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The images of a new generation- the figurative paintings of Kateryna Bortsova

Introducing one of our featured artist for Volume II - Kateryna Bortsova. With a background in painting and graphic art, Kateryna holds both a BFA and an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow. Her exceptional talent has been recognized in numerous international exhibitions held in countries like Taiwan, Berlin, Munich, Spain, Italy, and the USA.

Joana Alarcão
23/02/23

As a painter and graphic artist, Kateryna Bortsova holds a BFA as well as an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow. She has been included in many international exhibitions in Taiwan, Berlin, Munich, Spain, Italy, and the USA.

Furthermore, she won a silver medal in the category of "realism" at the Factory of Visual Art, New York, USA, as well as the 2015 Emirates Skywards Art of Travel competition, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Could you tell us a little more about your background and how did you begin making art?

In 2007 I graduated from Kharkov State Academy of Design and Fine Arts and got the diploma of bachelor in the field of graphic arts. And after that, I got the diploma of master's degree in the field of fine arts at Kharkov National Pedagogical University. Now I am studying a postgraduate course at Kharkov State Academy of Design and Fine Arts. 

I often call myself “a student forever” pour rire, because I started to study professionally by entering Kharkov State Art School in 1993. It has been going on for more than 20 years. After Kharkov State Art School I studied at Kharkov State Art College, then at Kharkov State Academy of Design and Fine Arts and so on. And I am still studying now at a post-graduate course at Kharkov State Academy of Design and Fine Arts.


The statement that humans shall study and develop themselves for their whole life impresses me very much. I consider that a talented person is obliged to find out something new throughout their life, to reach new tops. If it ceases to develop oneself it will have nothing more to say to the audience by means of its works. At the present moment, I am expanding my conception of the theoretical aspect of art and therefore I harmonize all the aspects of the talented person of mine.

Another aspect of this issue is a conception and understanding of academic education, a need therein. I have already stated that anyone may learn some technical skills. But you should also understand the way of application thereof. All the great artists got academic education. Any Avant-garde, non-figurative work of art is based on academic practice, for example, Pablo Picasso’s works.


Of course in the process of my education both at Kharkov State Art College and at Kharkov State Academy of Design and Fine Arts I often faced the pressure of teachers who often tried to impose their own vision and their own point of view. Certainly, the personality of the teacher plays a large role in moulding young talent. A teacher may either support and give a push or prevent any desire to create masterpieces, depending on the circumstances. I have a nature of a struggler, so even the most negative comments to my works could not lead me astray.


Despite the negative aspects which are typical of academic education, I still believe that it is necessary for each artist. But an artist shall not think that at the academy they would learn how to create real masterpieces. Throughout their life, a talented person shall pass difficulty and even suffering which may be related either to external events or to comprehension of the individual self. An artist creates their own image of the world and therefore it correlates their imagination with the common laws of the universe. We know that each way shall lead to the temple but the temple may be erected inside the human’s soul.


Adoration of Golden Calf by Kateryna Bortsova. Image courtesy of Kateryna Bortsova

What do you hope the audience understands when looking at your art? What do you want to communicate?

The response we get for the work is very important for the artist. I believe that it works for the purpose of obtaining such responses. If the artist’s works only stay on shelves and nobody sees them, they die. Of course, it is hard to sell or give your own work to anybody else because it is like a child for you. But let it bring happiness to someone else, let it perform its function – tell about the idea implemented by the author. Maybe when a spectator contemplates it, they will think of something more than life problems.


You are originally from Ukraine, but you currently live in Germany. How did this change influence your work?

At the moment I think too little time has passed. Realization and understanding will come later. Now I'm trying to get my creative process straightened out. I think right now I'm still in some sort of transition period. And the changes will be clear to viewers from the outside. One thing I can note right now is the great expression in the works, both in technique and composition.


Hunger by Kateryna Bortsova. Image courtesy of Kateryna Bortsova

Can you talk a bit about your collection of work featured today - Fake reality? How did you reach the end result? What are the motivations behind it?

In the life of modern man densely entered expressions with the prefix “Fake”. We hear it from the first persons of the state on TV or read it in the publications of internet bloggers. But each of them puts in its own understanding. And indeed, there are many fakes around us. This situation affects all areas of our lives and should find its echo in contemporary art. With the help of my work, I want to formulate what this means to me, and how I see fake reality. Because in the modern world not everything is actually what we think. Many things have different meanings. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the true essence of things now.


Modern consumer society creates fake idols. Even high-value ideals and significance guidelines become empty and commercial. By using “Readymade” objects I show how advertising and mass media influences people and create a fake reality. Also, an important component of my project is the re-use of things, the call for recycling.


In my project, I represent the image of a new generation. A bright inviting world calls and draws them to itself. But in reality, it's just fake reality. Yes, at first glance, my heroes have adult attributes. But having figured out in detail, we can see the manifestations of infantilism in their images. Images in my works have a bright color (both in a literal and figurative sense).


Most of your works focus on the figure and working with acrylic. Tell us about the artistic process that leads you to create such detailed and elaborate paintings.

My creative process doesn't have many stages and technical peculiarities. Creation of a picture shall start, of course, from the image of potential work set inside my brain. Images occur in my imagination very often. It can be either imposed by impressions from movies, or theatre plays I saw or by simply communicating with anyone. Therefore I often face the opinion that my works are often based on any work of literature, but this is not the case.

The image of a potential picture will not leave my imagination until it is depicted on canvas or paper. Sometimes I have no time for creative work due to my large involvement in other industries. But the idea of a new painting does not leave me and I am eager to set aside some time for the implementation thereof in real life.

After the general idea of a new picture appears in my mind I develop all the details thereof inwardly. I make a decision regarding the technique and style of my work, regarding the best compositional conception. Sometimes after careful thinking, I start to make a small sketch, but not always. My experience shows me that the more detailed an image of a picture is developed in my mind, the less time and effort I need for implementation thereof.



Read more about the artist on Volume II of the magazine.


Hunger- Desire by Kateryna Bortsova. Image courtesy of Kateryna Bortsova

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At present time Kateryna Bortsova is a painter – graphic artist with BFA in graphic arts and MFA. Works of Kateryna took part in many international exhibitions (Taiwan, Berlin, Munich, Spain, Italy, USA etc.). Also she win silver medal in the category “realism” in participation in “Factory of visual art”, New York, USA and 2015 Emirates Skywards Art of Travel competition, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Kateryna is always open for commission and you can view her work on Instagram: @katerynabortsova, or on her website: https://bortsova6.wixsite.com/bortsova

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