On March 28 the eight-day literary-artistic festival “KobzarT” was launched in the Cultural Communication Area “Lavra.” The exhibit “What now? The power of art. Ukrainian art in the period of crisis, reflections, and grief” was opened within the framework of the festival.
This is not the first attempt of the Lavra Gallery to synthesize various kinds and genres of art, because it has already hosted synthetic projects, although not so large-scale. But this is a significant event, because now things will be called by their names, in particular, according to the head of the Lavra Gallery Tetiana Myronova, in such a way the municipal gallery has turned into an area of cultural communication. She said, “This is a communication of all kinds of art you can only imagine. This is as well a communication between people and generations. It coincided with our desire to commemorate Shevchenko’s anniversary with some kind of event. This is how we came up with an idea of the festival ‘KobzarT,’ which combines music, poetry, cinema, and contemporary visual art.”
Art director of the festival Bohdan Horobchuk noted that the event will differ from all the versatile celebrations of Shevchenko’s anniversary: “We perceive the 200th bicentennial of Shevchenko’s birth not as a date to commemorate only because it is a tradition or merely because Shevchenko is a great prophet or moral authority. All this is good, but for ‘KobzarT’ Shevchenko is above all an outstanding artist, a brilliant poet and artist.”
Maybe that is the reason why the festival was launched with a vernissage “What now? The power of art.” Its curator Rainald Schumacher noted, “The idea of the exposition emerged during the revolution. This exhibit is very important, because the thing is about the power of art which lies in having an opportunity to look at something from a different angle, see other points of view, contemplate, and change our world outlook.”
In particular, the video art by Maria Kulykovska “To beat or not to beat” is a kind of an allusion to Hitler Germany and Olympiad of 1936, which we know from Leni Riefenstahl’s works. Kulykovska filmed herself. After moving gracefully, the girl breaks the columns made of bricks of burned salt with a hammer. It happened in the hall of PinchukArtCentre, where the artist sneaked with an aim to finish her work by an artistic ruination. “This is a very open approach,” Schumacher resumes with admiration, “and a very poetic work.”
Apparently, Ksenia Hnylytska’s work Fragility of Identification appears to be the most topical these days. “It’s amazing how artists can foresee the events,” Schumacher reflects. Passports of a citizen of Ukraine and a citizen of the Russian Federation were made of coal clay long before the Crimean events. As well topical is the work Souvenir by Serhii Popov, which shows the destruction of the Lenin monument, which breaks into pieces, and people from the crowd take them as a souvenir.
Volodymyr Kuznietsov’s work executed in red, black, and white colors turned out to be the biggest one. It extends from one wall to another and tells about the recent events in Kyiv. A figure in black stands motionless, surrounded by blood. “But there are very touching moments, if you look at small figures of people. There’s a person who reads and a person who sits at a laptop. They symbolize the everyday moments of the Maidan,” Schumacher noted.
Lesia Khomenko’s portraits under the general title “Maidan Paintings” are copied from the originals which were left for the Maidan activists. They show many well-known faces, including Serhii Nigoyan. Incidentally, this young man is shown in the recently presented film by Serhii Proskurnia, Our Shevchenko, where he recites an extract from Shevchenko’s Caucasus. But this cannot be called otherwise than some kind of a fatal accident.
Artist Anatolii Bielov, who illustrated Yurii Andrukhovych’s play Albert, or the Highest Form of Execution, and is well known to admirers of contemporary literature, presented in Lavra his sketches for musical Sex, Medicinal, Rock and Roll, called by the curator of the exhibit somewhat romantic paintings. “This is an attempt to create a film screenplay. I wrote it with the help of paintings as a method, via visual means,” the author says, “These works are a transitional period, like sketches or notes, not finished paintings, but just material. Recently an opportunity emerged to shoot a part of a film, and the video is already on the Internet. Actually, it is going to be a feature film.” Bielov’s visual works include song lyrics and stories from newspaper cuts.
The poetry evening “Mustachioed Shevchenko,” which was brilliantly organized, produced an unforgettable impression on the guests of the festival. Thirty poets of different ages recited their verse, wearing a moustache – real or false. That was the way they tried to put themselves into Taras’s shoes, but in the end made themselves a subject of irony. Those included Yevhenia Chupryna, Maria Vlad, Taras Malkovych, Oksana Hadzhii, and many others. The hosts, the Kapranov brothers, supported these “30 Spartans” from literature with jokes, bywords, and witty notes. “When Shevchenko was depicted with a moustache on notes, hryvnia was stable,” they mentioned the fluctuations of the currency course, “The inflation started as soon as Tihipko deprived him from the moustache.”
Some poetic or theater event took place every day during the “KobzarT” festival and was followed by performances of music bands, such as Teleri, the duo of the abovementioned Kapranov brothers, Khrystyna Khalimova’s band, folk band The Doox, voTsap, bard Orest Krysa, etc. During the poetry slam the poets competed in reading poems, Shevchenko’s and their own. And the project Litposhta (Literature Mail) tried to attract the audience to traditional correspondence.
The festival did not ignore the works of modern composers. In particular, this direction was opened by the powerful video work by Zinaida Likhacheva Autumn Is So Nice, created to the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko’s birth. The author visualized the traditional image of woman-Ukraine, which in the end of the video becomes a modern image.
Tetiana Myronova hopes to make “KobzarT” an annual event and continues to work in the direction of synthesis of art. In particular, the Slovosad (Word Garden or Planting Words) action was announced to take place in April. The show will include not only poetic readings, but also planting of trees on the territory of the Lavra Cultural Communication Area. And in the near future a festival of street music will be held within its walls. The administration of the gallery has also announced that they are open for interesting proposals from artists.