The art of Oleg Tistol

Oleg Tistol
"The art of Oleg Tistol (paintings, large-scale installations, photos, sculptures, and art objects) has always been in the center of the artistic process, what is illustrated by his regular participation in the international art events. Tistol's art, which emerged at the edge of the Soviet and post-Soviet epochs, combined both a critique of Soviet culture with re-evaluation of its clichés, as well as the vital, joyful, and playful atmosphere, which largely defined the appeal of the “Ukrainian new wave”. 

Combining in his works the national and soviet symbols, myths and utopias he discovered for himself the notion of simulacrum — a copy with no original. Such a paradoxical self-sustainability of propaganda as substitution for the non-existing items unexpectedly unites propaganda with pop-art. Tistol was primarily interested in its formal aesthetic aspects - stencil plates, color back-ups, smoothly painted surfaces."

In 1984, Oleg Tistol began to work on the project “Ukrainian Money”. The project was in progress until 2001 (at the beginning of the 1990s, Mykola Matsenko joined in). In this project, Tistol moved from small drawings and etchings to big panel paintings and large-scale installations. 

In Tistol's project money appears as a cultural and symbolic category, which not only marks the history of national independence (in 1918, the design for Ukrainian “karbovantsy” was developed by such famous artists as Heorhiy Narbut, Mikhail Boichuk, and Alexander Bogomazov), but also anticipates and reflects the main characteristic of contemporary Ukrainian reality. 

Combining in this project Ukrainian “historical brands”, such as the legendary Roxelana, Cossack horsemen, hetmans, and pseudo-baroque décor read through the Soviet aesthetics of stencil plates and clichés, the artist introduced the phantoms of national mythology into the explicitly of “marked spaces” of today’s market.

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