Ivan Marchuk

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Ivan Stepanovych Marchuk (Ukrainian: Іван Степанович Марчук) (born May 12, 1936 in Moskalivka, Lanivtsi Raion, Ternopil Oblast) is a contemporary Ukrainian painter. Ivan Marchuk was born in a family of a weaver. He studied applied art in Lviv till 1965. Later he worked in Kyiv.

Ivan Marchuk
Марчук Іван.jpg
Ivan Stepanovych Marchuk

May 12, 1936
Village of Moskalivka, Ternopil Region
NationalityUkraine Ukrainian
EducationLviv Institute of Applied Art
Known forPainting

Life and Art[edit]

In 1965 he uncovered his personal style in art, which did not fit into the patterns of socialist realism. For this he suffered harassment and persecution on the part of the KGB authorities. The Union of artists did not officially recognize the works of Ivan Marchuk up until 1988, although he already had more than 15 expositions in various cities of the former USSR (the first exhibitions took place 1979 and 1980 in Moscow)[1]

In 1979 his works were presented at the first exhibition of Ukrainian artists-non-conformists, organized by young representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in Paris (France), Munich (Germany), New York (USA), London (Great Britain), where Ivan Marchuk’s peculiar style of paintings took attention of Roland Penrose[2], an authoritative art critic and personal biographer of Pablo Picasso.

It was only in 1988 that Ivan Marchuk was accepted into the Union of Artists of Ukraine. In 1989 he left USSR and lived in the United States, Canada and Australia. After the September 11, 2001 attacks which he saw, Marchuk returned to Kiev. Not having been valued in the Soviet Union. He is the only Ukrainian artist recognized by International Academy of Modern Art in Rome as the member of the Golden Guild. Launched in the mid-1960s, the way of expressing personal attitude towards the universe was embodied in the polystylistic and polythematic cyclus The Voice of My Soul, through Ivan Marchuk's work, which varies with new stem-branch cycluses throughout the creative path of the artist. Based on style, technique of execution, colorful solutions, themes, the paintings are systematized by the following cycluses: The Voice of My Soul, Landscape, Flourishing, Colorful Preludes, Portrait, New Expressions, Still Life, White Planet I, White Planet II, Dreams come out from the shores, View into Infinity. The completed series in the Voice of My Soul cyclus is Shevchenkiana consisting of 42 paintings (1982-1984), which was awarded the National Prize of Ukraine named after Taras Shevchenko (1997). The artist's legacy currently is around 5000 creations. He has conducted over 150 personal and about 50 collective exhibitions.

Ivan Marchuk is the founder of new styles in Art, in particular Plyontanism (the artist jokingly named his style from the national word weave: the paintings seemed to be created from the snarls of odd thread). The author's technique for the transmission of the image is plyontanism (from the dialectic weave—to weave, to strap, to intertwine): the application of the paint by thin colored lines, their interweaving at different angles, which gives the effect of volume and glow. Such an image, balancing on the verge of man-made and technological, due to the complexity of filigree execution and labor intensity, practically cannot be repeated. For the first time he applied this technique in the landscape (1972). Subsequently, the term plyontanism gained the value of the author's creative method—an original system of world perception and its transmission onto the canvas, which is characterized by an asymmetry of rhythmic contractions in color and strokes (smears), metaphorical and symbolism, deformation of images, which achieves the effect of intense culmination of static images; focusing around the theme of existence, the context of human being, his/her place in the world and the issues of self-actualization.

The range of trends in fine art that has been experienced through the prism of a distinctive ideological system and being extrapolated onto the canvas, is phenomenally wide: from primitivism (with precise archetype signs) to realism, hyper-realism of abstractionism, abstract expressionism, surrealism and abstract surrealism. By maneuvering in proportions, rhythm, color, Ivan Marchuk creates on the subconscious and affects the subconsciousness.

