Аrtistic practice of Oleg Holosiy and his contemporaries is generally referred to as the outset of the history of Ukrainian contemporary art. He is the key figure of the 1980—90s «New Wave» Ukrainian painting and one of the most interesting local artists. However, today there are barely any paintings by Holosiy on display in Ukrainian museum collections.
From May 2019 onwards The Naked Room took over the artistic heritage of Oleg Holosiy. Oleg Holosiy Artist Estate is founded together with the artist’s brother and heir, Denys Holosiy. The institution aims at research and conservation of the works and archival materials from the family collection, systematization of his curriculum vitae, dissemination of knowledge about his practice among various audiences, support for academic research and, finally, publication of the catalogue raisonné. Over and above—securing his work in public institutions’ collections, both Ukrainian and international.
The exhibition presented an archive of selected drawings, sketches, notes, graphic sheets with verses and collages, honorable mentions, documents, and press clippings. This invaluable set of materials reveals how his methods, subjects, and styles were developing. The display of key paintings was dynamic—every week the central wall of the space was successively occupied by a different canvas, each specific for a certain period or subject in his oeuvre.
Holosiy was the painter of his time. By saying this, we do not only refer to the turbulent 1990s when the artist would paint several huge canvases overnight, each of those being significant to his practice. Over 300 (or even around 400 according to other calculations) paintings were created by Holosiy during his blink-of-an-eye short but bright life that tragically ended at the age of 27. Today we often hear from the artists of our generation that Holosiy’s paintings give them energy and guide them artistically. His works boast uncanny imagery, complex and mysterious.
Yet they clear up lots of things. In other words his practice is a key to a more nuanced understanding of Ukrainian art from the 1980s on. It is often stigmatized for being too painting-centric. However, this stigma could become merit when speaking of «Ukrainian painting», the international professional community, and larger audiences thought of Holosiy’s works.