Painting in Excess: Kyiv's Art Revival, 1985-1993
The years following the inception of perestroika policies and encompassing the collapse of the Soviet Union remarkably transformed Kyiv’s art scene, successfully launching Ukrainian contemporary art as a truly global phenomenon. The calm waters of the culturally provincial capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic became radically stirred with new and daring art made publicly visible for the first time since the avant-garde period. This explosion of styles, rediscovered histories, and newly found freedoms blossoming against the background of the collapsing Soviet empire, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, and increasing economic scarcity created an effect of baroque excess. As if in a crooked mirror, the overabundance in art styles and the limitless production of new meanings reflected the emptiness of the hollowed-out Communist ideology and late socialist realist art. This exhibition traces and documents the diverse artistic manifestations of these transitional and exhilarating years in Kyiv while providing some historical artworks for context.
Organized by Olena Martynyuk, Ph.D., Rutgers University, Guest Research Curator, with assistance from Julia Tulovsky, PhD, Curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art at the Zimmerli Art Museum
A book is forthcoming in the fall of 2021, copublished with Rutgers University Press.
The project is supported by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund and the Dodge Charitable Trust–Nancy Ruyle Dodge, Trustee, with additional support from the Abramovych Foundation and the Tymofieiev Foundation. The publication received support from the Ukrainian Institute in Kyiv.