An Open Opportunity

An Open Opportunity

Ukrainian contemporary art from private collections

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21.05.2021 - 31.07.2021 Buy a ticket
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About the project
  • About the project
  • Events
  • Exposition

From May 21 to July 25, 2021, the M17 Contemporary Art Center holds an exhibition of Ukrainian contemporary art from private collections – An Open Opportunity.

The exhibition offers a look at the contemporary art of Ukraine through one of the possible models of the museum collection “here and now”, which is based on the joint contribution of Ukrainian collectors.

The exhibition covers an atypically long period of time (from the end of the 1950s till the 2010s) and different stylistic ranges, on which the exposition’s logic is built (from Odesa conceptualism and the Kharkiv School of Photography to Kyiv nonconformism and the Ukrainian New Wave, as well as artists which were “out of the system”).

The idea of ​​representing this view appeared after the lengthy negotiations between the Ukrainian Club of Contemporary Art Collectors and the Pompidou Center had been successfully concluded. The subject of negotiations was the issue of giving Ukrainian contemporary artworks via gift to the Centre Pompidou. That act of transferring works became not only the way of museum preservation of Ukrainian art but also a fact of its acknowledgement in the context of the world’s culture. And now 164 works by Ukrainian artists, donated to the Centre Pompidou, are already in Paris, in the museum’s permanent collection. An Open Opportunity exhibition, in turn, included other works by these artists. But not theirs alone. In the end, the project’s curators significantly expanded the understanding of contemporary Ukrainian art outlined by the Centre Pompidou, supplementing it with other personalities. Visitors will be able to see the works from private collections created by about 50 masters of painting, photography, sculpture and video art.

Both the aforementioned donation and the exhibition that will take place at M17 are a continuation of the joint activities of the Ukrainian Club of Collectors, aimed at promoting Ukrainian art in our country and abroad and at promoting the culture of collecting.

Besides, An Open Opportunity project reveals approaches that help us create images of contemporary times: the ability to form our own interpretations, narratives and initiatives, which aren’t bound by the influence of state ideologies and policies, and not limited by each other. In our case, through collecting art objects. And it also demonstrates the openness of this opportunity for all comers.

Admission by tickets to the exhibition.

Ticket price:
100 UAH for adults;
70 UAH for school children, students and retired persons.

! Attention !
Quarantine restrictions on visits continue to apply.

Keeping your social distance and wearing a face mask are still a compulsory requirement for visiting the M17.

The project is supported by the Ukrainian Club of Contemporary Art Collectors on the research direction PROcollections by the M17 CAC.

The project program includes excursions, lectures, round tables on various topics, such as collecting, museum preserving and aspects of contemporary Ukrainian art.

Track events on the calendar

  • Project proponent – Ukrainian Club of Contemporary Art Collectors

Club Members: Zenko Aftanaziv, Yuriy Kogutiak, Michael Tsarev, Andrii Adamovskiy, Vladimir Spielvogel, Borys Grynyov, Vadym Morokhovskyy

  • Other participants – collectors and cultural figures

Sergiy Lebedynskyy, Yevheniy Demenok, Tetiana Osadcha, Stella Beniaminova, Leonid Komskyi, Eduard Dymshyts, Maksym Voloshyn, Sergey Makhno, Igor Abramovych, Igor Voronov, Mykhailo and Oleksii Vasylenko, Oleksandr Samchenko

  • Project curators

Oleksandr Soloviov
Viktoria Bavykina

  • Director of the M17 CAC, Head of the project

Natalia Shpytkovska

  • Project team

Inna Kurylo – Project Manager
Eugenia Gavrylenko – Content Manager
Polina Herashchenko – PR Manager
Maryna Pukhova – Head of Meaningful Impact, Havas PR
Nazar Bedii – Account Manager, Havas PR
Oleksandr Burlaka – Display Designer
Uliana Bychenkova – Designer
Anton Pribytkin – Designer
Fedir Sehin – Technical Manager
Marharyta Yakymenko – Junior Project Manager
Viktoriia Vydyborets – Assistant Director
Vasyl Grublyak – Lighting Designer
Natalia Vozna – Financial Curator
Volodymyr Kovalchuk – Assistant Technical Manager

1. Ukrainian New Wave

Artists of the Ukrainian New Wave are qualified as “neo-baroque of a transavantgarde type”. Transavantgarde (“through the avant-garde”, “beyond the avant-garde”) is a movement in the European painting of postmodernism, which, on the narrower concept, is sometimes associated with its Italian branch (artists Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Paladino and other). The term was coined by the Italian critic Achille Bonito Oliva in the late 1970s. It is the Italians who are the closest one to the New Wave that emerged in Ukrainian painting in the second half of the ’80s and is associated with the works of Arsen Savadov, Georgy Senchenko, Oleksander Hnylytskyj, Oleg Tistol, Kostiantyn Reunov, Oleg Holosiy, Serhiy Panych, Valeria Trubina, Oleksandr Roytburd, Andriy Sahaidakovsky, Vasyl Tsagolov, Yuri Solomko, Dmytro Kavsan, etcetera.

Transavantgarde large-scale figurative painting that relies on quotes and a mix of deconstruction and mythology content became the core that united the young Ukrainian generation. The wave’s creative method was highly mobile. The focus was on the neo-expressionist idea of ​​non-finitism. The work could be finalized at any stage – it didn’t need to be perfect. А spontaneous hand was encouraged as well as a wide brush, impulsiveness, vitality, even the use of liquid household paints instead of professional.

In the early 1990s, most of the above artists worked in a squat called the Paris Commune.

