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Betreff: In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Datum:  Sun, 27 Nov 2022 17:01:08 +0000
Von:    e-flux <i...@mailer.e-flux.com>

In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza Curated by Konstantin Akinsha, Katia Denysova, Olena Kashuba-Volvach. Under the high patronage of…

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/In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s/


Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza


Vadym Meller, /Composition/, 1919–20. Oil on canvas, 74 x 60 cm. National Art Museum of Ukraine.



*/In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s/*
November 29, 2022–April 30, 2023

*Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza*
Paseo del Prado, 8
28014 Madrid
*Hours:* Monday 12–4pm,
Tuesday–Sunday 10am–7pm,
Saturday 10am–9pm

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Curated by Konstantin Akinsha, Katia Denysova, Olena Kashuba-Volvach.

Under the high patronage of the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Supported by the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain, PinchukArtCentre and Museums for Ukraine.

The exhibition */In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s/ *presents ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine in the first decades of the 20th century, showcasing trends that range from figurative art to futurism and constructivism. In the most comprehensive survey of Ukrainian modern art to date— with many previously unseen works on loan from the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema of Ukraine, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, and other private collections, the exhibition celebrates the dynamism and diversity of the artistic scene in Ukraine and recontextualizes the distinct role of Ukrainian artists within the broader European avant-garde.

The artworks on display made their way from Kyiv to Madrid’s *Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza* in a secret convoy, leaving Ukraine’s capital city early on November 15, 2022, just hours before what was to become one of the worst days of bombing in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. The trucks were packed in secrecy to safeguard the largest export of Ukraine’s cultural heritage to date and faced a treacherous journey as they passed through areas of unexpected heavy missile fire, including the small town of Lviv and then on to the Polish Border at Rave-Russo, just as the missile that set the world on edge landed in Poland 50 km away. The convoy arrived safely at the National Museum Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid on Sunday, November 21, and remains the largest legal art transport from a war-torn country to date. The works will be on display in Madrid until April 2023, before the exhibition travels on to Cologne’s Museum Ludwig.

The development of Ukrainian modernism took place against a complicated sociopolitical backdrop of collapsing empires, the First World War, the revolutions of 1917 with the ensuing Ukrainian War of Independence (1917–21), and the eventual creation of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The ruthless Stalinist repression against the Ukrainian intelligentsia led to the incarceration in the gulags and execution of writers, theatre directors and artists, while the Holodomor, the man-made famine of 1932–33, killed millions of Ukrainians.

Despite these tragic circumstances, Ukrainian art of the period lived through a true renaissance of creative experimentation. */In the Eye of the Storm/* reclaims this essential—though little-known in the West—chapter of European modernism, displaying around 70 works in a full range of media, from oil paintings and sketches to collages and theatre designs. Following a strict chronological order, the show presents works by masters of Ukrainian modernism, such as *Oleksandr Bohomazov, Vasyl Yermilov, Viktor Palmov, and Anatol Petrytskyi*. Exploring the polyphony of styles and identities, the exhibition includes neo-Byzantine paintings by the followers of *Mykhailo Boichuk* and experimental works by members of the Kultur Lige, who sought to promote their vision of contemporary Ukrainian and Yiddish art, respectively. It features pieces by *Kazymyr Malevych* and *El Lissitzky, *quintessential artists of the international avant-garde who worked in Ukraine and left a significant imprint on the development of the national art scene. The exhibition also showcases artworks of internationally renowned artists who were born and started their careers in Ukraine but became famous abroad, among them *Alexandra Exter, Wladimir Baranoff-Rossiné*, and*Sonia Delaunay.*

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, the founder of *Museums for Ukraine*, said: “It is becoming clearer day by day that Putin’s war against Ukraine is not only about stealing territory, but it is also about controlling the nation’s narrative and its cultural heritage. This exhibition aims to recover the history of modernism in Ukraine and return it into the context of the development of both the national culture of Ukraine and of European art of the first half of the 20th century. As we watch history repeat itself, this exhibition is a powerful reminder of how close we are to another disaster.”

In a seminal exhibition catalogue published by *Thames & Hudson*, twelve internationally renowned scholars, including curators from the National Art Museum of Ukraine, bring to life this astonishing period of creativity in Ukraine and all the movements it encompassed.

The exhibition will open with a video message by *President Zelensky*. Prior to the opening, a high-level symposium, co-organised with the *European Cultural Foundation*, will convene key cultural figures to discuss the role of cultural solidarity in times of crisis and beyond and provide a critical review of Ukrainian art history during the first half of the 20th century. Speakers include *Olena Kashuba-Volvach*,**Curator of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, *Guillermo Solana*, Artistic Director Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, *Yrina Drobot*, Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema of Ukraine, *Pina Picierno*, Vice President of European Parliament, *Alexander Shevchenko,* Founder ReStart Ukraine, and many others.

Our heartfelt thanks goes to Kunsttrans and hasenkamp group for their bravery and professionalism during the challenging transport from Kyiv to Madrid.






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