WATERCOLORS OF HYPERREALITY ERA
Absolute mastery doesn’t require explanations in complicated terminology – otherwise it can’t be called absolute. Unrealistically realistic pictures by Ievgen Petrov prove that. Presented in the TSEKH gallery within the framework of personal art-project named “Breakwater”, they have artistic excellence as their basic characteristic. In front of these pictures all the other superlative degrees of comparison, worn out by the advertising industry, just lose their meaning, as well as all the other words in the new era of hyperreality. One of its characteristic features is simulacra predominance so to create an accurate portrait of this era hyperrealistic artistic means are required. They are the key to significance of art created, because manufacturers of signs without signified due to their empty nature are simply unable to master those kinds of artistic means.
“Breakwater” in watercolor virtuoso performance by Ievgen Petrov cuts the sea of simulacra which form the fabric of post-modern social reality, and thus uncovers the true existence from the mass media draperies and glamorous gloss. The author expresses existence through naturalistic images of the human body.
Ievgen Petrov created a compelling, accurate image of modern Ukraine. It is a an ugly concrete structure of Soviet times clumsily embellished with stereotyped clichés of Western mass culture, and that structure is gradually destroyed by natural blows of fate. This structure is inhabited by small people who are so busy with their small businesses that even are unable to realize the inevitability of impending storms coming.
The characters on stage of breakwater are a very clear display of Ukrainian society. Its main problem is manifested by the very name of one of the picture series – “Fuck all”, showing winter fishermen not paying any attention to one of their companions washed off the breakwater by a powerful wave.
Indifference to cooperation, the main cause of which is the inability for compassion and understanding, can be regarded as one of the main reasons that lead our society to the abyss. The premonition of something terrible to happen with that kind of society is expressed on another picture called "Eclipse".
Petrov’s art was brought to life many times. After exhibiting a series of his paintings named "The Beach" in 2010, which depicted shark attacks on beachgoers, toothy creature attacked tourists in Egypt. This might be a curious coincidence, but the 2012 series of pictures called “Collisions” included paintings depicting a crowd of policemen in helmets and Boeing fallen in the field. There is hope that the picture "Eclipse" with a threatening black cloud hanging over carelessly frolicking young men is not a vision of the future. While it is possible, this image is already reflecting something in the present.
Work on the «Breakwater» project lasted from 2013, and its main characteristic is painstakingness. The creative credo of Yevgen Petrov is to achieve the top in each picture, as if it were the last painting in his life. Therefore, the "Breakwater" series is of interest not only as a collection of individual artifacts, but also as an illustration of the author’s consistent climbing to new heights of craftsmanship, with the culmination represented by a self-portrait appeared in the decorations of the same breakwater. The lone figure of the artist affects with the hyperrealistic performance creating the effect of estrangement, which makes a spectator to perceive it not as the author of the series of paintings, but as a stranger we see on the breakwater for the first time, which, in its turn gives a clear understanding of that the artist, despite the initial opposition to the society itself, still can’t stay apart from it, thus translating the meanings through the prism of the local context. However, the expression of the general meanings through the local context has always been a good rule in art.
Petrov personally describes the creation of watercolors as an art of water mastering, and he has really achieved an amazing level that is astounding. The exhibition called «Breakwater» will last until March 30 and this is certainly one of the best personal Ukrainian art projects in 2015. That’s a must-see.