Why Ukrainian art in out of the world culture

Author : Eugene Bereznytsky

Source : 112 Ukraine

The curator of the Kyiv Art Week Eugene Bereznytsky told why Ukraine is not visible on the international art market
11:54, 20 June 2016

Read the original text at Espreso.TV.

June 15, the first large-scale art week, which is an analogue of the world famous Art Basel, started in Kyiv. For five days, masterpieces of world art from various galleries around the world to be available at 17 art locations.

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Unique art project includes exhibitions from around the world, the exhibition of collections of the recognized artists of different periods, art fairs, conferences, concerts, and performances. Among the galleries are representatives of France, Georgia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, and Armenia.

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On the opening day of Kyiv Art Week, curator and gallery owner Eugene Bereznytsky told about the prospects of Ukraine in the global art market and the importance of cultural policy for the country's image in the world.

- Does Ukraine exist in the global art market?
Unfortunately, we cannot say that Ukraine is a full member of the European and world cultural process.

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- What should Ukraine do to be visible?
Ukrainian art is out of the global market, because we have no national policy and strategy for the development of culture in the country, as well as the promotion of Ukrainian culture abroad. Our statesmen have no idea that culture is an important component of the state and national unity.

As a result of this myopia, we face with the fact that the state does not support culture and even creates some difficulties. This leads to the fact that world simply cannot see Ukrainian culture. No one knows us. We are involved in some forums, at the Venice Biennale, for example, but not always.

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This year we do not have a pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. This is our terrible fail, because the architecture of the biennale is more interesting than fiction.

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The list might be endless. Well, we have some private initiatives that are trying to support and implement the projects that eventually could help the formation of state cultural environment and attract the attention of international and foreign art experts.

- Is Ukrainian art perceived as a part of Russian?

We are seen as part of the Soviet and Russian art market. Even modern Russian art experts call Ukrainian contemporary art "Russian southern wave." "Little Russia" ​​is a relevant informational trend for them.
One of the reasons is that in Soviet times, conceptual art developed mainly in Moscow and Odesa. Many Moscow conceptual artists actually came from Odesa. Odesa was a kind of porto franco, which, of course, had a lot of information “feeding” from abroad, and people were more free in their thoughts. And in Moscow there were similar processes.

We now introduce Ukraine as a country with traditional culture. It is completely irrelevant and inappropriate, because from the perspective of a foreign audience Ukrainian traditional culture is slurred and indistinct.
All the communication is built around a national folk dance and embroidery; it is very inefficient! After all embroidery is native for almost every ethnic group in Europe; dances are very similar too. Although the experts might disagree with me, but from the standpoint of the layman it is very difficult to distinguish Ukrainian from Slovaks.

- But there are contemporary artists who focus on some other aspects...
Of course, of course, but these efforts are very weak.

- Is it difficult for Ukraine to organize an event of such a size? Are such events popular among Ukrainians today?
Now we are seeing more and more interest. We hope that the scale of such events would convince Ukrainians that we do have serious problems. This is a serious project, and it should be treated with interest.

Ukraine is known only from the news, which are usually are not very good. We would like to state that our cultural process is active and dynamic. It focuses not only on the domestic picture, but it is international.

I am glad that we host a very large Georgian presentation. They have responded very actively. Georgia is very serious about cultural presentation; it is actively showing its culture here. Ukraine is not doing it anywhere.
In our country, culture presentation is focused on demonstrations of traditional culture and some artifacts of the 17th century. This is a total error that prevents the country from presenting something modern and dynamic. 

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- Kyiv Art Week presents both classical and contemporary art. Many complain that contemporary art is incomprehensible. Do you think it must become an elitist art?
Art must be different. It must be elitist in some sense to be to keep in the forefront. There are lots of possibilities to explain the art, and then it becomes clear. The other question here is people’s interested and will. These interest and will should be expressed at least in curiosity or tolerance.

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