Eugene Vishnevsky (GenVish) “broke open” as an artist while working as a biologist in Kiev, Ukraine (USSR). According to the artist, his style, black and white symbolic primitivism, appeared in 1985. In 1997 he began to work on the project, “Visual Coding of the Archetypes on the Basis of the Bible and the Biblical Mythology.”
The Bible is a book of codes for deciphering and understanding the superior meaning of human existence. Vishnevsky presented biblical images in a unique and unprecedented manner. Symbolic primitivism, the trident chosen by the artist, is close in relation to the ancient Chinese tradition of telling stories in the form of pictures rather than words.
Exposure to Carl Jung’s groundbreaking psychiatrist’s theory of archetypes, brought forth a new series of drawings, reconsidering the raw imagery of icon painting in the context of unconscious reflexive narrative, the kind, Jung proposed, that lies at the very back of our brains and motivates us invisibly. Vishnevsky took particular note of what Jung called “cultural archetypes”, symbols and motifs that recur in all forms of mythic and fabulistic (and some would say, even non-fictional) discourse. Literature, theater, painting, dance, all the arts – even, in its own way, music – display cultural archetypes and are in some way bound by them. From 1997 until today, Vishnevsky has sought to make overt the presence of these archetypes in his own art – not propagandizing for or illustrating Jung’s theories but simply manifesting them in the process of telling tales and setting scenes. At first Vishnevsky applied Jung’s interpretive structure to Biblical stories; then, he branched out to find and describe archetypes throughout human consciousness.
The sources for Vishnevsky’s images and style: Russian Orthodox church icon masters like Andrei Rublev, Russian avant garde, in particular, cubo-surrealism of Pavel Filonov, Chinese pictorial art, painting of Hieronymous Bosch, Marc Chagall and Rene Magritte.