ref: kVu Feb 22-Mar 29 2008 HAMPSTEAD THEATRE Luba Kostenko - return to Galleries PR Index

The Trumpeter, oil/canvas 1983

Luba Kostenko

"Life on Stage"

22 February - 29 March 2008

Hampstead Theatre

Eaton Avenue

Swiss Cottage


A rare opportunity to see the vibrant works of Luba Kostenko a Russian-born artist whose works can be found in many museums.

An artist of an inspirational talent, described as a prodigy when she was still studying at the Fine Arts School in Leningrad in the early 1960s, Luba Kostenko graduated from the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad in 1971, had dozens of solo shows and participated in numerous exhibitions throughout her career. Described by art historians as having the vitality of Kandinsky's palette, the boldness of Modigliani's style and the virtuosity of the Old Masters, Luba Kostenko's works are always recognizable thanks to her sharp, and at times paradoxical outlook on the world, and her ability to see the special and the unique in what she depicts.

The Muse, oil/canvas 1980

Kostenko's trademark style has evolved over the years and has earned her a reputation as an established master with a distinct personality. Her highly expressive sculpturesque language, be it in paintings or works on paper, flows from her confident ability to combine linear composition with a sharp perception of colour.

Since 1991 Luba Kostenko sends most of her time in Western Europe painting, teaching and inspiring people to open their hearts to art. "

She is sought after by private collectors, receives regular portrait commissions and her paintings hang alongside the jewels of some of the most recognised artist of the twentieth century. In one state art museum in Russia, a painting by Luba Kostenko has a permanent place next to the works of Kazimir Malevich.

Trio, oil/canvas 1996

The current exhibition at the Hampstead theatre "Life on Stage" shows some of Luba Kostenko's major paintings, some dating back to 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition is dedicated to the performance theme in L. Kostenko's work. Theatre and music have always been a source of great inspiration to the artist. Whilst living in Russia she spent countless hours at the rehearsals of the world-famous Kirov Theatre (now the Mariinsky Theatre) and her collection features many portraits of prominent musicians. Amongst those presented at the exhibition is a portrait of Maestro Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Kostenko's paintings of musicians demonstrate the artist's close relationship with music and her distinctive ability to use lines and colours to "depict" the sounds of the different instruments. The exhibition coincides with a play written by Diane Samuels and Tracy-Ann Oberman after Chekhov's "Three Sisters". One of the works on show by L. Kostenko is dedicated to the Chekhov's play. The artist ponders on the theme of endless discourse where feelings, thoughts and concepts take centre stage, whilst the action happens elsewhere, only reflected through the shadows of the people around the table immersed in conversation.

      Midnight discourse, oil/canvas 1996

Maestro Gergiev, oil/canvas 1994

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