Featured Artist: Bohdan Burenko

Words & Artwork by Bohdan Burenko

When we first came across the work of Ukrainian artist, Bohdan Burenko we were intrigued by a certain discomfort that radiates from the disfigured portraits he paints.  When commissioning him for some work featured in Volume 002, we asked him to give us a little insight into the inspiration that fuels his work.


Untitled Rider | A special project for META, 2014

Untitled Rider | A special project for META, 2014



"One day I came across pictures of the soldiers injured during the First and Second World Wars; their faces were completely mutilated by wounds. Some parts of their faces were just absent. The surgeon took every possible step to restore the faces of the soldiers; they were patched with tissue and skin from other parts of the body and were given terrible wooden dentures to replace teeth. I had never seen more grotesque and disturbing images. My stomach was filled with fear, and my heart was hanging in the terrible emptiness. I felt horrible discomfort. The image of these poor fellows was burned in my brain for a long time. Later I realized what a powerful catalyst of emotion the destruction of the form is. I merged the idea of creating destructive portraits with my style, and eventually a cycle called ‘Gentlemen’ appeared."


Portrait of Jason Anderson for META Volume 002

Portrait of Jason Anderson for META Volume 002

"Visual imagery plays a major role in my creative work. I am trying to achieve the maximum emotional impact on the viewer through that mode. For me, the person is the main theme and the main subject of art, so I depict portraits of people and human figures. I explore the nature of human existence, the relationship of people, and human drama. In order for the portrait to be as expressive as possible, I spend a lot of time searching for the ideal shape, and later I spend lots of time on its destruction. Correct forms or accurate representation of reality is a boring and uninteresting occupation of my time. There is a special appeal in ugly and wrong objects. It’s hard for me to look away from a person with disabilities. I feel dreary, even uncomfortable, but I cannot stop looking at such a person. In my opinion, the ugliness and destruction trigger incredibly strong feelings, and they are also serious instruments to influence the viewer. Art should act as the causative agent, a kind of a kick, and it does not matter what kind of emotions the viewer really experiences. The most important thing is that he does not remain indifferent, and all means are good in this respect."



More work by Bohdan Burenko




Artwork Featured in Volume 002

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