"The Achilleus run" in Palace of Nations
Exhibit of contemporary Ukrainian art at the UN Office at Geneva
By Emilia NAZARENKO
GENEVA — From Oct. 2 to 16 the Palais des Nations at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) hosted a Ukrainian art exhibit featuring works by the painter Petro Lebedynets, sculptor Volodymyr Ivanov, and photographer Slava Krik.
The UNOG Cultural Activities Committee regularly organizes exhibits of works by talented artists from around the world. There are 192 member countries and each boasts a fund of talent, so it is no small feat for artists to get solo exhibits in Geneva. The last time there was a Ukrainian art exhibit at the Palais des Nations was in 2005. Three years later, owing to the dedicated efforts of the members of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations Office, the works of several contemporary artists from Ukraine were presented to an exacting international audience. During the ceremony to launch the Ukrainian art exhibit in Geneva, entitled “The Gift of Poseidon,” Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Mykola Maimeskul said, “Just as Europe has the richness of many different cultures, so too Ukraine is rich in elements of the European cultural heritage. These unique metal sculptures and wonderful paintings are perceived as a link in the chain connecting the cultures of Europe with Ukraine.
” The concept behind the Ukrainian exhibit, a synthesis of paintings, sculptures, and photographs, was formulated by Volodymyr Ivanov, who is known as Ukraine’s most technological sculptor, because he uses steel, not marble. He fell in love with the heroes of ancient Greece 20 years ago, when he was a novice sculptor taking part in the excavations of the ancient Greek cities of Olbia and Chersonesos in Ukraine The idea for a synthesizing art project dedicated to the Isle of Achilles, now known as Ukraine’s Ostriv Zmiiny (Serpent Island) in the Black Sea, took shape during a conversation with President Viktor Yushchenko at the Ukrainian House. The president later signed an edict that paved the way for the exhibit “The Gift of Poseidon” held on Serpent Island, which the head of state ceremoniously launched in July 2008. In ancient times, Serpent Island was one of the many sacred elements of the ancient Greeks. In our times it has become the subject of a maritime delimitation lawsuit between Ukraine and Romania. The second participant in the Geneva show was the painter Petro Lebedynets, who has worked in graphic art, minting, carving, finally settling on painting. After going through a figurative phase and a fascination with Mikhail Vrubel and the Impressionists, he returned to abstract painting, which still inspires him. His paintings are striking combinations of unrestrained warm and clear colors. Their harmonious combinations are full of the life force and musicality, and they enchant the viewer. One critic has written: “His paintings are like a melody that smoothly flows from one canvas to the next, leaving an impression of absolute harmony.” Perhaps it is a melody that Orpheus played on his lyre for Achilles, warrior and ruler of the entire Black Sea, whose steel statue was the central item of the Geneva exhibit
The Ukrainian photographer Slava Krik’s beautiful landscapes emphasize the wonder-world of the heroes of antiquity. We become aware of the special atmosphere of this magical isle that Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea, presented to the intrepid hero. The heritage of Greek antiquity seems to integrate us into the European space.
Petro Lebedynetz and Christina Havrylyshyn-Batrukh
The painter Petro Lebedynets believes that, apart from giving expression to an artist’s feelings, emotional experiences, and ideas, art is also a nation’s main potential, a phenomenon that represents the nation. Symbolic in theme and form, the exhibit of our three artists is further proof that Ukraine will remain an inalienable component of the general European cultural space.
#33, Tuesday, 28 October 2008