In December 2017 at the National Museum of Ukraine was presenting a project that depicted Kharkiv art over the past hundred years. It included works reflecting the development of the avant-garde influence on the artistic trends of the city.
Saying avant-garde art meaning not the beginning of the twentieth century, curators use this term in the wider sense, without reference to the specific historical period. Considering avant-garde art as an art, described\ expressed by an experimental approach to artistic creativity that goes beyond the template of classical aesthetics, using original, innovative means of expression.
From the moment of appearance, avant-garde has become very important for Kharkiv. The city has created the right conditions for the avant-garde movement, there were born innovations and progressive ideas. Over the past hundred years, cultural life in Kharkiv has developed particularly fast. Theater, literature, painting, design, architecture, photography has its own creative artist. Vasyl Yermilov, Les Kurbas, Borys Kosarev, Vagrich Bakhchanyan, Vitalii Kulikov, Boris Mikhailov — these are just a few names that are already statements. And all these authors were born, lived or worked in Kharkiv.
“HA City” is a curatorial project dedicated to one of the most important aspects of the avant-garde art in Kharkiv – a text, a symbol and a sign. Those objects of the project appeared by design; the textual and symbolic components have been distinctive for the visual art in Kharkiv for the past hundred years. This happened due to its history and cultural environment, where all forms of art are interlinked with each other, and a text becomes as important as a color or a line. Having identified these three elements, the curators trace is development and mutual influence in the art of the 20th century – the most difficult and important period for Kharkiv.
The project combines constructivism and new wave artists, photographers and painters, traditional techniques and new media. The main characters of the exhibition were: Derzhprom, avant-garde artists of the early 20th century (Vasyl Yermilov, Borys Kosarev, Mariya Sinyakova), representatives of conceptualism and non-conformism (Vagrich Bakhchanyan), Kharkiv School of Photography (Boris Mikhailov, Yevhen Pavlov), “heirs of the avant-garde” (Vitalii Kulikov, Pavlo Makov) and contemporary artists of Kharkiv.
The curatorial statement tried to capture the way of each new generation in Kharkiv culture, each new avant-garde movement, opened up a new essence of things and innovation. The public program of the exhibition was accompanied by theoretical, educational and discussion platforms, as well as infographics – a scheme that traces the development of Kharkiv culture over these past 100 years in three main vectors: Time, Events, People.