Ukrainian Avant-Garde

Avant-garde art in Ukraine was formed as the synthesis of European modernism and folk art traditions. Over 20 years of Ukrainian avant-garde, such movements as Cubo­Futurism, Constructivism, Panfuturism, and Spektralizm were formed. The artistic avant­garde was extensive in structure and of truly national importance.

Oleksandra Ekster

In the late 20th century her name was included in the list of the so-called “Avant-garde Amazons.”In 1918 she founded an art studio in Kyiv, where dozens of prominent avant-garde artists worked. In 1920, Oleksandra Ekster emigrated to France after she had faced Soviet authorities’ methods of pressure on artists.

Oleksandra Ekster is considered to be a real revolutionary in scenography. She bravely violated the canons, formulated a new concept of stage scenery, and designed stunning sketches of costumes for ballets and performances staged by B. Nijinska and O. Tairov.

David Burliuk

“Ukraine in my person has a true son” – David Burliuk.
Ukrainian futurist artist, poet, and art theorist. He got through an astounding amount of work.

He described his artistic temperament as follows: “When I am painting, I feel that I am a savage who is rubbing two sticks of colors together to get a color effect. The effect of blazing…”

Oleksandr Bohomazov

He became one of the leaders of the Ukrainian avant-garde.
Artist with incomplete secondary art education, whose unique talent and diligence brought him up to the level of the most prominent representatives of the European avant-garde.

Oleksandr Bohomazov was given the proud name of “Ukrainian Picasso” during his life.”The greatness of Bohomazov’s art is the greatness of the highest craftsmanship. Unique in a sense, Bohomazov’s works are worthy to occupy a prominent place in the history of futurism.” said French art historian A. Nakov

Kazymyr Malevych

“I extracted the infinity of space from my brain…” Kazymyr Malevych
Artist and pioneer of the geometric abstract art and avant-garde Suprematist movement. All his work as a painter, sculptor, architect, teacher and theorist is pure magic.

The future genius lived in Ukrainian villages till the age of 16. He received his first impressions from village painting, and they remained with him for life.

Oleksandr Arkhypenko

Sculptor and artist, one of the pioneers of Cubist sculpture.
The inventions of the Ukrainian artist also include a mechanical sculpture (he named this technique “arkhypentura”) and the use of void as the basis for a sculptural form.

He attended the Kyiv Art School for three years, and as he himself admitted, he learned more neither in Moscow nor in Paris. His living nature, original artistic talent and ambitions brought him into the circle of Parisian Cubists, where very soon he became a prominent figure and was nicknamed “Restless”.

Anatoliy Petrytskyi

Artist, theater and book illustrator. Petrytskyi’s talent was universal: he was a success both in a realistic manner and radical avant-garde. Being a brilliant painter, the artist gave the main power of his talent to scenography. “Give me a bucket and a broom, and I will decorate a play” -Anatoliy Petrytskyi

Petrytskyi’s talent was highly appreciated abroad. The album “Theatrical costumes by Petrytskyi”, published in 1929 in Kharkiv, were purchased by P. Picasso for his library.

Sonia Delaunay

Ukrainian-born artist, cofounded the Orphism art movement.
Born in a small town in Poltava region.

Sonia Delaunay became known as a book illustrator, designer of cloth patterns, theatrical costumes and scenery, and even as a master of car tuning. Sonia was educated in the academies of Karlsruhe and Paris.Realites Nouvelles, a salon which she founded in 1939, is still functioning.Throughout history, she was the first painter, who had the honor to hold a solo exhibition at the Louvre. In 1975 she was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Vasyl Yermylov

He was a versatile artist and a tireless experimenter, who could do everything with pencil and brush, and he also constantly designed and constructed as an engineer and a craftsman.

Today his name is among the internationally renowned representatives of constructivism. Yermylov’s life, like all avant­garde artists’ who remained in the Soviet Union and survived Stalinist repressions, is divided into two clearly differentiated parts: before the prohibition of modernism and after.

Mykhayl Semenko

AnatoliyPetrytskyi left a portrait of Semenko, which depicts the first Ukrainian futurist more accurately than his numerous photos: shrouded in smoke of his permanent pipe, with his “brand” ruffled hair behind the cafe glass with a lady.Yes, it’s he, dressed with careless elegance, a cafe frequenter, a hotel traveler, a poet who is not fit for smooth life.

Semenko’s most powerful project lasted from 1927 to 1932 when he published the magazine “New Generation”, around which he united the most radical forces of Ukrainian avant-garde.

Oleksandr Dovzhenko

Ukrainian writer, filmmaker, screenwriter and artist.In 1930, Dovzhenko’s most famous film – “Earth” – was released after numerous censorship barriers. In Kyiv it was closed 9 days after the premiere, but in Europe it was a huge success.

OleksandrDovzhenko’s life was full of paradoxes and tragic conflicts of Shakespeare’s scale. The Bolsheviks did not destroy him physically, like other avant-garde representatives, but they did not let him live either. He passed all stages of losing illusions about Communism and its real purpose, so that eventually he died in his own country as if in a foreign land.

Mike Johansen

Critics called him the “poet of sensible intellectualism” and “jeweler of the form” Together with V. Ellan, M. Khvylovyi, P. Tychyna, V. Sosyura, he wrote the first Manifestos of “Ukrainian proletarian literature”, published anthologies, founded the first organization of Ukrainian proletarian writers “Hart” (“Hardening”) (1922). Like most avant-garde representatives, who initially believed in the Bolsheviks’ messianism, Johansen quickly realized his mistake. Some ambiguous codes appeared in his poetry and prose, like, say, “dead mallard” – an image of anonymous brutal force that destroys all living things.

Mykola Khvylovy

Ukrainian writer, poet, and publicist, one of the pioneers of Ukrainian post-revolutionary prose. His short life is a tragic example of a clash between the romantic illusions of Ukrainian intelligentsia and the cynicism of Stalin’s national policy. Young writers created the Free Academy of Proletarian Art (VAPLITE) as an independent literary organization, and Khvylovy became its leader. Then he wrote a series of pamphlets in which he formulated the main slogans: “Away from Moscow” and “Europe – our orienting point”.

Les Kurbas

Ukrainian filmmaker, actor, theater theorist, playwright, publicist and translator.

Kurbas showed his organizational talent for the first time in Ternopil, where he founded a permanent theater and made his debut as a director of “Natalka Poltavka.” It was there that the leader of Ukrainian stage Mykola Sadovsky saw him and then invited to his theater. In 1926, the People’s Commissariat of Education of Ukraine decided to move “Berezil” as the best theater to the then capital of the republic – Kharkiv. It was there that Kurbas invited playwright M. Kulish and artist V. Meller to cooperate.

Mikhaylo Boychuk

Ukrainian artist, monumentalist painter, founder and leader of Boychukism movement. MikhayloBoychuk takes a special place in the 1930s Ukrainian avant-garde art. Using the artistic techniques of the monumental painting of the early Renaissance and Byzantine periods, he combines them with formalist experiments of modernist art, creating original school of Ukrainian monumentalism. oychuk championed collective creativity in arts. Eventually, talented artists grouped around him and worked on the principles of a Renaissance bottega. The decisive factor was not that they were his students in the academic workshop but the master’s powerful energy, his conviction and a clear artistic concept. No wonder this artistic community was called the Boychuk’s school, although formally it was not registered. Boychuk’s tragedy was his sincere belief in the collective nature of art and its educational impact on the masses.

2022 /Art/ D&F Magazine

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