NAA of Ukraine News

30 Years of Presence. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists

Last fall the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine hosted the exhibition "30 Years of Presence. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists", with the works of leading Ukrainian artists of the last decades represented within the frames of the exhibition.


The art that we now call timely, has been formed mostly in the conditions of independence – in the last thirty years. Thirty years is a considerable period for human life, yet, in the context of art history, quite a short moment. A moment when Ukraine has discovered significant authors, whose value and price have been time-proved, and whose works are now in many private and museum collections. 
"Thirty Years of Presence" allows us to see in one common space how our art grows up and develops, and how a new generation comes to the stage. However, it works here the same as with art history, when new knowledge does not eliminate the old: the new generation of artists does not replace the old but becomes equally important as another page of the story... Our artists are amazing in their dissimilarity and just as amazingly make a single whole of the art of our time.

Artworks displayed at the "30 Years of Presence. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists" exhibition on the premises of the NAAU

It all started in 2011, when Igor Abramovich, the project manager, came up with a new format of presentation and archiving of art: the book "30 Years of Presence. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists" was published to mark the twentieth anniversary of Ukraine's independence.

Exhibition venue of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine

The purpose of the exhibition "30 Years of Presence. Contemporary Ukrainian Artists" is to show a range of iconic, significant Ukrainian artists. This is the most complete, unbiased picture of what is happening at the contemporary art stage. Each artist in the exhibition is represented by one work or project, which is accompanied by a critical interpretation, history and details of its creation.
The works shown at the exhibition are with a considerable provenance (history of origin), known to an experienced viewer. Moreover, quite recent works are among them. Curators and organizers of the exhibition made every effort to ensure that the overall picture of the art scene was presented in all the diversity of artistic styles and techniques. In particular, the selection includes works by such artists as Victor Sydorenko, Anatoly Krivolap, Igor Gusev, Stepan Ryabchenko and many others.

The collection featured twenty artists of the "New Wave" generation (Arsen Savadov, Ilya Chichkan, Vasyl Tsagolov, Oleksandr Zhyvotkov, Igor Gusev and others) with a few selected artworks, a short biography and a brief description of the creative path of each of the artists.

Despite the high number of ratings of domestic artists in glossy and business magazines, ten years ago this publication a priori did not provide any comparison. Five years later, the book was reissued in two volumes. As a result of extensive research work, experts added the names of 83 authors to the compilation.

"Contemporary art in Ukraine is very mixed in its multi-voiced nature," writes art historian and critic Oleksandr Soloviev, "While in the early 1990s expressive, baroque, sensual, but apolitical artists came to the forefront, the generation that emerged after 2004 is characterized by a programmatic politicization and restraint of feelings. However, in the latter period, another art is simultaneously emerging, which again prefers the idea of aesthetic autonomy rather than a quick response to the evil of the day. If you look at the overall picture of Ukrainian art for thirty years of independence in terms of the development of different types, their dynamics, transformations in time, it will not be one-sided in terms of the influence of all these elements on the main thing - the history and features of the image itself."

"The presence lasting for three decades allows us to talk beyond capturing the current agenda, but also about how a cultural archive is being formed in real time – an invaluable heritage intended for its preservation and analysis, as well as for its well-deserved integration into the global artistic process," says Igor Abramovich about the project. "Formed at the brink of epochs, in that very space of search for a human dialogue between East and West, where it still exists against the backdrop of social and political turbulence, contemporary art of Ukraine not only requires internal comprehension but is also a phenomenon worthy of the attention of the international audience,” he states.