Roman Zuzuk

Roman Zuzuk was born in 1961 in the small village of Selec in Ukraine. From 1980 until 1984 he studied at the Simferpol Art School in the Crimea and later in Kiev Academy of Fine Arts. From 1991 he lived in Prague, and has resided in Toronto since January 2000.

Roman Zuzuk: A Laughing Master from the East
By Veselin Vackov, 1998

Roman Zuzuk's pictures please people. But not with beauty. His paintings are like old friends: we do not care whether their looks are perfect, but we love listening to them talking. In fact, Zuzuk is not at all involved in the creation of beauty as an end in itself. Basic to his art is the need to communicate directly with the viewer. His pictures tell stories. Some of them are comic, others eccentric or lyrical, but they always come from our own lives and listening to them makes us feeling better.

The works of Roman Zuzuk have multiple sources of Inspiration. His art brings together everyday and extraordinary, rural and urban, past and present, reality and fantasy. The final result is not an eclectic maze, but a balanced artistic vision focused on men - those funny creatures with their strange upbringing, prejudices, feelings and dreams.

Roman Zuzuk's works have naive overtones in them: his use of bold colours, disturbed proportions and other anti-naturalistic effects bring out the child in us all. It is indeed Zuzuk's background and especially his memories of childhood that exert strong influence on his style. He was born in the small Ukrainian village of Selec in a household poor in material things. Yet, the rural life style of his community endowed him with sensitivity and sense of humour that cannot be raised in other conditions. At a young age, he started drawing from nature: his first models were cows at pasture, hens in the back yard, flocks of geese flying overhead. But like most modern masters, Zuzuk arrived at primitivist abstraction only through a rigorous classical training. He graduated from the prestigious Kiev Academy of Fine Arts, where he mastered a sophisticated painting technique.

In the early nineties, Roman Zuzuk moved to Prague as an already accomplished painter. To the booming Czech capital, he brought his boldly coloured and refreshingly direct paintings with laughable figures that talk to the viewer in their outlandish language. Numerous exhibitions followed in galleries around Europe and Zuzuk's works attracted collectors from the whole world.

What is so appealing about Zuzuks's paintings? Perhaps it is the mixture of religious symbolism with a pagan interest in animals and monsters. Through his mirroring of human and bestial forms Zuzuk satirises human pretensions to refinement and draws attention to the topsyturvy nature of destiny. His paintings tell modern fables which are not didactic, but rather open to individual interpretation.

Other striking feature of Zuzuk's art is the expressive way he deal with place and time. Both dimensions are in us: and he means it literally. Many of his figures have landscapes painted in their bodies or they literally bear with them memories of places where they have been (take for example his 'Emigrant') and dreams of future destinations. Time is captured most directly in the figures full of watches, but it is also present in the fluids of fish, birds or other animals.

Perhaps the most delightful aspect of Zuzuk's art is the vibrant sense of real life that it creates. In Zuzuk's paintings, people laugh, drink, argue, play music. With a wry, yet sympathetic humour, the artist celebrates our paradoxical life and in the same time satirises the folly inherent to human nature.

2008 Edinburgh Art Fair, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2008 Art Ireland, November Fair, RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland
2008 Chelsea Art Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall, London, United Kingdom
2008 Art Ireland Spring Collection 2008, Main Hall of RDS, Dublin, Ireland
2007 Art-Kyiv, Ukrainian House, Kyiv, Ukraine
2006 Art Kiev, Ukrainian House, Kiev, Ukraine
2006 Art Ireland Winter Collection 2006, RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland
2006 Art Ireland Spring Collection 2006, RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland
2005 Art Ireland Winter 2005, RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland
2005 Manchester Art Show, MICC G-MEX, Manchester, United Kingdom
2005 Art Ireland Summer Collection 2005, RDS, Dublin, Ireland
2004 Art Ireland Winter 2004, RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland
2004 Art Ireland Summer Collection 2004, RDS, Dublin, Ireland
2004 New York Art Expo, Soleil Gallery, New York, USA
2004 Toronto Art Expo, Toronto, Canada
2004 Sarennes Galerie, Quebec, Canada
2003 Soleil Gallery, Montreal, Canada
2003 EuropART, Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland
2003 New York Art Expo, New York, USA
2002 Art-Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2002 New York Art Expo, New York, USA
2002 Sarennes Galerie, Quebec, Canada
2001 New York Art Expo, New York, USA
2001 Gallery 133, Toronto, Canada
2001 Start Art Gallery, Breda, the Netherlands
2000 Anastasia Gallery, Oakville, Canada
1999 Burch & Klem Gallery, Berlin, Germany
1998 Atelier Los, Thalwil, Switzerland
1998 Dorint Hotel, Koln, Germany
1998 Burch & Klem Gallery, Berlin, Germany
1997 Spektrum Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
1997 Atelierschiff unartig Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany
1996 Christin Gallery, Toronto, Canada
1995 ABA Gallery, Berlin, Germany
1994 K + B Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
1994 Haus der Ktinstler, Worpswede, Germany
1993 Miro Gal1ery, Berlin, Germany
1993 Bilini Gallery, Florence, Italy
1992 Slovak Cultural Centre, Frankfurt, Germany
1992 City Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
1992 Russian Cultural Centre, Prague, Czech Republic
1991 Rapid Exhibition Centre, Prague, Czech Republic
1990 Palace of Arts, Kiev, Ukraine
1989 University of Kiev, Ukraine