Beyon Abstract Expressionism
— During the past 11 years, artist Yury Kharchenko’s work has reflected on his Jewish identity, which influenced his youth in the final years of the Soviet Union as well as his upbringing and artistic education and life in Germany. In a time of increasing anti-Semitism and right- and left wing populism, Kharchenko’s recent artwork breaks new ground, making it clear that he will not retreat, that he will assert his existence vehemently and self-confidently.
Many of Kharchnko’s earlier paintings could be affiliated with Abstract Expressionism, such as his well-known series of houses. His newest work departs dramatically from this perspective, and finds him blending pop culture figures with fantasies of violence and tabooed references to the Holocaust.
In this new series, neither Batman nor Superman, nor any of the other superheroes that Kharchenko places at the gates of Auschwitz, free the prisoners nor stop the genocide. Uncle Scrooge did not, neither did Spiderman, nor silly Goofy, who usually always wins; the most pompous of all superheroes, Darkwing Duck, a parody of Batman, did not, nor, of course, Bugs Bunny, who Kharchenko depicts having sex with a female rabbit outside the Auschwitz gates.
Could the superheroes Kharchenko paints represent most people, who went about their normal daily lives while millions died in gas chambers? Could there be another Holocaust? And if so would the superheroes – anyone -- intervene this time?
Kharchenko is currently participating in the “Heart: 100 Artists. 1 Mission” project at the Hamburger Kunsthalle that began on October 20 and goes through November 8, 2020. The exhibition moves to the Berlinische Galerie from November 18-26, 2020. The “Heart, 100 Artists. 1 Mission” is a charity event raising money for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in their effort to help refugees worldwide. A list of participating artists is available at https://www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/en/heart-100-artist-1-mission.
Kharchenko will also participate in a 2021 exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Cologne, with a panel discussion to take place at the Praetorium. This site – part of an ongoing archaeological excavation -- was the former residence of the Imperial Governor of Cologne back when the city was capital of the Roman province of Lower Germania.
Learn more about Yury Kharchenko’s art at https://yury-kharchenko.com
The Carl Kruse Blog on Art has featured Kharchenko at https://carlkruse.net
Release ID: 88984964