A Ukrainian Art Show Arrives Involuntarily On Time In Miami

Husband and wife gallerists Julia and Max Voloshyn had planned to return to Kiev last week to open a new show at their venue there. However, their stay in Miami and the pop-up exhibits there were prolonged as commercial air traffic ceased after Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

Titled “Memory in Your Face,” the show features the socially charged works of five Ukrainian artists. After arriving in Miami in November, she took a booth at two simultaneous satellite art fairs. Art Basel Miami BeachNADA and Anonymous Art — The Voloshyns contracted Covid and delayed their return for a month. In mid-January, they staged this impromptu show, curated by Untitled’s Omar Lopez-Chahoud, inside a small warehouse in the Allapattah neighborhood, with several prominent Ukrainian art collectors arriving in Miami in February.

“This is a documentation of what has happened in Ukraine over the past few years,” Julia Voloshyn said by phone from her Miami rental home where her husband and young children are staying.

One of Kadan’s pieces includes a screen-printed photograph of a building in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine that was partially destroyed after Russian forces invaded the area in 2014 and continued to support separatists there. The silkscreen is loosely attached to a metal shield, so “when the air moves it, it captures the fragility of our country and our lives,” Voloshyn continued. Now we see the same thing in Kiev.

Khomenko’s portraits depict ordinary working-class people beaten by social forces, their bodies forced against the limits of canvases.

A large painting by Sai from the “Bombed” series may at first glance seem like a mere geographical abstraction. But it does have a recent satellite image of the war-ravaged areas of the Donbas, superimposed on one of Sai’s earlier paintings on aluminum, then attacked with a metal grinder to simulate the craters left behind.

Still, Voloshyn’s mind remained focused on his gallery in Kiev. The building, which was used as a bomb shelter during World War II, when the German army besieged the city, is located under a seven-floor apartment. The Voloshyns had transformed it into a stylish space complete with wood flooring and tasteful lighting. Now it had become a sanctuary again, and Voloshyn had summoned the artists of his gallery to seek refuge there.

Saturday evening kadan He crouched inside the Kyiv gallery with a small group preparing for the weekend curfew. His first reaction to Thursday’s Russian invasion was stoicism. “I stayed in my apartment and watched old Ingmar Bergman movies,” he said via Zoom. By Friday evening the nearby explosions had become too loud to ignore and had been moved into the gallery.

“I have so many historical images in my head that I keep thinking: Sarajevo in the 90s, World War II. “Leningrad during World War II,” he said. “Sure, it will be different now. War is always contemporary, always different. But it’s also always bloody. There’s already a lot of blood.” He focused on young children hiding in adjacent underground bunkers. “Every time we go out for a smoke, we see this empty stroller,” he added sternly.

For Kadan, the role of an artist in this situation was clear: “to be a witness.” But he also knew that as Russian troops raided Kiev, many artists replaced their pens and brushes with bottles to make Molotov cocktails. “I am emotionally ready. But technically, to be honest, I’m not,” he explained. “I have addressed the reality of war in my art, but I have never held a real weapon in my hand. Maybe I’ll throw an empty champagne bottle into the tanks. I do not know.”

Khomenko and his family also initially sought refuge in the Voloshyn Gallery. A activist During Ukraine’s Maidan 2014 revolutionwas excited to see both soldiers and civilians banding together to resist the current occupation. However, Kadan had begged Khomenko to think of his 11-year-old daughter and move west to safer land.

A heated argument ensued for an hour, and a heated argument ensued with Khomenko’s grandmother, who had experienced the German attack on Kiev in 1941 and now firmly refuses to leave the city. Finally on Friday, Before the Ukrainian army started blowing up the city’s bridges for defensive purposes.Khomenko, his daughter, husband, sister and mother, his mother’s cat and Khomenko’s dog, all crammed into his aging Czech-made Skoda, went to a friend’s house in the small western city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

“I’ve been driving for over 24 hours,” said Khomenko, visibly exhausted, via Zoom on Saturday night. To avoid any collisions, “we tried to stay away from the main roads between villages but those back roads are very bad so it is stressful. It’s completely dark, very rough.”

Left behind is a sprawling array of canvases he’s been working on for the past five years and scheduled for display at a history museum in Kiev in June. he originally inspired with his grandfather’s 1941 German sketches infestation: “I wanted to compare the real war experience with the socialist-realist propaganda of the period.” Except when the comparison suddenly becomes too real update. His mind was already racing as he thought out loud about Russia’s latest digital propaganda and the war scenes he had seen – and felt – firsthand.

“Painting has its own language with a deep tradition. I want to work with this tradition, mix socialist realism with internet visuals, bring it together and build a new image,” he continued, before catching himself. He stopped and nodded: “This is so crazy. We lived so normally and then we became meat trying to escape.”

The Memory On Your Face

At 676 NW 23rd St. in Miami through March 28. To schedule a free visit, email: voloshyngallery.miami@gmail.com.

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