To Find And not Let Go: Ukrainian and Georgian Modernism
National Museum Kyiv Picture Gallery, Kyiv, 2018
Ada Rybachuk, Fool and King (by Shakespeare). Veniamin Zuskin as the Fool, Vsevolod Meyerhold as King Lear. Сoauthored with Volodymyr Melnychenko. 1991–1996. Source of the images: Ukraine Unofficial, ARVM Archive: archive-uu.com/en/collections/arvm-archive
Volodymyr Melnytchenko (1932-2023), Ada Rybachuk (1931-2010), Vladyslav Mamsikov (1940-2020), Irina Gerasimova (1939-), Revaz Tchantouria (1954-), Leri Chanturia (1948-), Carlo Grigolia (1927-), Beso Grigolia (1953-).
Curators: Maria Vtorushina, Nino Chantouria
The national avanguardes of Ukraine and Georgia were not destined to fulfill themselves: after the short-lived flowering of original art in 1917-1918, both countries were devoured by the empire again. In the early 1930s, the USSR forcibly introduced a new method of “socialist realism” and established special institutions of censorship and supervision of artists. In the 1960s, during the Khrushchev Thaw, art received a little more freedom for a while. Some artists have turned to the study of the origins of the native culture of their countries, using elements of folk art, while others were interested in the art of modernism. The ideas of modernism and its stylistic movements allowed the generation of soviet artists in the 1960s and 1970s to find expression for reflections about their contemporaries and about the person in its entirety.
Represented in this project artists worked separately, not being acquainted with each other. But the organization of their personal worlds was very similar. This is an intellectual protest against the Soviet world order, the search for comfort in a small circle of people of kindred spirit, inspiration in the literature and art of the early twentieth century. Appealing to modernism and avant-garde, the artists did not want to integrate man and humanity into the framework of ideology anymore. The main attraction was the research in the field of individual, spiritual or transcendental. Ukrainian and Georgian artists studied the possibilities of alternative, quiet freedom, which the person acquires by intellectual research and that is knowledge-based.