On August 25 the action “Art Everywhere” will start in Great Britain: reproductions of 57 artworks by national artists will be displayed on 22,000 billboards across the country. The works were selected by the British public by voting in Facebook. Interestingly, the project is funded partially by these citizens. Nearly 46,000 dollars were raised by the action’s website. The project aims at “achieving maximum broad admiration,” ITAR-TASS writes.
“This is a wonderful action that gives voice to public, as well as an opportunity to choose what people want to see on their streets,” contemporary British artist Damien Hirst commented on the project. One of his works took the 48th place out of 57 in the Internet voting and will adorn the British streets. On the whole, most of the artists whose works the Brits want to see on billboards are classics. Places one to three went to canvases by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917), John Everett Millais (1829-96) and Francis Bacon (1909-92). By estimations of the authors of the project within two weeks up to 90 percent of adult population of Great Britain will see the pictures. The unusual exhibit will take a variety of advertising spaces – from escalators and car parks to shopping malls and taxi cabs.
Ukrainehas also seen attempts to insert the works of art in the life space of city residents, although not on such scale as in Britain. Here it is worth mentioning that in April 2008 the Art-potiah (Art Train) train appeared in Kyiv metro. Its carriages featured pictures of five Kyiv artists. Poster sites along subway escalators featured works by Anatolii Tarkovsky. Within the framework of “Culture Layer,” a project of MMM art group, the artists hang 50 painted copies of well-known paintings in the lifts of Kyiv’s residential houses in summer 2012. It is also worth to mention the project “Exhibit in Hallway” which lasted for the past year. Works of young Ukrainian artists, both professionals and amateurs, were on display in the staircases of ordinary buildings. Incidentally, the reprints are still hanging on the walls of seven hallways out of ten, the organizers of the action, Svidomo Public Service, report.
However, those are single actions, which embrace a small circle of people and not always offer specifically Ukrainian culture product. The Day asked people, if such project was launched in Ukraine, which works of Ukrainian artists they would like to see in our streets. In particular, we asked this question to our readers on Facebook. The fact that people started to answer actively and reposted the survey indicated that the topic is really interesting for Ukrainians. We want to see the works of both classical, and young contemporary artists. The works by Maria Pryimachenko, Ivan Trush, Kateryna Bilokur, Taras Shevchenko, Tetiana Yablonska, Nykyfor Drovniak, Mykhailo Boichuk, Oleksa Novakivsky, Oleksandra Ekster, Davyd Burliuk, Vasyl Sedliar, Viktor Palmov, Kazymyr Malevych are the most popular, as well as those by father and son Yakutovych, Ivan Marchuk, Anatolii Kryvolap, Matvii Vaisberh, Pavlo Makov, young artists, like Kateryna Kosianenko and Yulia Hushul, and many others. Petrykivka painting and folk art were present among the answers, too. The survey indicated as well that users of social networks know Ukrainian artists and have favorite works. They believe that the British project is quite possible in Ukraine. Moreover, it is important and necessary.
By Maria SEMENCHENKO, The Day
“SUCH PROJECT WOULD HAVE INCREASED IN ME THE PRIDE FOR UKRAINE”
Hanna HOPKO, public activist, journalist, head of department of advocacy and advancing of legislation of the Coalition of Civic Organizations and Initiative “For Ukraine free from tobacco smoke”:
“I was pleasantly surprised to see for the first time the reproductions of the paintings by Kyiv artists on poster sites in Kyiv subway. I thought to myself, whose brainchild was it to add some aesthetics to our routine? Regrettably, reproductions do not change. This would be a proper thing to do: instead of frequently disgusting ads, which add fuel to consumers’ culture, to see reproductions of classic masterpieces and much-discussed works of contemporaries, who have toshape the aesthetic taste of Ukrainians and help to improve it. This can be done by works by brilliant Taras Shevchenko, symbolical faded flowers or unusual cycle of works ‘Life of Stubs’ by Ivan Trush, still lifes by Kateryna Bilokur, works by Oleksandr Arkhypenko, or by our contemporaries, such as Yurii Skandakov and Petro Smetana, Chernivtsi-based artist Ihor Khylko.
“Every time I go to Lviv, I visit art galleries, which showcase numerous pictures by Chernivtsi and Transcarpathian artists. As a reader of The Day I want to thank the editorial staff and Larysa Ivshyna for revealing to us the talents of artists, and with their help Ukraine, its beautiful corners, historical moments, moods of people, and events that froze in paint and varying styles of masters of the brush, on the last page of the newspaper. Ukraine needs a cultural revolution which would influence the minds of people, making them kinder, revealing the beauty of the world, bringing satisfaction, and charging positively. For this aim busy citizens do not need to go to museums or painting galleries, because the works will be on display on billboards. Such project would have reinforced the feeling of pride for Ukraine, underlined the talents of our nation, revealed new names. I think it would be interesting for tourists to see on city streets landscapes, still lifes, portraits of our classics instead of ads of global brands of drinks and garments. Society is transformed with the help of art projects. We need to shape people’s demand for quality art, arouse their interest with the help of the artists’ works.”
