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“Before the war” – new exhibition at the Odessa Fine Art Museum


Today, July 30, a new exhibition was opened at the Odessa National Fine Art Museum for the first time since the start of the war. “Before the war” is the exposition’s name, which was prepared before February 24th.

Before the war, this is how millions of Ukrainians at the end of winter marked the beginning of a full-scale Russian invasion. This gap in the linear perception of historical and personal time is associated with the experience of the loss of loved ones, forced flight; destruction of Ukrainian cities by the aggressor; the heroism of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But despite this traumatic caesura – the experience consciously transferred by the community – there remain constant processes that restore the torn fabric of life with their weight.

The museum has known several large waves of new arrivals to its collection. Donation of the drawing school of the Odessa Society of Fine Arts; distribution of expropriated private collections by the museum fund; replenishment of losses after years of occupation and evacuation during World War II. Each of these waves radically changed the image of the museum.

We were preparing for a new wave in the “pre-war” year of 2021. The donations of artists and collectors, the unfailing support of the Marazli Club and the targeted budget program that Alexander Roytburd organized two months before his death enriched the museum with six hundred and seventy new exhibits. The public has already seen part of it in the new exposition “From the twenties to the twenties”. According to the dry museum phrase, “new storage unit” means months of searches and negotiations, documentary support for transparent procurement, restoration, stock, and scientific work.

The corpus of new arrivals significantly expands the scope of museum media. To the traditional triad of visual art — painting, graphics, sculpture — new arrivals add artistic and documentary photography, video and digital art, installation, and non-object art. The focus of the Museum’s collection has expanded from local art to the national scale, which corresponds to the new status of the museum and the challenges of the times.

The corpus of new arrivals demonstrates an attempt to bring museum collecting closer to the artistic serial practices of contemporary art. After all, this is not just a chronological section of contemporary Ukrainian art and the diversity of its practices. This is a premonition of an everyday existence shared by Ukrainians today. The incomprehensible prophetic language of art, you understand “after”, not “before”.

The exhibition presents:

  • APL315
  • Oleksandr Atsmanchuk
  • Polina Verbytska
  • Oleg Holosiy
  • Alisa Gotz
  • Igor Gusev
  • Vasyl Dmytryk
  • Dmytro Erlikh
  • Nikita Kadan
  • Taras Kobylyuk
  • Anastasia Kolybabchuk
  • Nikita Kravtsov
  • Oleksandr Kurmaz
  • Sergey Lykov
  • Kateryna Lysovenko
  • Mykola Lukin
  • Evgeny Nikiforov
  • Aleksa Mann
  • Viktor Pokidanets
  • Vlada Ralko
  • Nina Savenko
  • Andriy Sagaydakovskyi
  • Denis Salivanov
  • Tatiana Sklyar

You can visit the exhibition according to the updated schedule of the museum: Thursday – Friday from 11:00 to 17:00, Saturday – Sunday from 11:30 to 19:00. Personal tours of the exhibition can be ordered at the museum ticket office. In the event of an air alert, all visitors will be invited to descend to the grotto (the safest place in the museum complex).