The magic and prayer of Yulia Skrypka. Article by Olena Zikeieva

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀The series "Return to the Future" was created after the deadline of 24.02.22, which divided life in Ukraine into "before" and "after". War, a priori, is the worst thing that can happen to a country and its people. It rudely disrupts the established order of things, severing ties and depriving people of their "foothold."⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀The artist is by nature a mediator of essential meanings and states, from the generalized to the secretly individualized. And his work always remains a thin membrane that separates the external and internal worlds, while synthesizing them in images.Perceiving this war as the most horrific event, artists feel and reproduce it in different ways. Some of them, being in the epicenter of the hostilities, splashed out their immediate and painful impressions of what they saw and experienced on canvas, paper, or whatever was "at hand." This is how a lot of picturesque and graphic sketches like "war diaries" appeared, and hyper- and surrealistic images relay stunning messages about aggression. Other artists in their abstract series record, reproduce, and systematize fundamentally new emotional states caused by the new terrible reality, creating "catalogs" or a kind of "herbarium" of feelings.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Some artists are absolutely unable to directly touch the harsh realities of war. They "escape" from it by immersing themselves in dreamy light watercolors where the blue sky meets the azure waves of the sea, or by recreating the metaphysical silence of old city parks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the series "Return to the Future" Yulia Skrypka does not try to avoid deeply traumatic themes related to the war: here are refugees walking alongside their pets, and empty pupils of destroyed houses... The artist's imagination seems to pass this terrible reality through emotional, light, and color filters, erasing its unbearably sharp contours. Like majestic mythological heroes illuminated by a miraculous light, people and animals will pass through the fire unscathed, and houses will rise from the ashes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "The Tree of Life" by Yurii Skrypka is the central work, and at the same time the "key" to understanding the series as a whole. As you know, this is one of the most important archetypal images of world culture, symbolizing immortality, the endlessness of life, and its diversity. This motif is very popular in Ukrainian folk art: paintings of Easter eggs, chests, towels, and wall paintings.The modern image of the "tree of life" by Yurii Skrypka, which is genetically linked to the tradition, is the embodiment of the Universe, all plans and forms of existence. At the same time, the author's solution is very individualized, full of his own sense of beauty. This miracle flower is somewhat reminiscent of exquisite mallows, which are a favorite in Ukraine. Transparent, light-penetrated pale pink "cups" serve as a cradle for all God's creatures: people, animals, birds, plants. This World, as if made of thin multi-colored glass, appears in its vulnerable fragile beauty.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A complex multilayered technique with jewelry processing of miniature details; the use of transparent stained glass paints that create the effect of inner radiance - refer the viewer to the art of old masters and eternal values.The images created by the artist contain a powerful emotional and associative charge. You look at them and seem to "fly away" to the worlds of ancient manuscripts, medieval tapestries, Gothic cathedrals with transparent stained glass windows, ancient chests with exquisite treasures of Ukrainian folk culture. And then again, some magical force brings us back to the present and enchants our eyes with modern majestic images.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀At least before the war, Yulia Skrypka used to tell very personal stories in her paintings: about family values, her favorite city with its unique aura, old Kyiv houses "inhabited" by things dear to her heart that preserve the "memory of her ancestors." These images have always been shrouded in a special author's "sfumato", which, in fact, created that mysteriously unreal atmosphere of dreams, memories, and aromas. For many fans, they became a kind of "color and aroma therapy" from Yulia Skrypka, remaining, above all, art.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was extremely difficult to imagine that a great war would suddenly come to such a delicate and vulnerable author's world. But, surprisingly, the works of Yurii Skrypka, created during the war, are full of great inner strength.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Looking at these works, one seems to plunge into a state of meditation, which in a strange way helps to overcome the feeling of entropy - the "tornness" of the world, restores the lost inner balance. You feel with every cell in your body that life will return to the completely destroyed cities: children's laughter and the victorious barking of pets will be heard; gardens and parks will turn green, and brightly colored scooters and bicycles will move merrily along the paths. And everything will "return to the future" because art, if it is art, is both magic and prayer.

Olena Zikeieva, art historian, deputy director of the State Art Museum of Ukraine for exhibition activities and research, curator of the exhibition "Return to the Future"