Exhibition of paintings “The Current Reality. Genre Art: Drawing, Sculpture, and Painting” opened at the exhibition hall of the Crimean organization of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine in Simferopol on January 18, 2013. The exposition was created by the Association of Reserves and Museums of the Crimea, the Crimean organization of the Union of Artists of Ukraine, the Association of Art Historians and Art Critics of the Crimea together with the Ivan Franko Republican Universal Scientific Library. This is the Fifth Art Exhibition dedicated to the memory of the Crimean art historian and artist Rudolf Podufaly. Although this series of exhibitions was launched in 2009, this exposition is the first one in 30 years that presents genre art in painting. Before these exhibitions also brought together works by artists of different trends and genres. As a rule, at these exhibitions works of emerging artists were presented along with those of venerable masters. The main thing that united them all was a huge respect for the aesthetic principles used by Rudolf Podufaly in his work and promoted in every way in his art and everyday life. Painting Portrait of Art Historian Rudolf Podufaly made by Honored Artist of Ukraine Lev Balkind and placed in the “red corner” of the hall on the easel instead of being hanged on a wall, became the calling card of the exhibition.
Genre painting exhibition is one of the projects Podufaly wanted to realize as an art historian but never did. In his opinion, the essence of the genre painting must be “comprehensive interest in the everyday life of a man, man of streets, man of masses, crowds, interest in ‘current reality’ (after Fyodor Dostoevsky) as a generator of art events, aesthetic meanings…” The genre art itself for a number of reasons almost dropped out of sight of the Crimean artists, most of whom believe that it is anachronistic. Thus, the more valuable is the initiative of the organizers, who opened this issue for discussion.
The exhibition features 81 paintings of 49 artists. “Diverse palette of styles of the paintings presented at the exhibition, their depth and originality of conveying the topic of genre art and, at times, a brand new, modern interpretation of genre painting – these are the characteristic features of the exposition,” said the organizers of the exhibition. The exposition is complemented with the exhibition of books “Genre Painting,” prepared by the staff of the Ivan Franko Universal Scientific Library. On the last day of the exhibition a meeting of the Crimean artists with the art historians of the Crimea will be held. The participants of this meeting will make an attempt to identify ways for the development of this genre of art. By planning this, the organizers, in fact, dared to launch a new stage in the development of the Ukrainian art, to bring art closer to life and aesthetic needs of the audience.
“Undoubtedly, Rudolf Podufaly, art historian, art critic, chronographer, collector, curator, and promoter of the Crimean art history of the second half of the 20th century represents a whole epoch in the Crimean art,” said Serhii Pushkarev, executive director of the Association of Reserves and Museums of the Crimea, at the opening of the exhibition. “In terms of force of impact, depth and honesty paintings created by Podufaly equal to the epistolary heritage of another Crimea-born artist and writer Maximilian Voloshin. Phrase said by Alexander Herzen, however, said about on a different occasion, can be well applied to both of them. Herzen wrote that the kind of art they produced had ‘free vision, based on real life, on self-searching: it is clear, bright, and humane…’”
According to art historian Serhii Pushkarev, exhibition of such type could fairly be called “Unfulfilled Art” or “Lost or Unrealized Art of the Crimea.” This thesis is taken from the name of one, unfortunately, little-known article by Rudolf Podufaly filled with pain for the state of the Crimean art. Indeed, over the past decades there was no full-fledged exhibition, which would more or less demonstrate the state, and most importantly, the development or decline of genre art, organized in the Crimea. The organizers tried, despite the vigorous protests and often misunderstandings on the part of some professional artists, which may seem strange, to bring to the audience’s attention this important issue, revealing it straightforwardly, specifying its complexity, and freeing it from the dominating influence of traditions. Organizers of the exhibition, following Podufaly, are as if trying to answer the questions: What kinds of art have we already lost? What kinds of art are we losing now? And the inevitable question: What do we get instead?