Press Excerpts and Critical Analysis
…A whole new immaterial domain of the mind…a new unreeling of the real...
Paul Facchetti, Paris
…Landscapes of the soul constructed out of a dream, rescued and brought ashore into the visible world where they work on us like the phrases of a sonata, or in large format, like symphonies…
Peter Nathan, Galerie Nathan, Zürich
…Salvaging objects, in his reliefs, Prychodko gives them a new destiny, a new role that goes beyond the original life for which they were created…
Leo Castelli, New York
…Prychodko’s work constitutes a unique contemporary bridge from the avant-garde of the
beginning of the century when such Ukrainian artists as Malevich, Archipenko and Sonia Delaunay-Terk were active in Ukraine…
Yvan Dziouba, Minister of Culture of Ukraine
…I am asking my services as well as those of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to study the co-production between a French museum and the State Museum in Kiev of an exhibition of the work of Andrei Prychodko…
Jacques Toubon, Minister of Culture of France
…Spontaneous and controlled calligraphic signs and symbols with geometric forms…unusual combinations of calm and intense hues…
Encyclopedia of Ukraine
…One is reminded of Jorge Luis Borges’ stories in which the seemingly obvious clearly takes on multiple meanings…roadmaps of the unconscious…
Franz Mark, Zürich News
…Prychodko stage directs these elaborate,
enigmatic, here and there facetious yet invariably very aesthetic mise-en-scenes …
Annemarie Monteil, Die Weltwoche, Zürich
…Visages and lost alphabets submit to lapidary signs…Western and Eastern influences archaized into layerings of time and space…
Neue Ziircher Zeitung, Zürich
…This highly talented artist…simultaneously childlike, poetic, and extravagant…powerful pictorial tension…incredible power of invention…works of disquieting beauty…
Fritz Billeter, the Tages Anzeiger, Zürich
…Prychodko’s pictures are defined by the phenomena of paradox…they escape any verbal grasp and thereby involve us in perpetual questioning…
…Fascinating…bluntly courageous painting…a visual language entirely his own…admirable pictorial intelligence and instinct…paintings which are complete, rewarding, serene…
Cesare Vivaldi, Rome
…Byzantine tradition collides with chromatic gesture…outstanding chromatic sense…radical inventiveness…
Luigi Talarico, Rome
…Very significant potential…drawing, fantasy and color are strong and confident…portraiture of distinction…
Kay Kritzweiser, Toronto Globe and Mail
…The spirit of the icon, but an icon in the modern sense, inscribed in our time…like theaters themselves put on stage…human geologies reiterating faces in the firmament…
Sylvio Acatos, Lausanne
Peter Nathan, fourth generation head of Galerie Nathan of Zurich, which built up the Oskar Rheinhardt and Buhrle Museums and whose house has sold masters to major museums worldwide, was instrumental in establishing the artists de Stael, Poliakoff, Esteve, Chaissac, & Lapicque. He wrote of Prychodko's art:
We are magnetically drawn to the work of Prychodko who for his part should now confirm himself among recognized masters. On repeated viewing our conviction is intensified that Prychodko is an artist who we are showing not only with pleasure but with confidence…
Contrast and contradiction are of the essence of his art. Large unequivocal motifs are set on a detailed, multi-layered and mysterious background, which can just as easily become the foreground as every element can break through to play a central role in Prychodko’s paintings.
Landscapes of the soul constructed out of a dream are rescued and brought ashore in the visible world where they work on us like the phrases of a sonata or, in large format, like symphonies. We have the impression that these pictures echo sometimes softly, sometimes forcefully, and are to be seen as a mirror image of that which is conceived in us when as in a dream with open eyes and ears we absorb a world into our being.
Ancient tales whose words have become lost, are captured like huge pieces of jewelry. Symbols, faces, dwellings, streams and rivers, bird’s eye views set on a golden backdrop seem to surface. While traditional painting orientates to the formal construction of space, those of Prychodko draw their sustenance from the depths of time.
Our life is contradictory. Often we find ourselves as if placed on a stage on which we must play our role, guided by strings. Time and space are barely defined. Like fish traversing the endless ocean, we search for our home. Such are the notions that Prychodko conjures into paintings.(1)
Paul Facchetti, art dealer known as a monument to French culture for his influence on post war art history, wrote of his love for Prychodko’s work:
Prychodko paints like a tormented being. His painting lets us discover very pure drawing coupled with symbolic signs in poetic rhythms.