Today, his paintings are making an impression on art historians/critics in Europe, America, Australia, for which they are offering to exhibit in the primary halls and all this is in contrast to past persecution and harassment in Ukraine. Ivan Marchuk's paintings are preserved in many collections in different countries of the world.

Ivan Marchuk about art:

For me, art is life and revelation. There is no other alternative. At the same time, art is a servitude. I work 365 days a year and cannot be without it. This is a verdict of fate, karma, sentence, doom. And you will not escape. I dream of getting sunshine on the beach, lie down in the grass and listen to how it grows, I want to watch the clouds floating in the sky, I want to rejoice, have fun, communicate in the company, I would not refuse to go to school to teach someone something there. And then I think: but I also want to do something myself. Invincible thought!


The artist divides his work into 12 periods:

  • The Voice of My Soul
  • Flourishing
  • Landscapes
  • Portrait
  • Colorful Preludes
  • Shevchenkiana
  • Still Life
  • New Expressions
  • White Planet 1
  • White Planet 2
  • Dreams Come Out From the Shores
  • A Glance into the Infinity

The works of each period differ in style and manner of painting. Instead of a regular smear, he invented a method of drawing on the canvas the finest threads of color that creates a wonderful lace that achieves incredible glow and shades of color.

Exhibition activity[edit]

The artist's current legacy consists of more than 150 personal and 50 collective exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad (in particular, 1990—National Art Museum, Kyiv; 1999—Municipal Gallery of Lille, France; 2005—Ukrainian House, Kyiv; 2006—National Museum of Russian Art, Kyiv; 2011—Shevchenko National Museum, Kyiv; 2013—Radziwill Palace (Lithuanian Art Museum), Lithuania; 2013—Ruzjychka Gallery, Munich and, Charlottenburg Art Gallery, Berlin, Germany; 2015—Gallery of Cordégarda, Warsaw and Centrum Gallery, Krakow, Poland; 2016—National Culture and Art Museum Complex Mystetskyi Arsenal; National musem named after Andrei Sheptytskyi, Lviv; 2016—European Parliament; 2017—Belgium, Belfort Gallery, Bruges and the Flemish Parliament Gallery, Brussels; 2017—Gallery Grad, Bratislava and the Technological Museum in Kosice, Slovak republic; 2017—Museum of Contemporary Art named after Mustafa Ayyaz in Ankara, gallery CerModern in Ankara and the Archaeological Museum in Antalya, Turkey; 2017—Jakubska Gallery in Prague and Palaceof nobles in Brno, Czech Republic; 2017—M17 gallery in Kyiv; 2017—Gallery of the Munster Club in Luxembourg; 2017—Center for Contemporary Art and Culture (WASS) in Bangkok; Queen's Gallery, Thailand; 2017—Gallery of Ukrainian Self-Government of Hungary in Budapest, Hungary; 2017—Gallery in Carthage, Tunisia; 2018—Folkart gallery in Izmir, Turkey; 2018—Queen's Gallery in Amman, Jordan; 2018—Art Space of TsUM in Kyiv; 2018—gallery Dvorana in Bratislava, Slovak republic; 2018—Vyshnyvetskyi Palace in Ternopil region; 2018—Center Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünst, Luxembourg; 2019—Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, etc.).



  • "Virtual Dreams of Ivan Marchuk". Welcome to Ukraine, 4, 1999.
  • Ivan Marchuk: Album-catalogue. — Kyiv: CJSC Atlant UMS, 2004. — 519 p. — ISBN 966-95919-7-X. (in Ukrainian) (in English)
  • Ivan Marchuk. Creative period 1965–2005: [Album]. — [Kyiv: CJSC Atlant UMS, 2005]. — 28 p. (in Ukrainian) (in English)
  • Іван Марчук. Дорога додому: Альбом. — К.: ТОВ «Атлант ЮЕмСі», 2008. — [135] с. — ISBN 978-966-8968-22-8. (in Ukrainian) (in English)

External links[edit]