Kateryna Lysovenko

Kateryna Lysovenko’s banners outside Neue Galerie Graz as well as her paintings and watercolors in the exhibition depict figures from an alternate mythology. They are protagonists very different from the ones shown in real-time footage from the trenches by contemporary mass media. Called to action by an attack like the one Russia mounted on Ukraine in February 2022, they become defenders who die to continue existing.

Lysovenko imagines these characters as animal-human chimeras resembling mythological figures from the ancient world. These “defenders” are not only heroes but also monsters, and they inspire terror in those who see them—like Medusa, who would turn her beholders to stone.

Lysovenko thus also comments on the changing Western view of the war and its combatants. Those defended by these ambivalent figures outside are shown inside Neue Galerie Graz. They are also not simply victims, but rather figures resurrected and given a new magical life in Lysovenko’s work.

Kateryna Lysovenko (1989, Kyiv, Ukraine) is an artist who works mainly with drawing and painting, but also with performance. A major theme in her work is the Socialist Realist legacy, its ideals and their persistence and transformation under contemporary conditions. She has recently exhibited at the Memorial Museum “Territory of Terror,” Lviv; as well as at Gallery Voloshyn, Kyiv; Gallery Tiro al Blanco, Guadalajara (as part of the exhibition Transcending Boundaries, 2021); and Gallery BWA, Zielona Góra, where she was also an artist-in-residence in 2022. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Lysovenko fled Ukraine and is now based in Graz.

Acrylic on canvas

Watercolor on paper

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ʼ22