This is a whole new immaterial domain of the mind. Prychodko paints ideas, translating his very strong internal pulsations, he invents a language, a writing proper to his inner keyboard. The gesture of his hand governed by this secret keyboard forms abstractions on the canvas: mirages or realities which dissolve into the rarest of colors- the most calm, the most tense…
I love his work. A painter is being born. (2)
Encyclopedia of Ukraine
Entry on Prychodko in The Encyclopedia of Ukraine:
Prychodko, Andrei [Pryxod’ko, Andrij], b. 18 July in Toronto. Painter. He has lived and worked in France and Switzerland since 1971. Prychodko has exhibited in Canada, Italy, Switzerland and France. He combines calligraphic signs and symbols with geometric forms in a flattened space (eg, Tower, 1982). Since 1983 he has painted on canvas, using acrylics, tempera and pastels. He is a sensitive colorist who uses unusual combinations of calm and intense hues and spontaneous and controlled brush strokes (Horse Trading).
A color reproduction of Prychodko’s painting accompanies the text: (Window, mixed media on linen).(3)
Ivan Dziouba, Minister of Culture of Ukraine
Ivan Dziouba, Minister of Culture of Ukraine, writing re Andrei Prychodko to Jacques Toubon, Minister of Culture of France, October 1993:
Today, as our nation begins its third year of independence, we feel the necessity to renew our cultural identity both in relation to ourselves and to the world.
Unfortunately, for nearly three centuries, Ukraine was deprived of her independence and in the eyes of the world considered to be “Russia”. For example, such Ukrainian protagonists of twentieth century world art as Malevitch, Archipenko, Tatlin, Larionov, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Alexandra Exter, are erroneously still referred to as “Russian.”
These avant-garde artists had close ties to Western Europe and represent the last époque of free creativity in our country. This creative surge, together with cultural bonds to the West, was destroyed by the Bolshevik regime.
For us, it is now important to awake continuity with this former period of creativity and to re-establish cultural ties with the West. It is in this perspective that our State Museum of fine Art of Ukraine in Kiev, one of our most prestigious museums, is preparing an exhibition of the work of the Swiss- Canadian artist Andrei Prychodko. He has exhibited with Paul Facchetti in Paris and with Peter Nathan in Zurich.
We believe that the work of Prychodko is a unique, contemporary bridge from the Ukrainian avant-garde of the early 20th century to today. Further, it issues from the type of cultural intercourse that we seek to redevelop between Ukraine and the West. Consequently, we look forward to realizing this exhibition in partnership with western museums and galleries, notably in France or Switzerland.
Such a step among our countries would be important for the culture of Ukraine and I would be most gratified by your active support of our proposal.
Ivan Dziouba (4)
Jacques Toubon, Minister of Culture of France
Letter of the Minister of Culture of France, Jacques Toubon, answering the Minister of Culture of Ukraine, Ivan Dziouba, in reference to Andrei Prychodko, June 1994.
It was a very great pleasure for me to receive your letter and to take the measure of the efforts you are making to bring about the rebirth of a rich and brilliant cultural life in Ukraine.
It is my profound belief that the preservation of creation and culture are indispensable for nations to preserve their identity and the richness of a world which must never be submitted to a homogenization from below.
Indeed, the first gesture that you propose to me seems to me to be entirely judicious. I am asking my services and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study the possibility of realizing, in co-production with a French museum and the museum of Kiev, an exhibition of the work of Mr. Andrei Prychodko, who has been received in my cabinet.
I ask you to receive, esteemed sir, the expression of my best sentiments.
Jacques Toubon (5)
The Tages-Anzeiger, Fritz Billeter
In the case of the painter Prychodko- until July 4th at the Gallery Paul Facchetti- one soon discovers a far-reaching correspondence between the painter and his work. Prychodko descends from Ukrainian parents who, however lived in Canada where he was born in 1951. Since 1978 he lives in retreat above Sierre in Valais, Switzerland. He travels much however, with stays in Mexico and India for example. “I have digested many cultural influences,” he told me in French but we understood each other also in German, English and Italian.
The pictures, mostly gouache, sometimes tempera on Tibetan paper, resemble the character of the painter in that they are on the one hand perplexing and many-layered yet on the other hand of a direct, archetypal, better yet, heraldic simplicity and conciseness. Sometimes they are both at the same time: simple and perplexing. This can partially be explained in that the painter sometimes works over a period of years on a picture, superimposing image over image- somewhat similar to the Ukrainian “Matryoshka” wooden doll, in which another and yet another doll is enclosed.
However, each complicated picture of Prychodko’s eventually presents a threshold through which one can enter it: Here one perceives by chance, highly stylized as on a playing card or like a totem animal, a green fish, a red bird, a yellow snake, a leaf structure related to spades on a playing card. There one recognizes a remarkable human ornament: many-headed, many-legged, wherein these body parts are connected to a binding, horizontal beam- the shorthand symbol for a collective.
But having grasped this much, one has not yet reached the main stratum of the picture. A central motif could be so –described: on top of a house, a ship in turn carrying a house. From the upper house arms are waving. They wave a ball-shaped tree. This functions in a way that is simultaneously childlike, poetic and grotesque.
