The exhibition features the works that were created in the past 18 years by the artists from all the regions of Ukraine (it contains the retrospective of nearly 200 artists and over 700 works). By launching this exhibition Ukraine’s National Union of Artists wants to start a new tradition of presenting works of the well-known masters as well as works of the best senior students once in three years.
This practice will restore the Soviet-time tradition of holding the triennial of book graphic art “The Artist and the Book.” By the way, the last time modern Ukrainian graphics was presented to wide audience was in 1992. The current exhibition of book graphic art proved that the high level of Ukrainian graphics, which was set in the beginning of the last century by such world-wide known masters as Hryhorii Narbut, Anatolii Petrytsky, Heorhii Yakutovych, and others has the continuation and refreshment in theme and stylistics.
“For the first time the works of young artists, who were born and are now working in independent Ukraine, were presented at this exhibition. It is interesting that Ukrainian graphic art is becoming more uninhibited, and the European traditions of illustrating books are entering it more easily,” told the organizer of the exhibition, graphic designer Vasyl Perevalsky, to The Day.
A great impression is made by the variety of styles and author’s techniques: from fine lines of gouache to color-paper vytynankas (a form of papercutting) by Olena Hryshchenko. The illustrations to the Ukrainian folk story Yazykata Khveska (Khveska the Magpie) were made using an interesting technique by Iryna Kopysko from Kyiv: the author used graphics and applique work together in a nice manner (graphic characters of the story are placed on sackcloth with embroidered elements).
Well-crafted etchings, painted with aquarelle after the characters of Afghan fairy tales, made by Nadia Kirpenko stand out from the rest of presented works. She managed to convey the atmosphere of an Oriental fairy tale, with her drawings being close to Eastern decorative patterns with their curved and twisted lines. The illustration to the fairy tale Letiuchy korabel (Flying Ship) by Leonid Storozhuk are made in the cartoon style. The exhibition features new works of such well-known artists as Kostiantyn Lavro (Shevchenko Prize laureate of this year), Kateryna Shtanko, and also the works of young graphic designers Yevhenii Zaporozhets and Volodymyr Shtanko.
Among the exhibit items were the works of outstanding artists: the unsurpassed master of flexible lines Andrii Chebykin with his illustrations for the anthology of Ivan Franko’s poetry Ziviale Lystia (Withered Leaves), a series of graphic works for Taras Shevchenko’s works by Halyna Halynska, and also linocut compositions by Oleksandr Hubariev famous for their gracefulness. The masters of graphics Mykola Kompaniets and Valentyn Hordiichuk, who illustrated Shevchenko’s Kobzar, also presented their oeuvre.
The central place at the exhibition is allotted to the samples of the best Ukrainian book design starting from the cover and the flyleaf to page layout created by Andrii Budnyk and Volodymyr Rahozin. Their vision of book design realized in their work on Oleksandr Murashko by Larysa Chlenova, Ukrainian Modernism 1910–1930, and other pieces became the best representation of modern book design.
The delicate sensation of the time when the work was created and the implementation of different means of expressiveness to show the sharpness of the work are characteristic for etching illustrations made for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Ihor Kanivets. Illustrations for Taras Bulba by Serhii Ovcharenko especially stand out because of the peculiar perfection and clearness of the image.