The Ukrainian Week`s choice of music events and film festivals to visit in June
(17, vul. Kikvidze, Kyiv)
One of Ukraine’s brightest and most talented rock bands will celebrate its 20th birthday with a major gig in Kyiv. Green Grey is referred to as a culture and a social movement. At the peak of their career, the band changed the format and perception of music in Ukraine through experiments with different genres and styles. Guest stars will include some of the most popular bands in Ukraine, including Gortchitza, TNMK, Skriabin, Awesomatic, S.K.A.Y., Diversanty and Four Phonica.
Until 7 June
(Berth No2 at vul. Naberezhno-Khreshchatytska, Kyiv)
Beautiful People is a series of photographs by Slovak photographer Šymon Kliman who has already won many European awards. Kyivites will soon have the opportunity to see it for themselves. The show will present twenty photographs in which the artist offers his interpretation of Gypsies and dispels stereotypes about their lifestyle and culture. In contrast to the usual images of their poverty and misery, Kliman invents a new way to reflect the life of these nomadic people, bringing them closer to Slovak society through his artistic vision.
8 -9 June, 2 p.m.
(5, vul. Stusa, Lviv)
Stare Misto or Old City is an annual rock festival held in Lviv since 2007. For the first time in six years, it will last two days. Music lovers will have the chance to enjoy electrifying gigs from the top rock bands of Eastern Europe and eighteen hours of live shows. Participants include Goran Bregovic, DDT, IAMX, The Subways, Leningrad Cowboys, Che Sudaka, Feedler’s Green, Liapis Trubetskoy, Kaiser Chiefs, Archive and many more. The warm-up part will feature new bands selected in a competition.
Until 11 June
Restoration of Memory
(55, vul. Chyhorina, Kyiv)
The project, which is part of the Visions international festival of visual culture, features photographs of Kyiv from the 1970s and 1980s and videos made in the same places and same angles today. Thanks to the artists who worked on this project, Oleksandr Ranchukov and Igor Belsky, the audience can travel in time from the places where they live in today, to the same places in old Kyiv. Twenty vintage images of the old city and twenty multimedia videos – will we recognize the places depicted in the photos?
13 June, 7 p.m.
Ukrayina Palace of Arts
(105, vul. Velyka Vasylkivska, Kyiv)
Listed as one of the most acclaimed international operatic pop-project, Il Divo is a quartet made up of Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler, French singer Sébastien Izambard and American tenor David Miller. This will be the first time that Il Divo will be performing in Ukraine with its “The Greatest Hits” show. Their debut album was released in 2004 and made No 1 on many national charts almost overnight. Since that breakthrough, the quartet has recorded seven more albums that were equally successful.
Khmelnytsky Park, Ploshcha Rynok, Ploshcha Palatsu Pototskykh
The Lviv summer festival season continues with the grand Alfa Jazz Fest 2013 jazz festival. For three days, Lviv will vibrate with jazz, played on three open-air stages in the downtown part of the city. Headliners include American vocalist, conductor and ten-time Grammy award winner Bobby McFerrin; Israeli jazz bassist Avishai Cohen; one of the most popular jazz musicians of our time, Charlie Haden, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with its fiery cocktail of funk, bebop and traditional New Orleans jazz. Also on the agenda are experiments from virtuoso musicians, wild improvisations and the flavour of Lviv chocolate and coffee in the breaks.
The Revelation of Nikifor
The repatriation of artists of Ukrainian origin who lived and worked abroad has been very much in this spring. First, the National Art Museum opened a huge exhibition of Jacques Chapiro, a representative of the School of Paris, educated in Kyiv and Kharkiv. Now, the National Museum of Folk Decorative Arts is exhibiting one hundred paintings by primitivist Epifaniusz Drowniak better known as Nikifor. A modest self-taught painter of Lemko origin, he won the hearts of the Paris artistic elite in the early years of his career: In 1932, Roman Turyn, a Lviv-based painter, took Nikifor’s paintings to the Leon Marseille gallery. Since then, Nikifor has been recognized as one of the greatest “naïve” painters in the world.
