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Placed: 12.06.2015 17:48:00

Odessa conceptualism will be presented in the main art museum of the country

On June 12 at the National Art Museum of Ukraine will be opened an exhibition «ENFANT TERRIBLE. Odessa conceptualism». Odessa artists will present more than 500 exhibits of paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations

The exhibition «ENFANT TERRIBLE. Odessa conceptualism» will be opened on June 12, at the National Art Museum of Ukraine in Kyiv.
The organizer of the exhibition - the Museum of Modern Art in Odessa, which allocated works from their collections for the presentation.

The exhibits for collection will be also given by: National Art Museum of Ukraine, Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, Odessa best galleries, collectors (Eugeniy Demenok, Anatoly Dymchuk, Natalia Kotova, Alexander Roitburd, Felix Pustynin, Sergei Kostin, etc.) and the artists (Sergey Anoufriev, Yuri Leiderman, artist group "Peppers", Larisa Zvezdochetova, Igor Gusev, Anatoly Gankevich etc.).

The entire first floor of main museum of the country will be given for placing the exposition and it is the half of all the halls of NAMU. Such a big space is explained by importance of the event.

The exhibition «ENFANT TERRIBLE. Odessa conceptualism» was named by representatives of the leading cultural institutions of the country as "event of the year". It will feature more than 500 exhibits (paintings and drawings, sculptures and installation, photography and video art), created by Odessa artists for the last 35 years. Among the 52 authors are 3 members of Venice Biennale, more than 10 exhibitors from the world famous museums of MOMA level (New York), the Russian Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery.

The exhibition will run until September 20



The history of Ukrainian modern art takes its origin from the flow in the visual art of Odessa, which was later called "Odessa conceptualism". This happened because Odessa artists applied a new methodology of creating works of art, with a paradigm changes in what is considered to be art.
In America and Europe since the mid-'50s (Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers) started to input elements of slogans, bits and pieces of statements of mass culture.

During the research of early forms of informal art in Odessa, Museum’s of Modern Art specialists found in the archive of the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern art a work signed by the artist Oleg Sokolov, 1955, where the text is used for the first time as a matter of image, opening the way to formulation of ratio between the artwork and the its language description.
In 1967 in the courtyard of the Odessa Opera House was held a famous and courageous, lasted only a few hours, "Fence exhibition" by Stanislav Sychev and Valentin Khrush called "Sychik+Khryshik". This exhibition was the beginning of actionism in Odessa, and preceded the famous "bulldozer" exhibition in Moscow.
In '70s two shcoolchildren Vladimir Fedorov (future Fedot) and Alexei Kotsievsky, according to Sergei Anufriev, "came up with conceptualism". Their drawings and photographs of that time are very speculative, heuristic, have the game of language clinches, local folklore, a comparison of cultural layers, hilariously funny, and indicate the beginning of a new branch in the art, called by young Fedorov and Kotsievsky "cretinistic realism". Already then works (which are lost now, but still preserved only in the memories) by Leonid Voytsehov the future leader of the group of Odessa conceptualists existed. Voytsehov considers himself a disciple of Valentine Khrush, and said that this school was ethical.
If in 1979 Boris Groys called Moscow Conceptualism "romantic" in the Journal of the unofficial Soviet art "AZ", Odessa conceptualism certainly must be called hedonistic, cheerful.
Year 1982 is considered to be the year of Odessa conceptualism "birth", from the first meeting of Leonid Voytsehov with Sergei Anufriev and the subsequent after this meeting formation of the so-called "conceptual Odessa group" with artists such as Yuri Leiderman, Igor Chatskin, group "Pertsy", "Martynchiki" and the others. In the same year Vladimir Naumets holds his actions in Odessa with Sergei Anufriev as an assistant. Later Anufriev becomes one of the foremost artists of Odessa conceptualist movement.
Then Sergei Anufriev together with Yuri Leiderman, Pavel Pepperstein and Vladimir Fedorov (Fedot) founded a group Inspection "Medical Hermeneutics" in 1987, which had a significant influence on the formation of Moscow conceptualism and artistic environment of the time.
In early nineties Conceptualism in its pure form, according to the words of artists themselves, completes its existence. In the visual art of the '90s begin to dominate gradually the new media, video, photo and sound. The performance as a mystery theatrical and ritualized show similarly becomes a frequent event in the artistic life of Odessa. The picturesque line gradually declines, but the interest to art goes back to the beginning of 2000s. The paintings by artists emerged on the art scene in the early '90s in Odessa (Igor Gusev, Andrei Kazandzhiy, Dmitry Dulfan and already has been working in this genre "Martynchiki" and Stas Podlipsky) however were made in the same ironic tone as conceptual predecessors of '80s. It was also confusion of sense with the absurd, linguistic perversions typical for the preceding conceptual art. Since the mid-'90s the objects and installations took place in art instead of painting. Documents show that the vast majority of that time exhibitions were not including the art object in their expositions, even with participation of the oldest and youngest generation in the projects.
Curator movement significantly strengthened its position. The works of art were often created for a specific project and interacted with the other artefacts and exhibitions with a common semantic field. In addition, a list of curators was very extensive, their cast was updated frequently, and almost all the artists of this period acted as curators, having established logistics relations between the artist, the idea of the project, the place where the exhibition was held and the viewer as a full participant in this environment. At the same time, a new generation continues to develop strongly embedded in Odessa line - Actionism of '80s.
Video art appeared in Odessa like a synthetic phenomenon and often exhibited as a video installation essentially accompanied with the other art objects. The early video works by Oleg Migas and Anatoly Gankievich, Miroslav Kulchytsky and Badim Chekorsky, Ute Kilter, Gleb Katchuk and the others were created so that video was not a closed subject in itself, but interacted with space itself and with the other works made communication associations for viewer. The line of conceptual video actually was developed by M. Kulchytsky and V. Chekorsky.
At the beginning of 2000s contemporary art in Odessa was undergoing profound institutional crisis. The lack of adequate exhibition space, the inability to visit museums, the complete absence of galleries resulted in the marginalization of the art movement, and then to a split inside the art community. Artists were forced to go to the streets to descend into the underground, search for development of a new space for art. Actionism as the artistic and intellectual heritage of conceptualism has become a kind of salvation form of artistic activity, as it does not require cash outlay. At this time Igor Gusev organized group of Art-Raiders (from 2007 to 2009, were held more than twenty actions on the Starokonnyi market, Odessa flea market). There was a gallery "Norma" (a cellar in the city centre) and the gallery "Window" (creative and informal alcoholic symbiosis of art and wine shop).
At that time, gradually begins to return the interest to the painting art, although remained the techniques and methods of conceptual approach. Artists resort to the language of conceptualism directly or indirectly, is replaced by the focus of artistic interest, but the foundation of the so-called contemporary art was founded in this way.
Today Ukrainian masters of contemporary art, Alexander Roitburd, Anatoly Gankevich, Igor Gusev, Dmitri Dulfan, Larisa Zvezdochetova and the other artists create their works on a base of conceptual approach. Even now a new generation of young Odessa artists of 2000s uses if not articulated methodology for themselves or elements of the conceptual approach.
Obviously, conceptualism in Odessa did not come out of nowhere and did not stay in the past but turned into the cultural background and become the source of artistic studies.

Max Kovalchuk

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12.06.2015 17:48