Zelensky as Napoleon. What surprises the first exhibitions in Kyiv
A large-scale exhibition “Day 114” (meaning, of course, the war with Russia) opened in the “Kyiv Art Gallery”, where the canvas of the artist Shereshevsky caused a stir “Unfinished” 2019 is an ironic portrait of Vladimir Zelensky in a Napoleonic pose. And in the “Mystetsky Arsenal” at the “Exhibition of Our Feelings” interesting sound recordings of the museum staff, talking about the shock and everyday life of the war, as well as the painting by Maria Pryimachenko “Monkeys and a crocodile”.
In the National Museum “Kyiv Artistic gallery “in partnership with the Center for Contemporary Art “Biliy Svit” On June 17, a large-scale exhibition “114 Days” dedicated to 114 days of the war opened.
“114 days of heavy inhalations and exhalations. Each hour lasts like a year. This date is not special, it is only needed to fix the time. The name has a technical sound, but such is the voice of the art center against the backdrop of the frenzied rattle of the tragedy,” they explained the idea of the staff of the Center for Contemporary Art “Biliy Svit”.
The exposition presents more than 100 works by 40 contemporary Ukrainian artists (ticket 80 UAH).
Portrait of Zelensky: Napoleonic swing
< p>The exposition presents the best of what was done by artists in the pre-war period. And one of the works “shot” just when the Russian-Ukrainian war began.
We are talking about the portrait of Vladimir Zelensky by the painter Vladislav Shereshevsky with the ironic title “Unfinished”. Shereshevsky wrote this work in May 2019 – immediately after Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine. The gallery “Biliy Svit” then made a conceptual project “Ceremonial portrait” for the Kyiv Art Week forum, where there were portraits of Vitali Klitschko, Verka Serdyuchka, Leonid Kravchuk, etc. They were painted by different Ukrainian artists in different techniques and styles. And then Shereshevsky's portrait of Zelensky aroused interest: the president was depicted there with a gesture inherent in Napoleon – it was an ironic reference to the comedy film “Rzhevsky against Napoleon” (2012), where Zelensky played the French emperor.
The portrait of Zelensky was deliberately left unfinished: a metaphor with a long-range view was laid into it – they say, let's see which of you, Vladimir Alexandrovich, is the ruler. And the title of the picture is a play on words. “Unfinished” – on the one hand, the portrait is not finished, but also, as it were, our national leader – an unfinished type. What if Zelensky shows himself positively?
Some then accused Shereshevsky of being more flattering than a troll. However, three years have passed – and the portrait of Zelensky “shot”, because the president really showed a Napoleonic character in this war. The public at the exhibition was surprised that the work of 2019. (Shereshevsky has a keen sense of time: Focus wrote about his exhibition in 2020, where five portraits of the Joker, referring to the film with Joaquin Phoenix, became the leitmotif).
By the way, Vladislav Shereshevsky's Smoke on the Water by Vladislav Shereshevsky was recently sold at the Dukat auction in the capital (the title plays on the name of the Deep Purple hit, and on the canvas a man with a can of beer, sitting on the seashore, watches the cruiser Moskva burning on the horizon) ) for $15 thousand. All the money from the sale goes to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“For me, this is an auction record,” the master Focus admitted at the exhibition. “And my personal one is $40,000. But the work was not bought at an auction.”
On June 24, Shereshevsky's personal exhibition “Martial Law” with more recent canvases will open directly in the gallery “Biliy Svit” on June 24.
With our time “Rhymed” at the exposition and the work of 2017 by Pyotr Smetana “Liberated Territory”, where on the canvas is a scorched factory panorama of Donbass – with pipes and waste heaps in the distance.
Feelings from air raid alerts. What did the Ukrainians experience during the 114 days of the war
As for the exposition in the Mystetskyi Asrenal, its authors put the main idea into the title.
“Exhibition about our feelings” (ticket 40 UAH) is evidence of the feelings experienced during the war. The creators of the project outlined the concept of the project on the stand: “It is still impossible to understand everything that happens to us during the war, and probably still too early. But we return to this experience again and again – in thoughts and conversations. How do we understand art? How do we feel about it?The war changed our plans and forced us to focus on new experiences, finding artistic correspondences with our own feelings of war.”
Monologues of the museum staff (you can listen to them through headphones) are pouring from several screens about what they did during the war and what feelings they experienced while doing so. In particular, there is also a monologue by Olesya Ostrovskaya-Lyuta, director of Mystetsky Arsenal, who said that the invasion of the Russian troops “shocked her, but did not surprise” her, because she was from Lvov – and after 1939 they always expected that from nothing good can be expected from the neighborhood with Russia.
There was a microphone and a camera in a separate room, where anyone could record their story on a given topic. Just there, two girls were enthusiastically telling something.
The exhibition also features a painting by the classic of naive art, our legendary artist Maria Priymachenko, whose museum in Ivankovo was recently burnt down by Russian invaders. The canvas of 1961 is called “Monkeys and Crocodile”. The primates rush to their heels over some flowering plants from the green toothy monster below. This canvas really somehow rhymes with the stated theme: the feelings of civilians from the start of the war.
Arsen Saadov showed here the work “M 21 OF” (2017) – this is a box for shells, in which instead of a shell there is a huge pencil, and on the inner surface of a military container there is a peaceful blue sky. This installation is a dream of the world.
But the canvas from the distant peaceful life “Renovation is a state of mind” of 2012 of the artist caused the greatest excitement among the visitors Oleg Kharcha (which Focus wrote about in the material about the First Ukrainian Biennale of Digital and Media Art), where a half-naked woman and a man rest serenely on the floor during a break in repair work. The canvas both evokes a smile and touches, since it is obvious that there are clearly romantic feelings between the repairmen. Perhaps they are renovating their family nest.