This time with Yury Kharchenko, an upcoming young artist, who was recently featured in the New York Times Magazine alongside Damien Hirst and David Ostrowski. His favorite colour is blue, but in contrast to Yves Klein he combines different rich and sober tones; some of his works are completely monochrome. Kharchenko’s work manages the balancing gap between reputed simplicity and multi-layered sophistication, which is influenced by life and its reflections; the cultural influences he was facing in his life span and the cities he lived in.
Yury, when did you realise that you wanted to be an artist?
I was 15. My parents sent me to an art school in Moscow when I was 7 and at 13 I took private lessons in Germany, it was during this time when I realized that art was something important for me. Later when I was 18, I started to study at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf. The funny thing is that my application included paintings and drawings done at the age of 15. You are born an artist, you cannot change it. I was lucky to have liberal parents who saw and supported me. I am happy to do what I love. Being an artist is both: eternal beauty and eternal pain. The great thing is the result: eternal beauty and uniqueness, which is the real treasure of an artist.
“Being an artist is both: eternal beauty and eternal pain”
What is typical of your work and what are your concepts?
Right now I am getting much more “figurative” and mystical than I was before. Difficult to explain, you need to see in person. Regarding my previous work I want to quote a passage from the text of Kay Heymer, Director of Modern Art Department at the Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf: “Kharchenko’s works can make one forget that such a thing as pop art and post modernism ever existed. His pictures are completely free of cynicism, and there is nothing second-hand about them. His painting is not that of an epigone. They focus on the formal and emotional possibilities of painting. They are both non-representational – pure visual phenomena like sounds – and representational – simple shapes such as the houses, which form the backbone of the cycle, or as the silhouettes of figures hidden in the thickets and scrub of the dark lattice structure of these pictorial spaces. Yury Kharchenko’s paintings are delightful in their texture and their sense of color, stimulating the senses and arousing strong feelings in the viewer.”
“Yury Kharchenko’s works can make one forget that such a thing as pop art and post modernism ever existed. His pictures are completely free of cynicism, and there is nothing second-hand about them. His painting is not that of an epigone. They focus on the formal and emotional possibilities of painting”
You have been born in Moscow – why did you come to Germany?
After Soviet Union dissolved, my mother found a job as a Doctor in Biochemistry in West Germany.
What did you like about Düsseldorf?
It was my start with Academy of Art and artists friends. I just knew the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf, Altstadt and Flingern where I had my studio. I did not really explore the city and fun here. My life was painting. I like the Rhine and the culture of the city.
What did you do next, after your diploma and Master of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf?
I painted a lot and traveled around the world. It was much about experience and art. Actually I was thinking how to go on with my art. Because I was reading a lot philosophy and poetry, I started to write down my own ideas about art and life. I noticed that I expressed my ideas in an different and creative way, I started a PhD programm in literature and philosophy at the University in Potsdam for one year – about art philosophy in postmodern times influenced by Jacques Derrida. Because I was very enthusiastic to develop some more shape and deeper thoughts concerning my ideas.
You have been in the New York Times alongside with works by Damien Hirst, Sergej Jensen, David Ostrowski and other prominent artists in the New York Times Style Magazine. What does this mean for your career as a young artist? And what is planned for 2015?
It’s a good start in the US. I am curious to see how my next projects will develop, but I am not really controlling this – though I do not want to hide my talent. There are different exhibitions planned. Starting November 7 with the artists group I founded “Voyage Mezzanine” at Clara Maria Sels Gallery in Düsseldorf. The exhibition will be curated by Raimund Stecker, former Director of Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg and it includes paintings and sculptures of my friends. There is another exhibition at Mirta Demare Gallery in Rotterdam. And last but not least my solo exhibition at Poiesis Spec in Berlin which is curated by Kataharina Joseph, don’t miss the opening on October 22.