A new book celebrates the daring Ukrainian avant-garde art of the 1960s

A new book celebrates the daring Ukrainian avant-garde art of the 1960s

3 August 2020
Images: Osnovy Publishing

The groundbreaking book The Art Of Ukrainian Sixties has now been translated from Ukrainian into English and is available for pre-orders.

Edited by acclaimed art historian and scholar Olha Balashova and art critic and independent curator Lizaveta Herman, the book includes images of, and texts on, 15 nonconformist artists of one of the most daring underground cultural movements in USSR, which bloomed across Ukraine in cities including Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhhorod, and Odesa.

The 60s Ukrainian nonconformist art movement saw the development of a diversity of styles which moved away from the official socialist realism. But this courage had unfortunate consequences for many artists. Odesan artists Opanas Zalyvakha and Stefaniia Shabatura, who pursued more radical aesthetics, were imprisoned, while figures like Alla Horska, who also became known for her human rights activism, was allegedly murdered by the state.

The Ukrainian nonconformist artists practiced their art underground, and their first two collective exhibitions took place in 1975 and 1976 in private flats in Moscow, where more cultural freedoms were afforded than in Soviet provinces.

In addition to profiles of individual artists who participated in those exhibitions, like Viktor Maryniuk, Viktor Zaretsky, and Roman Selsky, the book also discusses official genres, such as graphics, monumental art, and sculpture, which tended towards experimentation during the Thaw.

Published by the independent Kyiv-based Osnovy Publishing, The Art Of Ukrainian Sixties has galvanised Ukrainian interest in often-neglected unofficial Soviet cultural legacy. Previous Osnovy titles include Soviet Modernism. Brutalism. Post-Modernism. Buildings and Structures in Ukraine 1955-1991, Balcony Chic, and the travel guides to Ukraine series Awesome! Interesting Things You Need to Know.

Get your copy here.

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