How does artistic life flourish during revolution and conflict? Ukraine in the early 1900s endured unimaginable political upheaval, yet this became a period of true renaissance in Ukrainian art, literature, theatre and cinema.
In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s presents the ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine in the early 20th century, focusing on the three key cultural centres of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa. Against a complicated socio-political backdrop of collapsing empires, World War I, the revolutions of 1917 with the ensuing Ukrainian War of Independence, and the eventual creation of Soviet Ukraine, several strands of distinctly Ukrainian art emerged.
While émigrés such as Sonia Delaunay and Alexander Archipenko found fame outside their homeland, the followers of Mykhailo Boichuk focused on Byzantine revivalism, and the artists of the Kultur Lige sought to promote the development of contemporary Yiddish culture. The first avant-garde exhibitions in Ukraine featured the radical art of Davyd Burliuk and Alexandra Exter, and the dynamic canvases of the Kyiv-based Cubo-Futurist Oleksandr Bohomazov. In Kharkiv, Vasyl Yermilov championed the industrial art of Constructivism, while Vadym Meller, Anatol Petrytskyi, Oleksandr Khvostenko-Khvostov and Borys Kosarev revolutionized theatre design. The attempt to build a national identity in Ukraine resulted in a polyphony of styles and artistic developments across a full range of media – from oil paintings, sketches and sculpture to collages, cinema posters and theatre designs.
Twelve internationally renowned scholars, including curators from the National Art Museum of Ukraine, bring to life this astonishing period of creativity in Ukraine and all the movements it encompassed.