Prychodko likes to occupy the main zone of the picture with a human figure or whole group. Presented on a frontal plane they are barbaric, good-natured beings that fruitlessly strive to scare us.
Prychodko uses strong colors: much brick red, yolk yellow, gray-green. They taste of earth. If one wanted to say that his structures and beings came from Dubuffet’s Art Brut or from the “CoBrA” group, one would hardly touch the truth. Prychodko is refreshingly himself. (6)
Die Weltwoche, Annemarie Monteil
"Playing On Multiple Levels"
Prychodko in the Gallery Nathan, Zurich
The announcement arouses curiosity. The preeminent art dealer Peter Nathan writes that after twenty years of an almost unchanging gallery program (of Classic Moderns, Art Brut and Old Masters) for him the moment for a new venture has come, to show the 35 year-old painter Andrei Prychodko. The 25 paintings show an interwoven play on cultural heritage and his own origins.
Prychodko was born of Ukrainian parents in Canada. There were few paintings there at the time he says, so his childhood memory of the icons in the Orthodox church became all the more indelible for him. He has absorbed art history and traveled the world. His studio is in Paris and his handmade paper from Tibet.
Prychodko’s paintings are as multi-layered as impressions from all over the world. Amongst ornamental far-Eastern patterns, figures, masks, dark runes appear as lapidary signs and emblems. Birdhouses for doves can also be burial places for urns; the title, “Columbarium” pointedly carries a double meaning.
The painting processes are just as multi-layered, using refined mixed media in always new stratifications and erasures. In this way batik-like grounds and tachist zones appear and suddenly there is gold leaf and an elegant élan of lines, almost like those of a fashion designer. Romantic blue can be partnered with jazzy green.
Our illustration is titled, “High Performance.” Prychodko says that while painting he thought of someone balancing on a tightrope. Indeed, in many of his pictures there are festal backdrops and role playing open to multiple interpretations. And the painter becomes the stage director of these elaborate, enigmatic, in some places facetious, yet invariably highly aesthetic mise-en-scenes. (7) no. 12 pp 69 Zurich
The Tages Anzeiger, Gundel Bernimoulin
"The Inner Dimensions of Things"
Prychodko’s pictures impressed me above all on this tour. With luminous colors on rice paper applied in short brushstrokes, he creates a picture foundation of almost ornamental effect, which is then painted over again and again. With incredible power of invention Prychodko traces symbols on this foundation: the house, the animal, the flowing stream, stylized faces (related to those of Soutter), bodies, and innumerable gender symbols all of which in a kind of intoxication he deforms, condenses, weaves over and into one another generating great picture tension. These are works of a disquieting beauty. (8)
Tages-Anzeiger, Fritz Billeter
"Gestures and Abstract Signs, Prychodko at Galerie Facchetti, Zurich"
Two years ago 32-year old Prychodko was involved in strong, vehement painting, which one could have placed in the vicinity of art brut or abstract expressionism (Cobra Group). In the meantime he has put the brakes to gestural action. Now he sorts, assembles and interlaces semi-abstract forms. His cultural heritage alone makes Prychodko a world citizen. One could designate him as a Ukrainian Canadian but he has spent his adult life in various European and Asian cultures. At present he shuttles between a village in Valais, Switzerland and Paris. In his work too, the most diverse cultures, times and degrees of consciousness flow together: joie de vivre, folk designs and oriental splendor that in some cases are woven into a carpet-like décor, Norman or heraldic zoological ornaments, calligraphic patterns resembling medieval (especially Irish) illuminations, oriental garlands of clouds, also architectural motives such as towers arches and arcades that Prychodko gets from his valaisian surroundings. These abundant, indeed overabundant gestalts are brought into being with a correspondingly demanding and elaborated technique. Among other things, Prychodko uses egg tempera and dry pastels, also combining these with glue and sand. Here and there, gold leaf provides an accent. A kind of fresco effect is achieved or a subtle relief formation of the paint layer. Now all this sounds as if the artist amalgamates everything with everything without limit creating a tangle of interchangeable images. However, this is not the case. That this highly talented painter is selective after all, that that he brings his pictures into tune, will be seen by anyone who decides to visit Gallery Paul Facchetti (until April 28th). (9)
Prychodko (born in Canada in 1951) is showing at Gallery Paul Facchetti, until May 5th, works that are hieroglyphic, symbolic, full of joy and colors deafeningly alive. This work participates in the spirit of the icon, but an icon in the modern sense, inscribed in our times: the universal can be found within us, with his points of humor, his tender brutalities, his defeated joys, his fertile and illusory exaltations.
