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Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick to Host Exhibition of Ukrainian Art, “Painting in Excess”

New Brunswick

On November 6, the Zimmerli Art Museum is launching a new exhibition, "Painting in Excess: Kyiv's Art Revival, 1985-1993," on Ukraine during the so-called Perestroika period (the 1980s) and the first years of the country's independence.

These years seriously influenced the formation of modern Ukrainian and, in particular, Kyiv art and brought it to the global level. 

The artists became freed from the dictatorship of the withering communist ideology and the constraints of late socialist realism. The art of that time combined a great number of styles and created the baroque exaggeration effect. 

The exhibition presents a variety of artistic manifestations of these transitional years in Kyiv together with earlier artworks of Ukrainian authors for creating the right context.

"This exhibition is largely based on my dissertation, which was devoted to the art of Ukrainian Perestroika," the curator of the exhibition, Ph.D. in art history Olena Martynyuk, said. 

"Therefore, for me, this is a rather personal project, which I have dreamed of since the days when I worked at the Zimmerli Museum as a graduate student of the Faculty of Arts at Rutgers University." 

The exhibition will include artworks from the Norton and Nancy Dodge collection held at the Zimmerli Museum and paintings from well-known Ukrainian collections. 

Visitors will be able to get acquainted with paintings of Olexandr Roydburd, Tiberiy Silvashi, Arsen Savadov, Alla Gorska, Florian Yuriev, Alexander Dubovik, Valery Lamakh, Grigory Gavrilenko, and many other artists. 

In particular, the exhibition will include a monumental four-meter artwork by Georgy Senchenko, "The Sacred Landscape of Pieter Bruegel" (1988).

The project is supported by the Abramovych Foundation and the Tymofieiev Foundation.

Adviser to the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art Problems under the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Igor Abramovych, notes that the Ukrainian cultural heritage forms the country's image and how it is perceived worldwide. Therefore the exhibition implements both aesthetic and cross-cultural missions.

"The works of artists reflect the particulars of the time when they were created. And if we are talking about a transitional period, a time of transformations, it gets twice as interesting," Igor Abramovych said. 

"The world cultural community gets information about Ukrainian art episodically and fragmentarily, but we do have something to show and share. It is strategically important for every country to promote its art in the world."

Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev), the founder of the Tymofieiev Foundation and venture investment fund Adventures Lab, emphasizes that the exhibition reflects an important stage in the development phase of Ukrainian art since the country got its independence.

"It is greatly important to expose the exhibition. The paintings presented here reflect a significant stage in the developing phase of modern Ukrainian art created at the junction of the two epochs," Ruslan Tymofieiev said.

"They provide an opportunity to learn more about the mood of the artists and the society at that time. These artworks mark the beginning of the globalization of Ukrainian art, its entry into the world market."

In the fall of 2021, there will be a book based on the exhibition artworks published by Rutgers University Press with the support of the Ukrainian Institute.

The exposition will be exhibited at the Zimmerli Museum until March 13.