Makarenko, Volodymyr

Image - Volodymyr Makarenko (1970s photo). Image - Volodymyr Makarenko: Annunciation (1972). Image - Volodymyr Makarenko: My Ukraine (1975). Image - Ukrainian nonconformist artists: Vitalii Sazonov, Feodosii Humeniuk, Volodymyr Makarenko, and Volodymyr Strelnikov (Moscow 1975).

Makarenko, Volodymyr (Makar) [Макаренко, Володимир (Макар)], b 26 July 1943 in Verkhivtseve, Verkhnodniprovsk raion, Dnipropetrovsk oblast. Painter and graphic artist. A graduate of the Dnipropetrovsk Art College (1963) and Leningrad Institute of Applied Art (1969), he was forced to leave Leningrad in 1973, and settled in Tallinn, Estonia. In 1975 he received first prize at the Biennale of Graphic Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and together with Feodosii Humeniuk organized the first Ukrainian nonconformist exhibition (see Nonconformist art), which was held in Moscow in a private apartment and featured also paintings by Volodymyr Strelnikov and Vitalii Sazonov. In 1976 his first one-man exhibition was held at the Galerie Hardy in Paris. Makarenko emigrated to the West in 1979 and settled in Paris. The subjects of most of his works are highly personal, as are his images and vocabulary, which often reflect his Ukrainian heritage and Ukrainian history and literature. His ‘mixed-media’ watercolors and oils reveal his childhood dreams (eg, Souvenir de ma mère, 1973), nostalgia for his homeland (Melancholy Evening in Kyiv, 1975), erotic fantasies (Symbole érotique, 1975), and interest in the metaphysical (the series ‘Buste métaphysique,’ 1974–5). Although Makarenko is not a narrative artist, some of his paintings are visual texts with multiple readings; his My Ukraine (1975), for example, makes a statement about the lack of freedom in his homeland. Makarenko also paints still lifes and figural compositions, often on religious themes, such as the Annunciation (La Rencontre, 1972), Palm Sunday (1978, 1983), and the Holy Trinity (1982). In works such as Three Dreams (1982) he has transformed the traditional composition of icons into a secular, symbolic statement that can be read as that of a woman or of Mother Ukraine. He has successfully synthesized several disparate sources, including Kazimir Malevich, Ukrainian icons, surrealism, and abstract art, into an unusual and unique vision. Since 1981 he has had numerous one-man exhibitions in France, Germany, Switzerland, and North America, including Toronto (1982, 1983, 1991) and Chicago (1983).

Daria Zelska-Darewych

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

Image - The first Ukrainian Nonconformist Art Exhibition (Moscow 1975). Image - Volodymyr Makarenko: Souvenir de Ma Mere (1973). Image - Volodymyr Makarenko: Self-portrait. Image - Volodymyr Makarenko: The Abduction of Europa.

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