Andrei Prychodko, (variant spellings “Andrij” & “Andrii” Prychodko) born 1951 in Toronto, is a Swiss-Canadian artist of Ukrainian extraction.
He has exhibited in Toronto, Rome, Zürich, Paris, New York, Geneva, Art Basel, etc. and notably with Studio Paul Facchetti in Paris (with whom he began to exhibit through the introduction of Galerie Beyeler of Basel) as well as Galerie Nathan in Zurich.
His paintings have been called “archaic ciphers,”[i]“a language entirely their own”[ii] “enigmatic, facetious, [iii] “childlike, poetic and grotesque”[iv] and dubbed, “chromatic gesture colliding with Byzantine tradition.”[v]
The Encyclopedia of Ukraine documents Prychodko's unusual use of color, symbolist signs, unorthodox techniques and the paradox of spontaneity and control in his work. [vi]
In its strata of meaning, his art has been compared to the writing of Jorge Luis Borges [vii] and Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung speaks of “Western and Eastern elements inter-layering in time and space.” [viii] Toronto’s Globe and Mail evokes, “a relentless microscope turned on the artist- but by himself” [ix] while France’s l’Oeil speaks of “a joust of dramatic ideas with figurative means and between the artist and his own compositions.” [x] Die Weltwoche says that Prychodko, “stage- directs elaborate, enigmatic, facetious, mise-en scenes…”[xi]
Prychodko is the last artist discovered by Paul Facchetti, known for his role in discovering and bringing into the canon such then little known or unknown artists as Jackson Pollock, (first European show) Dubuffet, Fautrier, Sam Francis, Henri Michaux, Wols, Riopelle, Mathieu, Capogrossi, Hundertwasser et al.
Subsequently, Prychodko was represented by Peter Nathan of Galerie Nathan of Zürich, which had been instrumental in building the Oskar Reinhart and Bührle Museum collections. Besides purveying old and modern masters to museums, Peter Nathan had furthered Chaissac, Estève, Lapicque, Poliakoff and de Stäel. Peter Nathan wrote of Prychodko as among his eight most important exhibitors together with with Chaissac, Estève, Lapicque, Lobo, Meistermann, De Staël, and Felix Valloton. Prychodko exhibited there under the patronage of the Canadian ambassador.
Cumulatively, Paul Facchetti and Peter Nathan represented Prychodko on a permanent basis, especially by appointment only, from 1980 through 2007. His work was acquired by their collectors such as Seymour H. Knox II.
Previously, from 1976 to 1980, Prychodko had been represented by the gallerist Renata Avenali, at her Galleria Studio Erre in Rome, who represented modern and contemporary masters.
In 1993 Prychodko's art was chosen to spearhead the re-establishing of cultural relations via the visual arts between two nations: France and post-Soviet Ukraine, whose Minister of Culture, Ivan Dziuba, writing to France's Minister of Culture, Jacques Toubon, called Prychodko’s art, “…a contemporary bridge from the Ukrainian avant-garde of Malevich, Archipenko, Larionov, Sonia Delaunay-Terk et al." [xii]
The exhibition monograph of Prychodko’s work, published by Peter Nathan, is archived in the Louvre, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art & MoMA, New York, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Tate Gallery & Victoria and Albert Museum, London, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Detroit Institute of Art, USA, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Museum of Applied and Contemporary Art, Vienna, Peggy Guggenheim Archive, Venice etc.
Following senior matriculation, Prychodko worked in the newsroom, then as chief librarian/archivist [xiii] of the Toronto Telegram, Canada’s second largest newspaper, but soon left to study briefly at Toronto’s New School of Art. In Europe since 1971, Prychodko followed self-directed, non-curricular studies at l’ École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, where he was accepted in the highest category, as well as at the Accademia di Belle Arti and Scuola Libera del Nudo in Florence. By special permissions he copied master drawings at il Gabinetto Disegni of the Uffizi and studied anatomy at the Universities of Toronto and Paris VII.
Fluent in five languages, Prychodko has lived and painted on four continents- in Toronto, New York, Switzerland, Mexico, India, etc. and was based for 22 years in Paris. His studios were in the Hotel Chelsea, New York, in the former City Hall of San Cristobal las Casas, Mexico, on the ghats in Varanasi, India, in the Swiss Alps, etc. Referring to all this, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung sees his art as “issuing from limitless cultural/historical cross-references.” [xiv]
Andrei Prychodko is a recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto, the Academy of Fine Arts, Athens and the Greenshields Foundation, Montreal.
He currently lives with his wife, the artist Amanda Bayard, at Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
[i] Anonymous, “Archaic Ciphers” Zürich News, Wochenbulletin, 31 March, 1984, pp. 11
[ii] Billeter, Fritz, “Happy-Sad Spirits“ Fröhlich-Traurige Gespenster“ Prychodko at Galerie Facchetti Zürich, the Tages Anzeiger''', Zürich Switzerland, June 18, 1980 pp. 24
[iii] Bernimoulin, Gundel, the Tages Anzeiger, Switzerland, "die Innere Dimension der Dinge" (the Inner Dimension of Things) Tages Anzeiger, Zürich, 22 Nov 1982 pp24
[iv] Billeter, Fritz, Tages Anzeiger, Zürich,"Malerishce Gesten und abstrakte Zeichen" (Painterly Gestures and Abstract Signs) Prychodko in der Galerie Paul Facchettti, 10 April, 1984
[v] Tallarico, Luigi,"Andrij Prychodko, una Esplosione di Vitalità" (Andrij Prychodko, an Explosion of Vitality) Il Secolo d'Italia, Roma, Mercoledi 15 febbraio, 1978
[vi] Struk, Danylo Husar, Editor, Encyclopedia of Ukraine, University of Toronto Press Incorporated 1993, Toronto, Buffalo, London Volume IV pp. 257 & 258
[vii] Anonymous, “Archaic Ciphers” Zürich News, Wochenbulletin, 31 March, 1984, pp. 11.
[viii] Anonymous“ Prychodko, Galerie Nathan,“ Neue Zürcher Zeitung, March 12, 1987, pp42
[ix] Kritzweiser, Kay, “Creative Bridge Links Art and Poetry”, Prychodko at OISE Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Sat.May 4,1974 pp32
[x]Affentranger, Angelika, l’Oeil, Paris, no. 381 avril 1987, Galeries/Prychodko
[xi] Monteil, Annemarie, „Spiele auf vielerlei Ebenen“ (Playing on Multiple Levels) Prychodko in the Galerie Nathan, Zürich, die Weltwoche, Zürich, 19 März 1987 pp 69
[xii] Ministère de la Culture de France, le Ministre, lettre 160715- 24 juin 94 Міністерство Культурі Украйні Київ, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Kyiv, the Minister, letter 1-980/39, 10 09/93
[xiv] Anonymous“ Prychodko, Galerie Nathan,“ Neue Zürcher Zeitung, March 12, 1987, pp 42