Victor Sydorenko
Born 1953 in Taldy-Kurgan, Kazakhstan
© Photo from the artist's archive

Victor Sydorenko is a Ukrainian painter, curator, teacher, an author of objects and photocompositions and also scientific and publicistic texts.
Time, Memory and History are the central idea of the Victor Sidorenko’s project, which extrapolated their polyvariance and different readings into the language of visual images and construction. Such specific realities of our time as the memory problems, a heritage of posttotalitarian rudiments, the questions of identification of the person in the modern world which is becoming more and more complicated, the prospects of the person in new globalised model of life-construction, enter into the sphere of creative interests of the artist. Besides, the research orientation of its creativity also concerns the past, but with underlined deideologized relation to a cultural heritage, with the use of possibilities of an arsenal of new media.

"There was a time when humanity followed the front-line reports during world wars. As well as we do now – tracking the pandemic loss charts. I think that now, as then, the actualization of existential mentality will occur. Self-isolation cinematically “stopped” the time, gave the opportunity to look deep into ourselves. It became an exceptional time for artists and philosophers. The huge changes taking place in the modern world have touched all spheres of human life, including art, and spawned a whole industry of online culture. Shortly there will be a complete digitalization of the whole way of life shortly. Earlier information technology for society was limited to social networks, payment systems and online news that we were reading on our gadgets. And now the rehearsal of the future is taking place. As we have been observing lately, everyone is absorbed in black mirror of screens: from schoolchildren and students doing e-learning to pensioners watching TVs. I think we will face learning to distinguish virtual and real. The world is undergoing tremendous changes and humanity will have to acquire immunity not only to biological, but also to information viruses. My "transitive character" is relevant in a new way. He has passed the stages of reconstruction, the creation of a new cultural hero, deconstruction, the cultural hero was destroyed by the Soviet era, a stage of simulation that identifies the hero with the machine, simulating “humanity” and its subjectivity. And now the trajectory of character’s development moves in the field of technoculture, and the deconstruction that anonymizes the character allows me to find new forms of identity in new media realities."

Victor Sydorenko
Kyiv, Ukraine. April 7, 2020

Invasion (1996)

300 x 400 cm, oil and acrylic on canvas

The main topic that I have been working on for many years, exploring and developing its figurative meanings was determined in the mid-1990s, and more precisely in 1996 in the work “Invasion” from the project “Amnesia”, where my character first appeared. For almost a century, in our country everyone wore underpants: soldiers, prisoners, civilians, all social strata – this was like a sign of a balanced, common fate. Then, while experiencing the complex and still not completed process of national self-determination, Ukraine rejected its Soviet past from its collective memory. 

However, this is obviously impossible. Unconscious, unanalyzed experience returns to the public consciousness by unexplored myths, social complexes. For me, this character was the embodiment of the “drama of the impersonal”, “the man of the mass”, “one of many”, the community of fate that somehow united the generations of people of the 20th century, who have survived two World Wars, revolutions, years of totalitarianism.

So this character turned into a very capacious and multi-valued image, in every new context of its consideration filling with new, different content. It is significant that the viewers brought these meanings into their works by themselves, interpreting the works and comparing them with their experience and knowledge in their own way.

For me, this was not about specific historical events, but about a deep drama of time, which easily manipulates individual human life, dissolves personality in another ideological project… 


Victor Sydorenko