Vladislav Gabda on contemporary art, book with the work of his father and Transcarpathian school of painting

For a month, the works of the honored artist of Ukraine Vladyslav Gabda were exhibited in the Art Cafe "Voto".  Already in November, in the Transcarpathian Art Museum, the artist plans to organize a posthumous exhibition of his father Vasyl Gabda, and in February 2016 – his own solo exhibition.   In this interview, he talks about contemporary art, Transcarpathian school of painting and a new book, which he has been working on for years. 

On the exhibition "Utilitarian on white"

– I painted on a white background specially for the space of this cafe, in spite of my "black" paintings. I used pastel colors. I did not use any frames.  Now I understand that without it, the work of the artist becomes free. A picture frame is a kind of an artist’s complex. I was living long with it. I used to think that the wider the frame, the better the artist. Now I understand that the frame narrows and kills contemporary art. My aim was to find approach to people through my own works. If I were exhibiting paintings of my "black" period here, the exhibition would look somewhat depressing. Such works require walls of the Gallery of Modern Art. And here, in a cafe, among coffee, utensils and objects, people come to have a coffee and to see paintings while they’re at it. But I adjusted myself to the space and depicted a kind of utilitarian art. After all, you can not make a grand revolution in a cafe. The space, where people drink coffee and eat pastries, sets certain limits for you.

On contemporary art and Transcarpathia

– Now, many artists graduate from schools every year. Most of them find themselves at an impasse with their classical education, become those of whom they say: "You draw well, will make a decent money." And a real artist must be starving. When I was young, it was difficult to find any information. Now, it is easier, there is the Internet.  But there is another problem – young people often copy from there, not realizing that it’s not important. My father once said that painting is an intimate thing. In general, contemporary art is a contemporary people’s business. It is, essentially, an internal struggle.      

On Transcarpathian school of painting

– I used to sit on Fedir Manaylo’s lap, visited Andriy Kotska at home, so these luminaries have influenced me one way or another. And I’m still here. I work. However, I doubt that I carry on Transcarpathian school of painting. Some people still worship Yosyp Bokshay and Adalbert Erdelyi. And ignore everyone else. They have no desire to move on. Transcarpathian realists used to touch us, but realism has its own trends. You can not just paint what you see. You must belong to a certain school, movement. My father, for example, was a post-impressionist. Throughout his life, Paul Cezanne was like the Mother of God for him. He loved contemporary art.

The book with the work of Vasyl Gabda

It is the result of decades of work. There has not been the presentation yet, it is planned to take place at the opening of the posthumous solo exhibition of my father to be held in November in the Transcarpathian Art Museum.  It will contain my mother’s memories of the other, unknown side of the Transcarpathian school of painting and its representatives.    This book features many reproductions of my father’s works (after his death, little was left in the family, and therefore we had to purchase some paintings, that had been sold, to form a collection) and old photographs that few have seen. Now we have about 50 paintings of different periods. There are about 30 more in the art museum. So I think we can make a good retrospective exhibition to see his work as a more or less complete entity.

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