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Evgeny Bondarenko Solo Exhibition

In March 2024, Lutetia ART-at-TAC is presenting an exhibition of beautiful ink sketches and watercolour paintings by Russian artist Evgeny Bondarenko (林仁亞). Trained in the tradition of academic art with a keen interest in manga and American comics, Bondarenko’s works are stunning in their accuracy and eloquence. His urban and environmental sketches not only accurately capture the location but also the mood – be it calm and quiet or busy and noisy.  Bondarenko’s works create a sense of place.

Humble Beginnings

Bondarenko (on Instagram) was born in the USSR in a small town called Bataysk, in a region very much intertwined with Ukraine. His paternal grandmother was Ukrainian Jewish and grandfather Ukraine Cossack.  Bondarenko decided to become an artist and pursued a degree in art at Rostov Art College. During his training there, he fell in love with academic art despite his initial interests in manga and comics.  One of the strongest influences during his studies was the practice of “plein air” –  the practice of painting entire finished pictures out of doors.  In Russia this tradition developed into the Peredvizniki (“The Wanderers”), a school of art where artists travelled to rural areas to observe and record how average people lived.  According to Bondarenko: “I consider this as a form of journalism, a way to create a mirror in which people can see themselves or to show rural reality to those who are not aware of it.”  During his plein air practices, he also realised that drawing while travelling is “the best way to enjoy the adventure”. 

Life Decisions

In 2010 Bondarenko decided to become a travelling artist, to create a series of artworks dedicated to different cities, and sell the works to fund travels to the next city.  This career path led him to Moscow and eventually to a 2-year residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai.  During his time in China, he met people from Taiwan, a place he had known nothing about. He was, however, so impressed by how nice and bright the Taiwanese people were, that he called them “sun people”. He connected with the community and met his future wife who was a Taiwanese expat working in China at the time. They eventually decided to settle in Taiwan where Bondarenko has been working as an art teacher and mural artist. 

Evgeny’s Work

A prolific artist, Bondarenko has published several books on Taiwan as well as other Asian and European cities. Throughout his 20-year career, Bondarenko has developed a personal approach to urban sketches that combined his interests in both academic and manga art.  A compelling artistic dilemma for him is that he always perceives more than he is able to depict. According to Bondarenko: “the better I become at depicting this information, the more I start to see. So, this gap is impossible to close”. Nevertheless, the more he draws, the more he perceives drawing as a form of education, learning directly from life without intermediaries. He puts it eloquently himself:

“The environment is in constant dialogue with us; we live in artificial spaces, and the characteristics of these places reflect who we are […] We can influence and change the form of our environment, and in turn, the environment always exerts influence on us. I love to explore these flows and strive to learn from observing them to be more aware and conscious.”

Evgeny Bondarenko Solo Exhibition opens on Friday March 1st, 5:30 –- 8:30pm at Lutetia TAC Store (751 Wenlin Road, Shilin District).

All are welcome. Lutetia Art-at-TAC on Instagram

By Jessica Simula

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