NOSTALGIA FOR A MAN
13.11 - 09.12.2008
Che Guevara is the first man in history, whose image, taken by photographer Alberto Korda, became a popular symbol. As for a man with iron will, sharp temper and biting irony.
Bilous has tried to re-find and reanimate the appearance of Che as a man, who, I suppose, could not imagine his image on thousands t-shirts, cigarette boxes or Russian dolls. In "Nostalgia for a man" we hear another story of great comandante - a story of a great man, whom everybody imagines in own way, depending on own stories, allusions and possibilities of imagination. Bilous also has his own story, connected with Guevara: when he was a student, he painted a portrait of Che as a gift for his Cuban friend, who aimed to take it to his homeland, and then, the picture was confiscated at the border and the guy had serious problems. At that time, Che was a "forbidden person" and to become a legendary image of Prometheus, he needed years, new generations and a few youth revolutions.
Bilous is foremost a painter, rather that conceptualist, he has unique individual style. By seeing his pictures once, it is impossible to forget them. He paints with wide brush, his colors are muffed and some details and faces are Caravaggio-like lighten up. All paintings are large, with unexpected combination of green, violet, yellow or pink. While viewing in short distance, the shape of strokes is seen through, but from the large distance, they remind fast sketches or even pure abstractions. The silhouette exudes from dark background, and in a moment, it becomes impossible to avoid feeling of physical presence - eyes already separate places, subjects and faces.
Objects seem to look like during the daylight, but due to the special technique (the artist moves from dark to light tones, and uses dark background) they become very bright and vivid. In that way, the artist combined "optical space" with traditional "sculptural space". Again, one more personal story - Bilous saw how merry dances could change visual perception and knows the acquired depth of objects in dark Kazakh night.
The series consists of simple, ordinary subjects, where Guevara - is a man beyond the feat and official history: here he is a boy, riding a bicycle and playing soccer. Another type of subject is imaginative interpretation of well-known photographs: a portrait of Che in beret with cigar, a portrait in old boots on General assembly of UNO, a portrait with a child in a meeting with Fidel. As a man with proudly lifted head, charismatic, brave aspect.
Maybe, the most powerful painting is "Saint", where artist represented Che in difficult diagonal angle (as baroque masters portrayed Jesus). The viewer stands by his feet, hanging the head as one can stand silently giving honor to Great Man .