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ROY
TO THE SIXTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF OLEKSANDR ROITBURD
20 January 2022 - 19 March 2022

The exhibition will feature paintings by Oleksandr Roitburd, video art, installations and archival photographs from family and private collections. The exhibition focuses on the early period of his work, the 1980s and 1990s, when the artist not only tried himself in different artistic fields, but also actively shaped the Odesa and all-Ukrainian artistic community.

In 2017, at the invitation of the Museum for Change initiative, Roitburd took part in a competition for the position of director of the Odesa Art Museum. He knew that he would have to overcome the resistance of some local politicians and the general rigidity of post-Soviet state institutions. But the desire to unite the cultural community on a new level proved stronger.

The resistance was also stronger than anyone could have imagined. Members of the local council who disagreed with Roytburd’s victory in the competition launched an information war against him. Over the course of three years, Odesa residents had to hold three rallies against Roitburd’s illegal dismissal. Endless court hearings took a lot of time and effort.

Nevertheless, in these short years under Reutburd’s leadership, the museum has changed beyond recognition. More than a thousand new acquisitions to the collection, including from Roitburd’s own collection; high-profile exhibition projects; a renewed team and updated approaches to service and projects; the revival of scientific work and the formation of a separate children’s area – and these are not all the positive changes.

But the main thing is that Roitburd was able to unite anyone around the museum, whether it was the patrons of the Marazli Club he founded, or young people who wanted to work in the museum for the first time in decades, or thousands of people who came to the Regional Council to defend the museum renovated by Roitburd.

“We’re not just talking about Roitburd as an artist, curator, and activist, we’re talking about him as a person who has done a lot to help new artistic practices emerge in Ukraine. He devoted his entire life to uniting the artistic community, and the museum became the last point on this path. We tried to make this exhibition ironic, including in relation to Reutburd himself. We didn’t want to make a memorial exhibition in the spirit of ‘Great artist, great director’,” says Kirill Lipatov, curator of the exhibition and head of the research department of the Odesa Art Museum, who will attend the opening and conduct a curatorial tour of the exhibition.

The project is implemented jointly with the Odesa Art Museum and NT-Art Gallery.

Please note: the exhibition is intended for viewers over 16 years old.

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