Zalyvakha, Opanas. Zone (Zona), 1972. Painting.
Opanas Zalyvakha's "Zone" ("Zona") is a featured item of the permanent exhibition at the Sixtiers Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine. This painting depicts a crystalline labyrinthine construction, with figures passing in front and outside the enclosure, while others are only able to peer over the tops of volumetric poles, resembling wooden fences that surrounded hard labor camps in Siberia and also the pipes of an organ. Some of these figures blend more readily into the background, while others stand out. The narrow slats between the poles obscure the central figure, who seems to be peering out with eyes downcast and despondent demeanor and is, most probably, a prisoner in the zone. A flurry of figures moves around him in complete anonymity, without the least bit of contact. Art historian Myroslava Mudrak notes that the colors are on the bluish-gray side to underscore the effects of being closed in, and the orange of a setting sun also gives the sense of finality and denouement. The sharp verticality and harsh, repetitive linearity of its component forms gives the painting a sense of tactility—a kind of physicality to the experience of being cut off from everything.
Fellow dissident Mykhailo Horyn' considers the verticality of Zalyvakha's paintings to be an indicator of the latter's general philosophy. "There is almost no horizontality to his work...the vertical rays produce a rhythmic-energetic pulse... giving his canvasses a sense of higher meaning and purpose." Another fellow dissident, the literary critic Yevhen Sverstiuk, compares Zalyvakha's approach to that of the poet and political prisoner Vasyl Stus, who always sought "to dig deeper rather than wider." What Stus expressed semantically, Zalyvakha portrayed visually, "hands and forms outstretched, reaching toward the heavens to a higher power, the only force that could defend the individual against tyranny."
Kyiv Olesia Honchara Street 33, Ukraine
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- The Sixtiers Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine
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Author(s) of this page
- Kulick, Orysia Maria
Luk'ianenko, M. A. Pleiada Neskorenykh: Alla Horsʹka, Opanas Zalyvakha, Viktor Zaretsʹkyi, Halyna Sevruk, Liudmyla Semykina: Biobibliohrafichnyi Narys. Kyiv: Natsional'na Parlaments'ka Biblioteka Ukrainy, 2011, 20-25.
Mudrak, Myroslava. "Interview with Zalyvakha." Email, 2017.
Lodzynska, Olena O., interview by Kulick, Orysia Maria, March 23, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection