PAINTINGS May 4 – May 31, 2012
Portrait of a Young Man Smoking I Viktor Tsyganko 9.5”x14.5” Oil on Board
George Maciunas/Fluxus Foundation is pleased to sponsor an exhibition of Viktor Tsyganko’s recent paintings and works on paper in its newly renovated exhibition space at 454 West 19th St. Proceeds from the exhibition will go towards assisting the artist.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Viktor Tsyganko was educated in classical and modern techniques at the prestigious Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry in Russia. Tsyganko mysteriously appeared in SoHo in 1990 and has led a nomadic lifestyle on the streets and in various institutions in New York City. He was later offered residency and treated for schizophrenia by Art Pathways, an organization which uses creative recovery treatments to assist artists and writers who face homelessness.
Working in the Eastern European Avant-Garde tradition, Tsyganko’s artistic corpus displays elements derived from suprematism, cubism, art deco, constructivism, and German expressionism. His capacity for rendering emotional depth is witnessed in “Painting of Two Men” as Tsyganko’s textured brushstrokes animate the subject’s agitated gaze, rendering a psychological intensity to his introspective countenance. Referring to his uncanny savant-like virtuosity, his anonymous patron has stated “there is surprisingly no discernible iconographic evidence in any of the dozens of works that have been produced of the artist’s disruptive mental condition”.
In this intersection between creativity and psychopathology, Tsyganko’s condition resonates with philosopher Michel Foucault’s statement, “unreason, we must understand it not as reason diseased, or as reason lost or alienated, but quite simply as reason dazzled”. Literally and figuratively, his circumstances raise questions on the ‘artistic mind’ as well as broader issues on the place of the artist in contemporary culture. Most significantly, Tsyganko’s lifestyle reflects the problem of homelessness, which was estimated by United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2005 to be at one hundred million worldwide and two million in the United States alone.
The exhibition will be presented in conjunction with “An Assessment Report”, a new publication on George Maciunas’ prefabricated modular housing system known as Fluxhouse. As the “Father of SoHo”, Maciunas is credited with regentrifying SoHo from a post-industrial dystopia into a vibrant mecca for the arts. His Fluxhouse Cooperatives, which began in 1967 at 80-82 Wooster Street, was a communal system designed to provide affordable housing and promote the welfare of a collective of artists. Influenced by his research on the nomadic lifestyle of Siberian migrations, Maciunas’ progressive architectural theories and designs bear upon broader cultural issues related to social housing systems facing the world today. The exhibition, organized and produced by Harry Stendhal, opens May 4 and continues through May 31, 2012.