Ukrainian Art Abroad

Culture Ukraine

The Ukrainian project Nord Art Ukraine 2021 unites 22 Ukrainian artists, sculptors, and art unions that presented their creative achievements at one of the largest annual European contemporary art exhibitions – NordArt in Büdelsdorf. Ukraine has become more than just a participant in the exhibition. In 2021, Ukraine as a country focus with the theme “The Borders of Reality” took its place in the 2000-square-metre central pavilion.

The exhibition began 4 June and runs until 11 October 2021. More than 200 artists from 40 countries, whose works have been praised by reputable experts, are taking part in this large-scale cultural event.

At the end of 2019, Ukraine was declared the country focus of NordArt 2020. However, in 2020, the planned event had to be canceled for the first time in the history of the international project, which was launched in 1999; it was due to the risks associated with Covid-19.

Despite the difficulties in forecasting the future and finding funds to transport the works of Ukrainian artists, the NordArt organisers announced preparations for the exhibition in 2021.

The title of the Ukrainian exhibition – “The Borders of Reality” – reflects its essence and the efforts made by the organising group to make the project happen. Each Ukrainian art object embodies the artist’s personal perception and carries a separate emotional context.

How were Ukrainian works perceived?Culture Ukraine

A large number of professional collectors and experienced art connoisseurs, who would hardly come to Ukraine specifically to get an insight into contemporary art, came to look at the Ukrainian art.

Daryna Momot, curator of NordArt Ukraine, noted, “Ukraine is just beginning to enter the process of interaction of the art environment, art management, and creative management with the state and business. We are working out the tools and ways of this interaction. Active art management has already learned how to cooperate with the few state institutions that really support cultural processes, taking into account all the difficulties that the current legislation creates for the process. This is a very inconvenient and time-consuming multi-level process of raising money, which significantly slows down the development of cultural processes.”

There is a huge amount of work behind the organisation of any exhibition. The Nord Art Ukraine team told Promote Ukraine about an unpleasant point – the lack of actual support for cultural events both in the Ukrainian media landscape and from government agencies and businesses.

Oleksandr Tseholnyk, project commissioner said, “Over almost two years of project preparation, the government agencies completely disregarded our requests. The project either did not receive any response or was told that the issue did not concern the overall activities of the agency.”

Regarding a few words about the business environment, almost all big businesses approached by the Ukrainian Nord Art team answered that they were not very interested since the events took place, but in Ukraine. Another answer was no better: “This year, unfortunately, the expenditures on support for third-party projects are not projected.”

The activity of cultural life and the development of a creative and artistic environment testifies to the success and sustainable development of the state. It must be acknowledged that interaction with cultural management in Ukraine is gradually growing. But compared to Europe, where these processes have existed for centuries, Ukraine is just embarking on its journey.

It embarks on like this: with individual presentations and private initiatives of individual tandems or groups of managers and curators who cooperate in some collaborations (both domestic and external). Just like the project of Nord Art Ukraine. scale was created and implemented. But the dynamic of this movement is still too slow. We are waiting for positive changes.

Natalia Tolub

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