The Albertinum is dedicating a comprehensive survey exhibition to modern Ukrainian art. It is the first of its kind in Germany and Europe. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, video works, graphic art and archives represent Ukrainian art from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. In the process, some of the exhibited works travel outside the country for the first time and provide insights into Ukraine’s eventful history as well as its constant struggle for its own self-image.
The exhibition is conceived similar to a journey and consists of four main themes that overlap: “Practices of Resistance”, “Culture of Memory”, “Spaces of Freedom” and “Thoughts on the Future”. In them, the current situation combines with historical processes and reveals individual experiences and personal stories. Each position represents a specific microcosm interwoven with the history of the country, its art and heritage. As a result, the complexity and diversity of today’s Ukrainian art scene unfolds. The exhibition tells many stories about the country’s fluctuating state. It deals with self-knowledge in Ukrainian history, which unfolds less out of pride than under external duress.
In the 18th century, the Ukrainian philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda published his work “Narcissus or Know Thyself”. For him, the figure of Narcissus contains the possibility to look inwards through self-love, to analyse and thus to walk the path of self-knowledge. Wandering, a kind of spiritual nomadism, was essential to Skovoroda’s philosophy. It can be related to a cultural federalism that is fundamental to Ukrainian culture: it did not develop centrally in Kiev alone, but in parallel in many unique cultural centres, such as Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odessa. Due to the Russian invasion since 24 February 2022, Ukrainian culture is experiencing a new decentralisation and nomadism. Many artists from these important cultural centres are forced to leave their cities and live as migrants scattered around the world.
With artworks by: Sergey Anufriev, Yevgenia Belorusets, Sergey Bratkov, Andrij Bojarov, Katya Buchatska, Igor Chatskin, David Chichkan, Danylo Halkin, Alla Horska, Leonila Hrytsenko, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Alevtina Kakhidze, Nikolay Karabinovych, Dana Kavelina, Lesia Khomenko, Boris Kriukow, Maria Kulikovska, Sasha Kurmaz, Yuri Leiderman, Kateryna Lysovenko, Larion Lozovyi, Pavlo Makov, Boris Mikhailov, Lada Nakonechna, Wiktor Palmow, Sergei Paradschanow, Oksana Pavlenko, Marija Prymatschenko, Vlada Ralko, Masha Reva, Larisa Rezun-Zvezdochetova, Mykola Ridnyi, Andrii Sahaidakovskyi, Hanna Sobatschko-Schostak, Oleg Sokolov, Aliona Solomadina, Marija Synjakowa, Leonid Voitsekhov, Stas Volyazlovsky, Fedir Tetjanytsch, Tetjana Jablonska, Ludmila Yastreb, Wassyl Jermylow, Anna Zvyagintseva, Perzi (Oleg Petrenko und Liudmyla Skrypkina), Roman Khimei & Yarema Malashchuk, Open Group (Yuriy Biley, Pavlo Kovach und Anton Varga).
In dialogue, they show the continuity of culture and the sources of contemporary art in Ukraine since its beginnings from the avant-garde to the present day.