Yuri Lysenko. 

Fleeing from a broken world.

by María Paz Amaro

"In my paintings I want to convey the obverse of war and suffering, to offer the observer at least a moment of relief from fear and despair, to enable them to feel alive, and to perceive the breath of life pulsating in the world around them."

The collection of Yuri Lysenko's artwork crosses both symbolic and literal boundaries.  I am referring here to a life in constant flux as a consequence of his very particular circumstances. Lysenko was born in the former Soviet Union, in the Republic of Ukraine. He had a grandfather who served in the Red Army as a captain at the time of the Second World War, and he witnessed the falls of walls and regimes firsthand.

He was drafted into the army in circumstances common to many Soviet youths at that time; he was also a member of the Blue Helmets and the French Foreign Legion. During this period, he witnessed the military actions in the former Yugoslavia, the siege of Sarajevo, and the conflicts in Kosovo, events that, from his childhood, made him turn to his growing talent for drawing and painting as a form of personal escape.

According to the artist himself, his pictures describe the impact of the earlier twists of fate in his life and the cultural contrast after having lived in several different countries. Regardless of the technique chosen, what is most important to him is the strength that comes from the ability to convey a plethora of emotions by means of lines and brushstrokes. Although he began his own journey in figurative painting, we can discern the artist’s own personal process in his work (which is comparable to what has touched artists of the stature of Gerhard Richter) when he abandons the artifice of a copied reality in order to approach the inner world of forms.

A painter in constant development, his subject matter went beyond social realism when he trained with Serge Ostroverhy and received special mentions in the Paul Louis Weiller International Portrait Competition (Beaux-Arts, Paris 2001). He was later profoundly impacted by post-war abstract painters such as Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, and Franz Klein, whom he met during the expressionist painting workshop "In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting" given by MoMA in 2017, in which he also received a mention and subsequent exhibition in the museum in 2018.

In the works of this new abstract stage, it is possible to feel echoes of the urgent need to evoke a new world in the chromaticism of Henri Matisse, as well as the freshness that defies Euclidean geometry in the canvasses of Wassily Kandinsky or Joan Miró. The synesthesia that drives Lysenko's artistic career aims to wrest the spectator from objective reality in order to enable the transit towards an internal and emotive experience, which only appeals to the real world insofar as it puts this mental transit in suspense.

Those who encounter his work sense both a material process and an awareness that becomes vibrant life energy. Indeed, the paintings of the artist in question create immediate connections with the very elements that make us the human beings we are, regardless of our own individual stories and backgrounds.


Yuri Lysenko

Beyond the lines, 2017

Mixed media on Canvas

150 x 80 cm


Yuri Lysenko
Candynight, 2017

Acrylic on Cardboard

100 x 150 cm


Yuri Lysenko

Fever #1 (Febrem #1), 2017

Oil, Charcoal on Cardboard

102 x 82 cm