Biography


Zuka
(1924, Los Angeles, USA - 2016, Paris, France)

Born in 1924 in Los Angeles to Russian parents, refugees of the Revolution, Zuka (Zenaïda Gurievna Booyyakovitch) was an American painter, who did not claim any art lineage but … Braque, Picasso and Matisse. She was in the wake of their techniques and, perhaps, insureing their posterity. Collage of paper and oil painting. The tip of the paint brush stuck between her thumb and index finguer. A coincidence? Zuka had something to say. With daring colors, decorative exuberance, expressivness of characters, she displayed her originality and fantasy in the series of Amerindian collages, portraits of the French Revolution, of cows, birds, strawberries, etc.
    Her animals are humanized, but almost with an animistic approach. She draws with scissors with no prep work, like Matisse at the end of his life. Reminiscent of Fauvism, through her use of glaring colors and simplified shapes, her paintings are above all full of life, movement and joy. She had her first personal exhibit at Darthea Speyer’s in Paris in 1970. Her eighth and last exhibit took place in 2007. Exhibited in the United States, mainly in New York and Los Angeles, she is now exclusively shown by Françoise Livinec galleries.
  

Audacious colours, decorative exuberance, expressivity of the characters are the characteristics of the Zuka’s work. At the École des filles, she declines her originality, her imagination, in her series : Amerindians and the portraits of the French Revolution. Her series on the French Revolution, presented in 1988 at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, bring a new light and a new festive and merry representation to this Epinal style images too often pompous and solemn. Zuka thinks that : “Anyone who lived May 68 in Paris understands the excitement, joys and extreme angers of the Revolution and knows that the Revolution must have been, among other things, without any doubt, quite fun”. 

For her series on American Indians, Zuka uses  glued papers and pieces of ordinary, prints or plain tapestries. She is interested in the rites and practices of these tribes through decorative by their colours and exuberant by their whirling rhythms works. Thus, just like her, her work is shared between a far American past and a bucolic French life, between history of Revolution and an American history as well as a revolution of techniques.

Zuka dedicated her whole recent work to one theme : the cow. They are of our time, colour-cows, pictorial form-cows. The colour and the form are both used with the greatest originality. Composition and rhythm bring to life with gaiety this theme studied since the time of Cretan frescos and of friezes of the Parthenon.


Exhibitions selected


Solo exhibitions

2016 - Amazones de la Révolution,  Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2015 - Restrospective Zuka, Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2015 - Colorful Cows, Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2008 - Les Oiseaux de Zuka, Charlieu Museum
2007 - Rétrospective, Les anciens Abattoirs, Avallon

1989 - University Gallery, Birmingham
1989 - Baruch College Gallery , New York
1989 - La Femme et la Révolution, Banque Lambert, Bruxelles
1989 - Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris
1989 - National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.
1976 - Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara
1970-2007 - Gallery Darthea Speyer, Paris
1966-1964 - Gallery Lambert, Paris
1966-1964 - University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Group exhibitions

2017 - Ailleurs est ici, École des Filles, Huelgoat
2017 - Art Paris Art Fair, Paris
2016 - Amazones de la Révolution, Musée Lambinet, Versailles
2016 - L'attrape-Feu, l'art réenchante le monde, École des filles, Huelgoat
2016 - Art Paris Art Fair, Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2015 - Briser le toit de la maison - Le sacré dans l'art, École des filles, Huelgoat
2014 - Art Paris Art Fair ,  Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2014 - Ramène ta fraise, Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2013 - Colorfull Cows, Françoise Livinec Gallery, Paris
2012 - Quel temps fait-il ? - Un climat de tableaux modernes et contemporains, École des filles, Huelgoat
2012 - Pierre qui roule...-Les figures du paysages, École des filles, Huelgoat

2010 - 100 ans de couleurs, École des filles, Huelgoat
2008 - 40e anniversaire de la Galerie Darthea Speyer, Gallery Darthea Speyer, Paris
2006 - Hommage à Kimber Smith, Gallery Jean Fournier, Paris
2004 - Liberté et Révolution, Trouville
2004 - Performing Art Center Thousand Oaks, California
1999 - Animal, Tremblay Art Centre, Yonne
1997 - Artistes américains à Paris, Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris
1997 - Animal, Médiathèque François-Mitterand, Oise
1994 - Les créateurs font un carton, La Poste Museum, Paris
1984 - La part des femmes dans l'art contemporain, Municipal gallery, Vitry-sur-Seine
1981 - West 81 , Minnesota Museum of Art, Saint Paul
1975 - L'Année de la femme, Contemporary Art Museum, Paris
1967 - U.S.A Groupe 67, Musée des Augustins, Toulouse
1966 - Ten americans in Paris, American Cultural center, Berlin
1951 - American Cultural Center

Collections

Banque Lambert, Bruxelles
Bernard Baruch Library, New York
National Collection of Contemporary Art, Paris
Israël Museum, Jérusalem
Contemporary Art Museum, Paris
Twentieth Century Fund, New York

Bibliography

2011 - L’Abre qui cache la forêt, Françoise Livinec Editions, France
2010 - Zuka, 100 ans de couleurs, Françoise Livnec Editions, Frnace
2007 - Zuka Saint-Brancher, California, Les Abettoirs, Avallon, France
2007 - Zuka 6 avril - 2 juin 2007, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France
2005 - Zuka  14 avril - 28 mai 2005, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France
2001 - Zuka 4 avril - 12 mai 2001, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France
1992 - Zuka, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France
1989 - Zuka - The French Revolution through American eyes, Mona Bismarck Fondation, France; National museum of Women in Arts, Washington, DC; Thomas Center Gallery, Gainesville, Florida; Baruch College Gallery, New York City; French Institute/Alliance Française, New york City, University of San Diego, California; Schaider Art Gallery, Denver, Colorado
1988 - Zuka - La Révolution française - Un regard américain, Mona Bismarck Fondation, France
1982 - Zuka 13 ocobre - 20 novembre 1982, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France
1979 - Zuka 6 février - 10 mars 1979, Darthea Speyer Gallery, France