The exact number of Nikifor’s works is unknown. He painted day and night, and according to his own estimates, painted nearly 30,000 canvases by the end of his life. Ukraine has very few of his paintings. Some are exhibited at the National Museum in Lviv, and some are in private collections. Nikifor lived all his life in a Polish resort town, Krynica. It is now home to the Nikifor Museum, which has the largest collection of his works in the world. Part of this collection will be brought to Kyiv.
Nikifor lost his parents at an early age. He was almost illiterate, but worked on what he was talented at – watercolour and graphic art. Art experts describe his works as sophisticated and innovative, even though painted with the cheapest paints on scrap paper. The artist lived in poverty and could not afford better materials. Most of the symbols and messages in his paintings have yet to be deciphered. Nikifor believed that creative work, including his own, was a sacred mission, thus an artist was someone chosen by God, sometimes even equal to the apostles. His given name, Epifaniusz, translates from Greek as “revealed”. His paintings are transcendental – a transmission rather than verbal expression. Religious motifs, coupled with naïve realism as his painting technique, leave the impression of an existential grotesque. Nikifor’s style was continued in a more superficial form by the Polish avant-garde painters of the late 20th century.
The Pinchuk Art Centre is opening a new exhibition called China China created by a group of Chinese artists specifically for this space. The Communist Party of China spent a decade in the 1960s and 1970s to instill its ideology in society, and physically destroying the resisting intelligentsia. The campaign, which resulted in the death of at least 1 million people, was later called the “cultural revolution”. Ukrainians shared a similar experience in their homeland. Today, the installations by eleven Chinese artists of different generations reflect the parallels between Ukraine and China, the impact of the cultural traumas of the past on the present, and the doubt-ridden choice of the future.
The exhibition begins outside the art centre with a broken statue of an officer. The first thing that comes to mind is an overthrown dictatorship. But the sculptor, Zhao Zhao, says that this is the self-portrait of an artist, helpless in a confrontation with the government. Ai Weiwei’s Rooted Out and Fairytale installations depict broken ideas and senses. The opposition artist brought 32 tree trunks from various provinces of China as an incarnation of a population deprived of its historical and cultural traditions. The photo portraits surrounding the installation speak about the illusions of our time. As part of his artistic experiment, Ai Weiwei brought a thousand of his compatriots to live in a fairytale castle in Germany. After two weeks, they realized that the European fairytale is alien to them. Thus, yet another dream has died. Ai Weiwei’s installations virtually scream the tragedy of crushed identity. Some artists search for a solution to this. Yang Fudong seeks cultural tradition through his video version of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, who did not wish to tolerate the insolence of their rulers and fled to a bamboo forest. There, they gained freedom of speech, but realized that they no longer needed it. Zhang Huan reconsiders relations between governments and traditional religion through a series of portraits of Communist leaders, made of the ashes of incense burned in shrines. Each project in the China China exhibition shows a truly humane story of the act of creation. The Ukrainian audience will find this show very familiar: the historical trap that both nations found themselves at one time makes their dialogue possible today.
Okean Elzy has released a new album. The record is of great quality although many OE fans say that it has too much pop music in it. After its many transformations, partying with old musicians and new ones joining in, OE has grown into a good professional band. It has lost the naïve romantic mood it had nineteen years back when it first came together and started to perform.
Zemlia or The Earth does have some flaws that can be faulted. Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, lead singer and songwriter, uses an irritating English accent in songs sung in Ukrainian. By now, he could have evolved into a better lyricist and learned a few new keys to sing in so that the new songs do not sound so similar to the old ones. Still, the record has preserved the band’s good old rock’n’roll spirit. And the quality of sound and arrangements is impeccable.
It is hard to say how long the hits from this album will survive – only time will tell. The first two, Z neyu (With Her) and Stina (The Wall) are a great start. Nezalezhnist (Independence) sounds almost identical to Queen’s early ballads. Actually, almost every song borrows something from the classics – the Rolling Stones, the Beatles… and early Okean Elzy, of course. But OE’s new songs are better than the old ones they are similar to. The way the album ends with subtle semitones and semiaccents reveals mature and experienced musicians who have good taste.