov. Among the new names I can mention Zhanna Kadyrova, I admire her brutality, sharpness, irony, and unpredictability. We have a lot in common in our monumentality.

Unfortunately, the ‘surviving’ conditions for artists today in Ukraine are very severe. Artists don’t have enough financial support. There is no working system of purchasing artworks by banks, museums, foundations, Maecenas, and art collectors.

We have to be honest with ourselves – the development of art industries in Ukraine, is presently at its very early stage. But this is natural. We are a very young country, and everything is just getting started.

However, the internet gave people plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their art. Maybe that is why nothing it’s happening?

‘Banana’, ‘No silliness’ project

If a visitor doesn’t have much time in Kyiv, and he’s interested in modern art, what exhibitions or galleries do you advise to visit?

Definitely,  Mystetskyi Arsenal and Pinchuk Art Center. The ‘M17’ gallery has been renewed and reopened with the ‘Avant-garde’ exhibition. All three of those places are worth visiting and inviting guests there. There are also a couple of nice small places with interesting art, like ‘Voloshyn Gallery’ and ‘Gallery Lavra’ of Tatiana Myronova.

The ‘Subtle grounds’ exposition represents 10 artworks which depict simple views through the windows with lowered louvers. The landscape behind the louvers is painted out of focus.

What do you think about the potential of art-education abroad for the young artists? Should the artists try to apply for international grants and residencies?

Well, I would say there are two possible paths for a young artist. The first one is to learn English and make living with grants, prizes etc. To always be sort of a beggar. Some people feel pretty comfortable in this role.

The second path, the one that I pursued, is to earn money by yourself. To buy a workshop, art supplies and sustain your living.

Probably for those who really want it, studying abroad can be great. However, I think that it’s hard to teach somebody to be an artist. Art talent usually opens after 30, when you have enough experience, and a story to tell. First of all, an artist needs to learn how to think, ask yourself the right questions and respond to them honestly.

‘Apple’, ‘Inflorescence’ project

You can read more about Anatoly’s art here.

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