Зала №3
ARTISTIC TEXTILES: EVOLUTION. From tradition to concept
6 June 2024 - 7 July 2024

Contemporary artistic textiles are about authenticity, uniqueness, therapeutic practices, technological and visual possibilities for the realization of ideas of contemporary artists. We can almost touch its evolution from the 1980s to the present day in our exhibition, which is quite intimate, a bit daring, and quite eloquent. It brings together figurative and abstract, planar and three-dimensional, traditional and conceptual works by amateurs and professionals, villagers and urbanites, beginners and well-known masters. The authors are from Bukovyna, Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Khmelnytskyi, and Cherkasy regions – the local geography of the project, organized with the participation of the Donetsk Regional Art Museum (Kramatorsk).

Over time, craft traditions in the hands of contemporary artists are turning into a modern tool for new opportunities for artistic expressions devoid of applied or decorative functions. Some authors consciously choose the path of continuing traditions, while others give a new vector of development to a seemingly archaic technology.

The materials, techniques, and ornamentation of the traditional spindles, carpets, and blankets woven in the 1980s by talented Kosiv craftswomen have remained unchanged for centuries. The tapestries of the late 1980s and early 1990s by Natalia Pauk, Bohdan Hubal, and Tetiana Myskovets, who each graduated from the Lviv Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts, are characterized by a high pictorial and plastic culture. The artists, firmly grounded in tradition, outline ways to search for figurative and technological innovations: the compositions of the tapestries fulfill tasks similar to non-figurative painting of the period.

The unconventional work with the texture and forms of the woven field in the tapestries of Nadiia Boretska and Volodymyr Petrovskyi has been going on for decades. The source and thematic base of these works is mostly traditional: nature, beliefs, history, and culture of Ukraine. Boretska’s “Sea” is exhibited unfinished deliberately to provide an opportunity to see part of the process of creating a tapestry-the so-called “frame” on which it is woven.

The assemblages of Andrii Kaptar and Olha Kurska model compositions that equally involve traditionally created tapestries and redesigned elements that contribute to the actual problematic of the works – spent 30-caliber cartridges given to the artist by the military and a training model of the human heart found by the artist in an abandoned village school. At first, Liza Obukhovska’s work seems to be based on textiles that do not play a special role. However, it is the cascade of threads that intensifies the emotional tension, releasing and materializing the lines of composition of the painting.

A new potential of the traditional smooth weaving technique is revealed in the tapestries of Tetiana Pyroh and the artist who works under the pseudonym Kinder Album due to unexpected semantic contrasts and combinations. “Kinder Album is one of the most witty, sincere and ruthlessly accurate Ukrainian artists in her own observations. The Great War added a new depth to her practice. The artist does not take her and our eyes off the complex and traumatic. Instead, she offers other forms for understanding the experience of war and refugee, fear and longing, death and the desire to live in spite of everything.” (Maria Lanko and Lizaveta Herman).

The above can also be said about Tetiana Pyroh, who breaks the patterns of established expectations surrounding her favorite tapestry technique, and puts her personal research and experience at the center of the works’ issues. The infantile technique of amigurumi (the Japanese art of knitting small creatures or anthropomorphized objects) in the artist’s hands turns into a conceptual medium through which she sharply, cleverly and frankly conducts a dialogue with the viewer on serious and painful socio-political topics.

The exhibition brings together not only masters of traditional and contemporary carpet weaving, but also artists of a wide age range and professional experience: From the pupils of the children’s art group “Bluebird” from the village of Prelesne in Donetsk region with their carpet-making technique and students of Khmelnytskyi National University (Department of Technological and Vocational Education and Decorative Arts) with their non-woven tapestries to professional teachers of art schools and universities and active participants in the contemporary artistic process in Ukraine and abroad. Our museum is a consistent supporter of the principle of equal access to artistic life and the possibility of self-realization for all creative individuals, regardless of age, experience, geography, gender, nationality, physical or mental condition, religious or political beliefs. After all, it is only with our diverse and polyphonic group that we are strong and interesting to each other and, hopefully, to the whole world.

This year, at the largest international exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2024, artists from all over the world presented a surprisingly large number of works in various artistic textile techniques. Ukraine did not stand aside: Oleksandr Burlaka’s work “Work” consists of dozens of strips of traditional homespun cloth from the 1950s and 1960s from different regions of Ukraine, which serve as a backdrop for stories about the events of the war in other works of the project. “The days and hours spent in monotonous labor were the embodiment of hope for the future and care for those who would live afterwards. At the same time, weaving can be a therapeutic collective practice that helps many people survive difficult times” (from the text in the Ukrainian pavilion ‘Weaving Nets’).

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