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The present exhibition showcases the artworks of the young Ukrainian artist Oleksandra Sysa (born in 1989), who follows in the footsteps of the master printmakers of Lviv, the city she lives in. It is the first time that all the pieces from the “Gardens” series are put together and exhibited. The series comprises of 28 etchings, created between 2015 and 2017.

Regarding her own view on creating the “Gardens” series, Oleksandra Sysa reveals the following, implicitly launching an invitation: This series was created over a period of several years and it simply represents my thoughts about how and where we live, whom we get to meet, and how it all works for us. I believe that graphics can enter our minds and establish connections with our own experiences. In that sense, I prefer to leave all interpretations to the audience, because that’s how it works – only together can we create meaning for something. Moreover, art must also be a little uncomfortable, so that it pushes us to seek and find answers, to go beyond just been satisfied with mundane things and search for something deeper. With this short message, I invite you to take a stroll through or – better yet – go on a short journey in my garden.

Besides the mentioned series, the exhibition also showcases other prints (which, evidently, are part of the same artistic universe, and in which the floral element is not missing either). These vary from linocut to lithography pieces to etchings. Hints on their meanings are offered by their titles. We can observe a quixotic universe – somewhere between magic and absurd, for instance in “Meeting with the Tiger”, where the “feline” that is challenged to a duel by the hero is a in fact a flower. In “The Harvest” (reference is made to “The Harvesters” by Bruegel, this artwork being a reinterpretation of said painting), the harvester does not reap a bunch of hay, but a line of chairs. In the “Gardens” series, as well as outside of it, we find the motif of the chair (chairs) waiting to be taken, foretelling a meeting that will not take place (anymore). The print that bears that same title is representative in that sense (“Meeting Place”). In the linocut prints “The Fever” and “Decomposition”, the flowers stemming from the bodies of the characters bear the look and symbolism of vital organs (at the same time, expressing a sanguine symbolism).

In Oleksandra Sysa’s world of miraculous traits, there is a real force of imagination and a remarkable technique of printmaking that we, the beholders, are given the opportunity to encounter and admire.

Rada Niță