Umělec magazine 2007/1 >> PINCHUK’s ART-OLEUM List of all editions.
Umělec magazine
Year 2007, 1
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription


Umělec magazine 2007/1


Alice Nikitinová | news | en cs de

The invitation for the celebration opening could be won on a radio program – if you had the right answer to the questions like, “What’s the name of the painting technique in which you put oil on canvas? – Oil painting! Oh, great, congratulations to our listener. You have just won a ticket to the opening of the Pinchuk Art Center!!!”…

In Kiev a Center of Contemporary Art was opened – Pinchuk Art Centrum. Considering there are only three galleries in Kiev that exhibit contemporary art, and art history at the Kiev Academy ends with Impressionism this is a noteworthy event. The founder of the center is the well-known Ukrainian oligarch and a son-in-law of the former president Kutchma, Viktor Pinchuk,(1) who has been collecting contemporary art for a few years, the curators of his collections are Nicolas Bourriaud(2) and Alexander Solovyov.(3) In the collection there are Ukrainian post-modern classics of the 90s (Alexander Gnilitsky, Institution of Unstable Thoughts, Volodymyr Kozhuhar, Arsen Savadov, Oleg Tistol, Vasyl Tsagolov, Illya Chichkan.), Russian artists of Ukrainian origin (Oleg Kulik, Boris Mykhailov, Serhiy Bratkov), as well as world-famous foreign artists (Xavier Veilhan, Subodh Gupta, Olafur Eliasson, Sarah Morris, Carsten Nicolai, Philippe Parreno, Navin Rawanchaikul, Thomas Ruff, Charles Sandison, Jun Nguen-Hatsushiba, Carsten Holler). The ceremony itself was closed to those without an invitation – but you couldn’t get in if your invitation was soiled or damaged. No wonder – the society at this action was very different from the usual opening public – no reckless bohemians but solid morose men in dark suits, accompanied by two-meter jeweled beauties. On the platform there was a huge instrumental group playing, on the many screens a montage of various contemporary art danced and on poles in cages danced gogo-dancers dressed as well-known artists. The names of the artists were written on the cages – just to be sure – in Cyrilic as well as the Roman alphabet: Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, and even Leonardo da Vinci. An openly expressed role of an artist in the present situation. In the public golden and winged muses were walking. From time to time the presenter glorified contemporary art in the style of a Prague. The local presenters of the event claim that Europe and the civilized world have finally entered Ukraine. But the role of the center is not clear. On one hand contemporary art has been given legitimacy and attention, on the other hand it is obvious that it has become an instrument of politics. Because contemporary art in Ukraine is still in a marginal position, there are no contrary opinions inside it; there are only its followers or opponents. In the present day situation the opponents join all the nationally and conservatively attuned groups but the followers are automatically put in the opposite camp. (By the way the present day president Yushchenko likes to show his personal taste which is pretty retrograde without respect to his pro-European orientation in politics, supports his favorite artists and prepares the opening of his own museum, a kind of a political competitor of Pinchuk’s center.) Another problem is that such an unexpected popularization of contemporary art absolutely distorts its original function, especially when its historical continuity is disturbed.(4) For a long time there have been only a few small, marginal galleries, visited by the same circle of people. Suddenly contemporary art is shown to a wide public in the form of an unexpected, grandiose show, exotic fun for the nouveau riche, a kind of a fashionable, trendy thing, without content – and the center stands in the commercial zone among luxurious boutiques. The choice of the works supports this image – mostly these are huge, visually “tasty” things, which can astound the inexperienced viewer. In the media the most discussed is a fire during the opening, or the prices of the exhibited works: “They say some exhibits cost thousands of dollars.” In this interpretation the art is deprived of any personal position and the collection becomes a mere cabinet of curiosities.

(1) Viktor Pinchuk is one of the richest people in Ukraine, owner of many enterprises in the metallurgy, coal and media industries and suppliers of gas, a former member of the parliament and advisor of the president Kutchma. After the Orange Revolution and the change of the government the court took part of his enterprises. Now he presents himself as a patron of culture, health care and law.
(2) Nicolas Bourriaud, known in the Czech Republic as the author of “Postproduction,” also one of the curators of the Moscow Biennale.
(3) Olexander Solovyov – Ukrainian theoretician and curator.
(4) Although many Russian avant-garde artists at the beginning of the century came from Ukraine, the local environment was never inclined towards any new orientations. The existing avant-garde groups were a marginal appearance and disappeared soon, most of the intelligence was turned to the traditional and national values, so that the opposition of the state-endorsed socialist realism was even more conservative than other forms of socialist realism. Western art was inaccessible for most people. Underground artists (with a few exceptions) painted very intimate lyrical painting which they exhibited at home. After the break-up of the Union the society started to look for their own identity - in their famous historical past and in “spiritualism.” At the academy of visual arts Socialist Realism degraded itself to a degraded salon art and the standard of quality was the “spiritual horizon.” At the beginning of the 90s came postmodern – in the form of the Ukrainian neo-baroque and the artists around the group of the “Parisian commune,” who already had connections to the Western and Moscow scenes, and who were supported by Bonito Oliva, for example. After this generation there were no more people – maybe it has to do with the fact that the interest in Ukraine dropped and contemporary art didn’t interest anyone – except for the Soros center, where the same people circulated – the artists of the 90s. Only now there is a new generation of young artists appearing. There are few of them, but there is a big interest. More and more positive information can be found at:



There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Terminator vs. Avatar: Notes on Accelerationism Terminator vs. Avatar: Notes on Accelerationism
Why political intellectuals, do you incline towards the proletariat? In commiseration for what? I realize that a proletarian would hate you, you have no hatred because you are bourgeois, privileged, smooth-skinned types, but also because you dare not say that the only important thing there is to say, that one can enjoy swallowing the shit of capital, its materials, its metal bars, its polystyrene…
Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution
An American poet was invited to the White House in order to read his controversial plagiarized poetry. All tricked out and ready to do it his way, he comes to the “scandalous” realization that nothing bothers anyone anymore, and instead of banging your head against the wall it is better to build you own walls or at least little fences.
African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
"In Cameroon, rumours abound of zombie-labourers toiling on invisible plantations in an obscure night-time economy."
04.02.2020 10:17
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
28 x 43 cm, Pen & Ink Drawing
More info...
558 EUR
652 USD
More info...
2,50 EUR
It may be tasteless, but above all it is shockingly anti-literary. In other words: it is literature! Nor should its side ...
More info...
11 EUR
13 USD
Cowgirl, 1994, acrylic painting on canvas, 45 x 36, on frame
More info...
1 250 EUR
1 462 USD


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts



Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford

London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom
Open on appointment


7 West Street, Hastings
East Sussex, TN34 3AN
, United Kingdom
Open on appointment

Ivan Mečl, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

Kyjov 37, 407 47 Krásná Lípa
Czech Republic
+420 222 264 830, +420 602 269 888

Open daily 10am to 6pm
and on appointment.


Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin
Germany, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open on appointment.



Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.