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Ukrainian Avant-garde of 1910s-1930s / Ukrajinska Avangarda 1910-1930

Muzej Suvremene Umjetnosti, Zagreb, Croatia

16.12.1990 - 24.02.1991

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The Ukrainian Avantgarde in Zagreb

Only a year after the exhibition of Kasimir Malevich's works loaned by the State Russian Museum in Leningrad, which presented one of the major artists of our century to the public, the Museum of Contemporary Art has again staged an exhibition of avantgarde artists of the early 20th century, featuring works from until recently inaccessible museum holdings in the USSR.

In collaboration with the Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts and The Museum of Theatre, Music and Film of the Ukraine in Kiev we have organized the exhibition UKRAINIAN AVANTGARDE 1910-1930.

Exhibitions of avantgarde movements in Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Russia, Czechoslovakia (De-vetsil), Bauhaus, Zenith, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, are a part of the programme endeavouring to present both the avantgarde movements in the first half of the century and those that we are witnessing.

Zagreb and Kiev, Croatia and the Ukraine, have traditionally good relations because they have much in common, in geo-political, religious and cultural terms. This is the basis for a lively cultural exchange aimed at better mutual understanding. Last year the Museum of contemporary Art organized a show of Ivan Mestrovic's sculpture in Kiev at the suggestion of the Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts. This was an oportunity for preliminary talks on a reciprocal exhibition of the works from the Kiev Museum holdings. It was felt that the most interesting choice would be an exhibition of the Ukrainian avantgarde from the beginning of the century which had never been completely presented to the public.

The final decision was made during the visit to Zagreb of Mr. Stanislav Vasylevich Koltunyuk, deputy minister of culture of the Ukraine and Mr. Sergei Mikhailovich Chaikovsky, head of the Museum Department in the Ministry of Culture of the Ukraine. We discussed future cooperation between the Museum of Contemporary Art and Ukrainian museums; our guests accepted our suggestion to prepare a first comprehensive survey of hitherto unknown Ukrainian avantgarde art and show it in Zagreb.

The agreement was soon officially verified and the protocol signed by the Ministries of Culture of the Ukrainian SSR and the SR of Croatia in September 1989 in Kiev.

The exchange of ideas between Branka Stipancic and Tihomir Milovac, curators of the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Mikhail Romanishin, director of the Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts, Ms. Irina Gorbachev, deputy director, Dmitry Gorbachev of the Theatre Institute and Mikhail Kolesni-kov, curator of the Bakhrushin Museum, begun in the summer of 1989 during the Mestrovic show, continued in June of 1990 when the concept of the exhibition was finalized.

This exhibition provides an insight into the period of 1910-1930 in Kiev, Kharkiv, Lvov and Odessa and the achievements in painting, sculpture, design, set and costume design which equal those of other avantgarde movements of the time, in both the USSR and the rest of Europe.

Aware of the importance of this event, we have decided to publish a catalogue which, besides the usual data and reproductions of the works by 28 artists exhibited, would include texts by prominent scholars in the field from the Soviet Union and abroad and the original texts by the artists themselves.

We are grateful to the Ministry of Culture of the Ukraine, particularly to Mr. Stanislav Vasylevich Koltunyuk; Mr. Mikhail Romanishin, director of the Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts and Ms. Lud-mila Kovalska, curator; Mr. Leonid Matat, director of the Museum of Theatre, Music and Film; other museums and private collectors who loaned the works for the exhibition.

Our thanks are due to the General Consulate of the USSR in Zagreb, particularly Mr. Valeriian D. Marusin.

Particular thanks are due to Mr. Dmitry Yemelianovich Gorbachev without whose great enthusiasm and vast knowledge this exhibition could not have been organized; his gracious help is gratefully acknowledged.

We should also like to thank the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Culture Funds of the city of Zagreb and Republic of Croatia for their assistance.

Marijan Susovski

Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art

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