Opening of Vasyl Lyakh's latest exhibition in Poland.
Blisko/daleko is Vasyl Lyakh's first solo painting exhibition in Poland. After the start of another Russian invasion in Ukraine, the artist managed to escape from Mariupol to the safer city of Lviv. There, in the spring of 2022, he began work on a series of monumental, dark, figurative paintings inspired by views of the war, which he shows from the perspective of civilians living in the occupied territories. The paintings are based on his own memories, family experiences (of his parents, brother and grandmothers who remained in Mariupol), as well as images published daily by official and grassroots media.
The individual images, signed with dates, are like pages in a diary. They combine the history of Ukraine with the artist's personal emotions and affects. In his paintings, Lyakh tries to work through the survivor's syndrome. He often places his image on the canvas, standing at the very centre of dramatic events. The artist draws on the tradition of naive art, in which non-professional artists depicted the world from their perspective as witnesses to events. In creating self-portraits, he returns to the traumatic experiences of his loved ones. The exhibition close/far also raises questions about the power of the medium of painting in the context of the wave of violent media images that reach us daily.