Book Review: 'In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s'
In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine,1900–1930s published by Thames & Hudson accompanies an exhibition which is currently at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid and moves to Museum Ludwig in Cologne in June.
Co-edited by Konstantin Akinsha, Katia Denysova and Olena Kashuba-Volvach, this handsome book presents the ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine by artists including Alexander Archipenko, Oleksandr Bohomazov, Mykhailo Boichuk, Sonia Delaunay and Alexandra Exter in the early 20th century against the backdrop of war, revolution and sovietization.
Sixteen generously illustrated, individually authored essays examine the influences (modern, folk, European, Russian); experimentation; and search for a national identity that characterise early 20th-century Ukrainian art. Compelling profiles of Alexandra Exter, Oleksandr Bohomazov, Oleksandr Khvostenko-Khvostov, and others underline how instrumental these artists were in spreading the modernist spirit.
The book is structured into four sections focusing on the three cultural centre of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa. A final section of essays explores the Aftermath of this incredible period of Ukrainian creativity through the work of Ukrainian emigrés including Sonia Delaunay and Archipenko and through the Ukrainian art exhibited at the 1928 Venice Biennale.
At the heart of the book, there is a plate section with large scale crisp illustrations of artworks. The book is rounded out by Picture Credits and an Index.
This is the most comprehensive survey of Ukrainian modern art to date. The book brings to life an astonishing period of creativity in Ukraine and all the movements it encompassed, all at a time of unimaginable political upheaval. With Russia once again embarked on a devastating mission to erase Ukrainian identity and culture, this important book and the exhibition it accompanies takes on a rare moral significance.
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Take a look inside the book