2. Kharkiv School of Photography

The phenomenon in Ukrainian art of the second half of the 20th and early 21st century. The origin of the Kharkiv School was put by the Vremya group, formed in 1971 under Kharkiv Regional Photo Club (group members: Evgeniy Pavlov, Jury Rupin, Oleg Maliovany, Boris Mikhailov, Oleksandr Suprun, Gennadiy Tubalev, Oleksandr Sitnichenko, Anatoliy Makiyenko). The so-called “impact theory” (or “blow theory”) lay at the heart of the group’s work. All that, non-trivial subjects, social criticism, irony, naked body, everything’s become tools to create an atypical, very different photo. Aside from the introduction of new subjects, the representatives of the Vremya group experimented with the technical side of photography. That is how the world saw the colouring photos of Pavlov, Mikhailov’s Luriki, Suprun’s collages and the Equidensites of Maliovany.

The next stage in the Kharkiv School’s development was aligned with the establishment of the group Gosprom in 1986. In contrast with the Vremya, whose representatives tended to tamper with the image, Gosprom members turned to photography in its original form. The group included Misha Pedan, Volodymyr Starko, Igor Manko, Leonid Pesin, Sergey Bratkov, Kostia Melnyk, Guennadi Maslov, Boris Redko. And in the 1990s, Boris Mikhailov, Sergey Bratkov and Sergiy Solonsky joined together as the Fast Reaction Group.

In parallel with the photo groups worked such individual representatives of the Kharkiv School as Roman Pyatkovka, Andrey Avdeenko, Igor Chursin, Sergiy and Viktor Kochetov, and others. The new generation of the Kharkiv School is: Shilo group (founders: Sergiy Lebedynskyy, Vasylisa Nezabarom, Vadym Trykoz, Vladyslav Krasnoshchok), Boba-group (Vasylisa Nezabarom and Yulia Drozdek), Igor Chekachkov and others.

3. Artists outside the system

An umbrella term for visionary artists, hermits, whose artistic practices are unusual compared with the official art of their time. The works of such artists are hard to identify with a particular art style or art movement. Those works are experimental, intense, expressive and even strange. In contrast with the Art Brut label (an original brutal art created by non-professional artists) that unites many similar characteristics, the term “outside the system” refers to the artists with a relevant education who have a wide range of professional skills. But more importantly, their work is always conscious. In the context of Ukrainian culture, bright representatives of such art are Fedir Tetianych, Myroslav Yahoda, Stas Voliazlovskyi.

4. Nonconformist art

A socio-artistic phenomenon that arose as opposition to socialist realism and the whole official art system of the Soviet era. The cornerstone of nonconformism were the ideas of freedom, free creativity, dissent, an aestheticization of art and revitalization of national culture. Nonconformism is close in meaning to the terms “unofficial art”, “dissidence”, “Sixtiers”, and “underground art”. Ukrainian nonconformists in the visual arts are Karlo Zvirynskyi, Hryhorii Havrylenko, Florian Yuriev, Alexander Aksinin, Vilen Barskyi, Oleg Sokolov, Valerii Lamakh, Volodymyr Naumets and others.

5. Odesa conceptualism

In the ’60s and ’80s in Odesa, there was not just a layer of independent artists – a whole system of alternative culture was formed. That system included some groups, generations and individuals. The biggest interest is for the second wave of Odesa nonconformism, the conceptual one. It was influenced largely by Valentin Khrushch, one of the leaders of the first nonconformist wave (the pictorial one) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The work of Leonid Voitsekhov played an important part in the conceptual direction development at the beginning and later – of Serhii Anufriiev, who was a member of the group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics. Also, such artists as Yuri Leiderman, Igor Chatkin, the group Peppers (Oleg Petrenko and Lyudmila Skripkina) and Stas Podlipskiy should be noted. This phenomenon was accompanied by self-representative forms like apartment exhibitions that were particularly prevalent and served as a place of free communication, inter alia. The main centres of the second wave were first the “commune” of Viktor Salnykov in the area of Vidrada and then Anufriievs’ apartment on Soniachna Street and Voitsekhov’s apartment on Astashkina Street.

The significant feature is the dominant influence on the visual images of literature and local conversational culture. It is mainly a behavioural art based on the artist’s gesture (slight, spontaneous, optional, ephemeral) and only then on the work itself. The dissidence of Odesa residents was understood more as internal. Their works avoided political caricature and outright social criticism, yet they were under surveillance by the KGB anyway. Among the apartment “collective actions”, a great response was caused by the exposition Rodnia (Family), which took place on Soniachna Street in 1983. The street actions In No Time in Odesa City garden, Exploring the Artistic Wilds, They Will Pay Us for It also did not go unnoticed.

6. Plastic abstraction

There were periodic surges of abstract art in Ukraine. And not only in the early 1910s and 1920s. The last three decades saw geometric abstraction, abstract expressionism and minimalism manifesting еthemselves. In the 1990s, the widespread abandonment of painting, especially figurative painting, had created voids, which the plastic abstraction, through the Pictorial Reserve art group (Tiberiy Silvashi, Alexander Zhyvotkov, Anatoly Kryvolap, Mykola Kryvenko, Mark Geiko), was able to fill. In a wholly unexpected way, the group instilled in the post-Avangard Ukraine a modernist tradition: the principles of abstract expressionism of the Pacific School of the ’50s and its European counterparts. After the millennium, they positioned themselves mostly separately. Despite all the conceptual experiments to identify “pure an essence”, the group still had the “background” gravitation towards the act of painting. They tended to actively and deeply study the painting surface, preserving painting as a painting per se, based on introverted gaze and subjective sensuality.