“THIS IDEA MAY SAVE THE SURROUNDING SPACE”
Tetiana SHCHERBACHENKO, author and researcher of children’s books:
“As a fan of children’s literature I join those who want to see the paintings of Ukrainian artists of European renown, who illustrate books for children: Oleh Petrenko-Zanevsky, Maksym Palenko, Kost Lavro, etc. Compared to those almost promotional ‘posters’ of some artists on subway escalators, there will be time and opportunity to feast one’s eye on street ‘picture galleries’ (in case with illustrators of children’s books, brighten moods). Sure, the thing is about the educational function, too (aesthetically, it is clear), as well as, to some extent, promotion of quality books. The idea may save the surrounding space, for these annoying pictures of mouths open in delight, food, ceramic tiles and bathroom fitment, half-naked girls and boys, trained ‘smiles,’ blinking on all sides, are already disgusting. Maybe, not museum paintings, but those available to us on a daily basis are even able to change the society. Besides, I will say in favor of children’s books illustrators: unfortunately, graphic methods of many talented artists which I would like to be presented to people in such a way (like my favorite Kateryna Kosianenko) can not always be shown in the street due to the intimacy of technique. But illustrations in children’s books are usually expressive. And who does not want to go back to childhood?”
“IT IS QUITE REAL TO IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA IN UKRAINE”
Ihor HULYK, chief editor of Lvivska gazeta:
“I assess this initiative quite positively, because in spite of the development of mass communication, worldwide Internet, etc., ordinary Europeans, including Ukrainians, are very little interested not only in pictorial art, but in culture which we traditionally call ‘high.’ We know, for example, such a phenomenon that residents of big cities where significant art objects or historical monuments are located, cannot always answer the question whether they visited those places. So, I will repeat the initiative of the British to place reproductions of canvases of national artists on billboards is a good idea, which is worth borrowing in the sense of enlightenment mission.
“It is quite real to implement this project in Ukraine. All the more so, some kind of local attempts have already taken place here. In particular, we have seen in Lviv reproductions of some canvases from the funds of the Lviv Painting Gallery on poster sites. As for artists, I would above all recommend the pictures by Liubomyr Medved, especially his Franko cycle, in particular, the illustrations to Moses. I think it is quite symbolical under current circumstances in Ukraine. Placing such reproductions on billboards would come as a great revelation to many people, who seem to be knowledgeable about contemporary art, but for the most part have never heard about Medved, or seen his works.”
ON SOCIAL REALITIES AND SET OF MIND IN PRESENT-DAY UKRAINE
Kostiantyn SKORKIN, political scientist, deputy head of the board of Literary Group “STAN,” Luhansk:
“I would especially want the streets to be adorned with the pictures of artists from the creative union ‘Freedom or Death,’ like Ivan Semesiuk or Andrii Yermolenko. It seems to me, namely the works of the authors of this group reveal quite aptly the social realities and mental set of present-day Ukraine. For example, lowlifes in the pictures of Ivan Semesiuk on billboards would seamlessly fit into the urban space of practically every Ukrainian city. But, of course, nobody will allow doing this in present-day Ukraine. The state professes the values of vulgar conservatism. For this kind of project to be realized, we need patrons from the golden youth.”
“URBAN MILIEU NEEDS A KIND OF HUMANIZATION”
Oksana KOLISNYK, journalist of online periodical Nashe kolo (Our Circle), Cherkasy:
“Probably the pictures by Mykola Hlushchenko, his landscapes, floral still lifes give an opportunity to rest eyes for residents of our megalopolises. This will be such an appropriate invasion of live lines and colors into generally gray, cold, sometimes pretentious space. The same mood is aroused by the works by Viktor Zaretsky: genre portraits, like Godfather flirts with godmother,” in particular Autumn sonata. Zawistowska’s Portrait. Very appropriate in the urban space may be the reproductions of works by Maria Pryimachenko and Kateryna Bilokur. On the whole, this is a very interesting idea, because the city milieu demands a kind of humanization, as they say today. And works of pictorial art may become a good way to implement it.”
Prepared by Tetiana KOZYRIEVA, The Day, Lviv; Viktoria KOBYLIATSKA, Cherkasy; Veronika BIRIUKOVA, Luhansk