Modern art reigned supreme in the Kyiv Khanenko Museum


A large-scale exhibition with the participation of 15 authors filled all the halls of the museum.

With the introduction of martial law, the valuable collection in the Khanenko Museum, as in other Kyiv museums, was hidden, its halls were emptied.

In the summer of 2022, the project “Soldiers” by the modern Kharkiv artist Oleg Kalashnik was shown in the museum’s Asian exposition. This series of works entitled “Enfant terrible” was presented on February 22 at the Yermilov Center in Kharkiv. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began within a day. The center turned from an art site into a shelter, and the toy Kalashnik soldiers from art objects into amulets.

The project acquired additional meanings: the exhibition became both a foreboding project and a visualization of the terrible present. In the Khanenko Museum, the project was adapted to the halls of the Asian exposition.

October 10 as a result shelling in the center of Kyiv, the building of the Khanenko museum was damaged. In particular, in the museum with an explosive wave knocked out windows

There are no usual exhibits in the museum. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

Concept and themes of the project

The exhibition began with a useful cause – conservation and security of the house and collection. Then Maksym Poberezhskyi involved all his artist friends who were in Kyiv. In April, men remained in the city. A stay at the museum turned into a residence.

Maksym and 9 of his friends (Andriy Boyko, Bohdan Bunchak, Oleksandr Dolgyi, Andriy Sydorkin, Oleksiy Romanenko, Roman Mykhaylov, Ihor Makedon, Dobrynya Ivanov, Taras Kovach) were later joined by Kateryna Libkind, who agreed to become the curator of this project. She invited her artist friends: Dima Kazakov, Stanislav Turina, Oleksiy Shmurak, Viktor Borovyk, Valentin Radchenko.

It so happened that the participants are only men. Their art is vulnerable, in particular because most of the authors can find themselves at the front at any moment.

During the preparation of the project “Meanwhile in the house of the Khanenkos”, the authors tried to find connections with each other, with the museum and reality in general. The exposition turned out to be quite experimental and not at all similar to what was presented here before. It is something very homely and even looks like a lodger.

Hanna Starostenko at the exhibition. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

“The Khanenko Museum is one of the powerful cultural institutions of the capital, known for its serious collections of Western and Eastern art. Under martial law, they cannot be presented to visitors. Moreover, this institution suffered significant damage during the rocket attack and is currently preparing for restoration work. Nevertheless, the museum continues its work and even experiments with new forms of interaction between artists and art-hungry viewers,” she said. Hanna Starostenko, deputy head of KMDAwho visited the exhibition.

There are also videos among the works. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

The main themes of the exhibition, according to the curator:

  • “Where are we talking from?” — the exhibition seeks to tell about who and how it was created.
  • “Selection criteria”. By what criteria are the works admitted to the museum? How are they sorted? Who and how chooses what to save first? And if we have our own choice?
  • “Love”. This is a cross-cutting theme that inspired all participants. The museum itself is an act of love of Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko. And taking care of the museum and art makes this love even greater.
Unexpected exhibits await visitors. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

What they show

Items from the collection are displayed in empty showcases in various museum halls Stanislav Turina. The artist tried to select the exhibits according to the geographical principle according to the halls — China, India, Japan, Islamic countries and countries of Western Europe.

“I’m a flea market collector, I collect various things and works of friends,” admits Stanislav. — In fact, each hall has its own collection of dozens of exhibits. These are my memories. Their geographical diversity shows that everyone has objects that connect with the whole world and every continent.”

In the showcases there are things from the collection of Stanislav Turina. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

So, in the hall of Japan you can see a Chinese fan, ceremonial sneakers purchased for the Venice Biennale, a Soviet rope found in Pechersk, a beetle from a gearbox given by grandfather, a jar for storing small things, etc.

Nearby you can see bright works with incomprehensible inscriptions – the “Prayer Dictionary” series Bohdan Bunchak. The inscriptions are applied to the wrapping gift paper. These are the words of prayer.

The inscription on Bohdan Bunchak’s work is a prayer. Author’s photo

“In such a difficult time as we are now, it seems that the ability to pray disappears, it seems that your prayers are not heard,” explains the author. — The letters of prayers are cut out on the gift paper, which fall down unheard. One of the works is located on the floor. This is “Hope” on which everyone is symbolically trampling.”

In the middle of the next hall is a showcase of the “House” project. Artist Dima Kazakov shows the keys that his acquaintances left behind when they left their homes. Among other things, the shoes of the girl who was supposed to be his godmother, but went abroad, the ashes of his cat Ulysses, who died a month before the invasion, the only valuable thing left from his apartment.

In the “House” project, Dima Kozakov stole keys and things from different apartments. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

“Without residents, without those who give meaning to walls and things, justify the necessity of their existence, fill them with warmth, a house quickly ceases to be a home. It becomes an uninhabitable space, a warehouse of things, the author said. – This is a story about homelessness. About how I try to populate empty homes, support life in them, wait for these people, look for my home.”

The board, on which many figures are placed, attracts attention. This is Kamasutra Viktor Borovyk. In the past, he was a squadron commander in Afghanistan, and today he is the oldest and permanent patient of the Pavlov Hospital. Art literally saved him from the Afghan syndrome and stopped being just a sideshow. As Kateryna Libkind recalls, she saw this “Kamasutra” in the depths of his workshop, soldered with paint to the table.

Roman Mykhaylov turned the hall into a workshop. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

Another surprise is paintings with bright images in the ancient interior. Some canvases are placed on the floor. This is an artist’s project Roman Mikhailovwho used the museum as a workshop.

The room has an interesting play of light and shadows. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

Responsible for non-trivial lighting solutions in various halls Maxim Poberezhskyi. And the closet with colorful balls is a personal experience Oleksiy Romanenko after a volunteer trip to Bucha. He found there an image that embodied the joy of a birthday in the middle of a war – a balloon.

Multicolored balls are a personal memory of Oleksiy Romanenko during the war. Photo: Oleksiy Samsonov

There is a QR code next to each work. After it, the audio opens, in which the artists share their experiences and talk about their own project. We advise you to go through the exhibition accompanied by a curator or team members.

The next curated tour will take place on March 26 at 1:00 p.m. You can follow the schedule of events at Facebook pages the museum

When: until April 30, working hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Khanenko Museum, st. Tereshchenkovska, 15-17
Ticket price: 100 hryvnias, 50 hryvnias for students, pensioners and schoolchildren, 150 hryvnias for an excursion.

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Maria Kataeva

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