Come to Lviv and Witness Ukraine-s Innovative Art Museum in Making

Written in Ukrainian by Olena Yehorushkina
Translated and amplified by Andy Kozlov

Rebranding / Cupola Crosses  exhibition at UCU in Lviv was curated by Pavlo Hudimov, Ukraine's art buff
Rebranding / Cupola Crosses exhibition at UCU in Lviv was curated by Pavlo Hudimov, Ukraine’s art buff

Always topical — though a bit abandoned – the exhibition in the form of a dialogue comes back to us in a new project by Ukrainian curator Pavlo Hudimov Rebranding / Cupola Crosses. This time however, the juxtaposition of art phenomena will be offered not by an artist but by the public. With his vast experience of organizing interaction-friendly events, Pavlo Hudimov suggests we should take a fresh look at modern art, itself increasingly open to dialogue with the cultured crowd. The exhibition in question provokes you to dialogue by hosting on the gallery’s walls two completely opposite symbols of the human condition.

One of them, the Cross, is an absolute authority for half of the population on the planet. The other, despite its mundane qualities, is familiar to almost each and every human being. A modern virus known as Brand, and along with it the concept of re-branding. These two notions by all means should be in opposition to the sacral symbols. Interestingly, instead of juxtaposing these symbols – something that is expected by many – the project makes them come together. By doing this, the exhibition shifts your attention from the exhibited object towards the viewer, whose mind conceals the origins of the idea of both the cross and the brand. The necessity that calls faith to life urges us to look for an object that will serve as a guide. For some, this guide leads them to transcendent ideals. Others are fine with being guided towards public acceptance.

In Anton Lohov’s project, the Brand is placed out of its comfort zone. De-contextualized, it is cleared to reveal the hidden symbol. Allowing for the simultaneous presence of the Cross and the Brand, the artist unwittingly lets you discover the mental structure both of them share in your mind. Meanwhile the curator, as he creates an opportunity for dialogue, stresses the extreme potential of the art, capable of reconciling habitually opposing narratives. The reconciliation becomes even more evident in the selection of the cupola crosses that complement Lohov’s artwork.

Renowned collector Ivan Hrechko said that his dream was for the donated collection to be presented in its entirety and for it to be in good hands.
Renowned collector Ivan Hrechko said that his dream was for the donated collection to be presented in its entirety and for it to be in good hands.

These crosses are examples of sacral art in the collection of the Ukrainian Catholic University, collected from all around Lviv and Ternopil Oblasts by Rev. Rostyslav Hodyak. They are typical artifacts of folk sacral art. Featuring astronomical themes from the pre-Christian era, these cupola crosses expand your understanding of faith horizons, bring in an inherent sense of otherworldliness that, thanks to modern technology, can be surveyed by observing the sky and various objects in outer space. For Ukrainian followers of Christ, the sun, moon and stars have forever been the basis of their religion, as tangible as the Holy Scripture and icons in the corner of our houses.

One has a somewhat similar experience of proximity when we look at the Brand. This is it for the artist and curator. Now it is up to the viewer to go deeper and higher in her reflection of the two symbols.

Reaching out to the wider Lviv community from its first exhibition, the UCU Contemporary Art Gallery aims to help students enlarge the interaction with the larger world, enhance the quality of this communication (Photo: Andy Kozlov)
Reaching out to the wider Lviv community from its first exhibition, the UCU Contemporary Art Gallery aims to help students enlarge the interaction with the larger world, enhance the quality of this communication (Photo: Andy Kozlov)

In 2014, the Ukrainian Catholic University allocated 357 sq. m. for the UCU Gallery of Contemporary Art in the new academic building of the UCU campus in Lviv, Ukraine, home to students of history and participants in programs of the Lviv Business School, Institute of Leadership and Management and School of Bioethics.

This exhibition brings to life the UCU Contemporary Art Gallery and — with it — the UCU Art Museum. It is the first in a series of events planned in partnership with the University’s long-time friends – Pavlo Hudimov’s Ya Gallery Art Center.

By 2020, UCU plan to inaugurate a Museum building on the new UCU campus in Lviv. Meanwhile, they are already busy gaining experience of how to run a successful art museum so that, when the move is made into the museum building, they know that it is fit for the collection, not the other way around.

The university’s core philosophy is that pieces in the collection appear throughout the campus – in signature buildings, churches, libraries, dining halls, meeting rooms, executive offices, residence halls, and on the university’s malls and lawns.

In 2013, the Museum of the Ukrainian Catholic University received its first sacral art gift. Noted collector Ivan Hrechko gave the UCU Art Museum 50 items from his private collection of Hutsul and Pokuttia icons on glass.

For years, UCU have been in talks with major Ukrainian masters of contemporary art. The list of artists that already donated work to the collection includes: Serhiy Hai, Mykhailo Demtsiu, Yuriy Koch, Borys Buriak, Serhiy Savchenko and the mastermind behind the New Ukrainian Landscape, Anatoliy Kryvolap, whose work “Horse. Evening” garnered USD 186,200 at London’s Phillips Day auction in 2013. Works by these artists are held by private collections in the US, France, UK, Germany, Israel, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, and Canada.

By 2020, UCU plan to inaugurate a Museum building on the new UCU campus in Lviv
By 2020, UCU plan to inaugurate a Museum building on the new UCU campus in Lviv

For more details, photography, comments from people behind the exhibition please contact:

Andriy Kurochka of UCU Art Museum in Lviv, 0676726228, severus1@ucu.edu.ua,
Vira Loi, Project Coordinator in Kyiv, 067 547 22 86, pr@gudimov.com.
Ya Gallery Art Center in Kyiv, vul Khoryva, 49Б, /044/ 492 92 03, in Dnipropetrovsk, vul Husenka, 17, /056/ 713 57 13

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