A superb exhibition not to be missed. (10) Construire no. 17
The Italian novelist and art critic Cesare Vivaldi, introduced Prychodko’s second show
at Renata Peschiera’s gallery “Studio Erre” in Rome:
A most interesting painter the young Andrei Prychodko, Canadian of Russian [Ukrainian] origin but largely of European cultural formation, who Studio Erre is now presenting for the second time to the Roman public. Interesting for his frankly courageous attitude towards painting (his peers seem to be afraid, regarding it as an arduous occupation and as being out of fashion, not very worthwhile).
Interesting especially for his refined qualities of a refined and sumptuous colorist, of a fantasist-fabulist. Prychodko plays with his cards exposed (as is to be expected of a painter aged only twenty-five). He does not hide what he has learned and absorbed from the Cobra group. But at the same time he appears very decisive in bending known styles and visual paradigms into a language entirely his own and turning them into a personal discourse- a discourse which is not yet, logically, completely matured, but whose suppositions are cast forth cohesively and securely.
The breaking point at which Prychodko is emerging from the Cobra cocoon is his conscious revival of Byzantine and more generally, oriental traditions- he revindicates his Ukrainian origins by signing his works also in Cyrillic characters- n this way the gesture and chromatic violence of Cobra modulate: arabesques and marquetries of gems on gilded backgrounds synthesize in an emotive revelry. Prychodko avoids with admirable instinct (but also with a demonstration of acute pictorial intelligence) the danger of decoritivism and he also avoids it by calling forth his abilities as a vivacious narrator and fabulist. From these he derives painting which is free and fantastic, expansive yet intense, rich with acuteness and inventive witticisms, of chromatic finesse, of joyful erudite citations; painting which is complete, rewarding, serene. (11)
Toronto Globe & Mail, Kay Kritzweiser
"Creative Bridge links Art and Poetry"
At the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto, an exhibition by Andrei Prychodko is rather like a relentless microscope turned on a young artist- but by himself. Born in Toronto in 1951 he has had unusual training in classical art in Paris and Florence as well as exposure to the important masterpieces in Europe.
For this show he has chosen works to illustrate his developmental period under the label, “Innocence, Discipline, Synthesis: Les Preludes.”
How accurately it is possible to judge an artist by his drawings of only the best anatomy studies in the world- the massive figures of Michelangelo, is a moot point, but Prychodko does understand the modeling of bone and muscle.
His portraiture has distinction, particularly in studies of his mother and father, and several of himself.
Where the test lies is in his surrealistic paintings. Here drawing, fantasy and color are strong and confident, and are clues to his very significant potential. (12)
(1) Nathan, Peter, Galerie Nathan''', Zürich, <ref> Nathan, Peter, exhibition Catalog, "Prychodko" Galerie Nathan, 1987 ISBN 3-906133-01-X pp. 6
(2)Facchetti, Paul, Paris, text by Paul Facchetti, Galerie Paul Facchetti, Zürich, exhibition flyer juni 4- juli 4, 1982,
(3)Struk, Danylo Husar, Editor, Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Vol IV <ref>, Encyclopedia of Ukraine, University of Toronto Press Incorporated 1993, Toronto, Buffalo, London ISBN 0-8020-3994-4, Volume IV pp. 257 & 258
(4) Dziuba, Yvan, Minister of Culture of Ukraine, Міністерство Культури Украйни, Київ, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Kyiv, the Minister, letter no. 1-980/39, sept. 10, 1993
(5)Toubon, Jacques, Minister of Culture of France, Ministère de la Culture de France, le Ministre, letter no. 160715, 24 juin 94
(6)Billeter, Fritz, “Happy-Sad Spirits“ Fröhlich-Traurige Gespenster“ Prychodko at Galerie Facchetti Zürich, the Tages Anzeiger''', Zürich Switzerland, June 18, 1980 pp. 24
(7)Monteil, Annemarie, „Spiele auf vielerlei Ebenen“ (Playing on Multiple Levels) Prychodko in the Galerie Nathan, Zürich, die Weltwoche, Zürich, 19 März 1987 pp 69
(8)Bernimoulin, Gundel, the Tages Anzeiger, Switzerland, "die Innere Dimension der Dinge" (the Inner Dimension of Things) Tages Anzeiger, Zürich, 22 Nov 1982 pp24
(9)Billeter, Fritz, Tages Anzeiger, Zürich,"Malerishce Gesten und abstrakte Zeichen" (Painterly Gestures and Abstract Signs) Prychodko in der Galerie Paul Facchettti, Dienstag 10 April, 1984
(10) Acatos, Sylvio, Construire, Construire Culturel, Lausanne, Switzerland no. 17, 1 avril, 1987
(11) Vivaldi, Cesare “Una Pittura Completa, Appagata, Serena" exhibition text Gallery Studio Erre (di Renata Peschiera) Rome, Feb. 9, 1978
(12) Kritzweiser, Kay, “Creative Bridge Links Art and Poetry”, Prychodko at OISE Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, the The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Sat. May 4, 1974 pp32