Organised by The Firtash Foundation. Sponsored by Group DF.
In association with Tsukanov Family Foundation
19th October until 24th October
Saatchi Galley, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London, SW3 4RY.
'Contemporary Ukrainian Artists' is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Ukrainian contemporary art in the UK. For the first time on British soil, it brings together the works of 25 of Ukraine's most influential artists including Oleksandr Roitburd, Oleh Tistol and Pavlo Makov. The exhibition has been organised by The Firtash Foundation with sponsorship from Group DF, an international group of companies based in Ukraine. The exhibition is part of Days of Ukraine in the UK, a celebration of contemporary and traditional Ukrainian art, fashion, literature and music. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists opens at the Saatchi Gallery on 19th October.
Ukraine has one of the most vibrant art scenes in the former Soviet Union. The artists in the exhibition have all played a vital role in the development of the Ukrainian art scene over the last twenty years or so, during which time the country has undergone a period of great social and political change. The exhibition charts the progression of contemporary Ukrainian art over this period, as it has flourished in the 21st century into one of the most innovative artistic nations in Europe.
The older generation of artists in the exhibition offer a vision of Ukraine in a vibrant and independent 1990s. During this period a new wave of artists, free from political and social constraints, pioneered two major new trends that would determine the shape of Ukrainian art - post-modern figurative and abstract neo-avant-garde. The younger artists in this exhibition reference their trail-blazing predecessors in many ways but their techniques, use of media and clear identity as 21st century Ukrainians set them apart from the older generation.
Igor Abramovich, curator of Ukrainian Contemporary Artists at the Saatchi Gallery said: "The exhibition will showcase various themes and techniques developed by the artists from Kiev and beyond. Some of the works address real life issues which I think that the British public will relate to, including Pavlo Kerestey's video and performance works which highlight social problems in Ukraine. Artists such as Maxim Mamsikov and Igor Gusev have adopted a hyper-realist style, depicting every-day life, people and objects as fragments of collective memory. There is also the more dream like works of Arsen Savadov and Vasily Tsagolov, which combine contrasting characters and settings to provide a witty commentary on the world."
Each work in the exhibition is unmistakeably Ukrainian - with references to culture, values and history that are specific to this unique nation. While many of the artists have already been shown in the UK, this is the first time their work will be seen together.
Igor Abramovich, curator of Ukrainian Contemporary Artists at the Saatchi Gallery, explains his vision: "I have been working for many years to promote Ukrainian art, and in particular contemporary art, on a more international scale. I feel strongly that in order to raise awareness of the important works that are being produced in Ukraine, our art scene needs to become international. The Firtash Foundation and its festival, Days of Ukraine in the UK, has given me the opportunity to showcase Ukrainian contemporary art on one of the most important international art platforms here in London. We hope that through this project, we will raise the profile of our vibrant and exciting art scene, and encourage people in the UK to learn a little more about Ukrainian art and artists."