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New History


«The New History» is an exhibition curated bySOSka Group in Kharkiv State Museum of Art in 2009


Participants of the Exhibition:

Anatoly Byelov, Stanislav Volyazlovskyi, Zhanna Kadyrova, Vitaliy Kohan, Alina Kleytman, Ivan Svitlychnyi, SOSka Group (UA), Aleksander Vaindorf (SE), Sebastian Moldovan (RO), Lucia Nimcova (SL), Vladimir Logutov, Alexandra Galkina, David Ter-Oganyan (RU)


This international exhibition of contemporary artists was an intervention into the museum’s permanent collection of Ukrainian and Russian painting, sculpture, and graphic works from the XVI to the early XX centuries. The exhibit focuses on the problem of representation and the historical method in the museum, which presents the collection as a treasury of cultural values. All too common in many post-Soviet art museums is the tendency to fixate on the aesthetic and formalistic virtues of works, leaving out their engagements with the acute problematic of ethical, national, religious, and moral conflicts.

Avoiding juxtaposition as a method, the project aimed to create a dialogue between different formulations in contemporary culture in order to underline their political sides. The number of contemporary works included were selected through careful documentation and reflection on political and social issues in the post-Soviet context. The crucial role of narrative in this aesthetic has associated this type of work with a wave of critical realism in painting from the Russian «peredvizhniki» movement (late XIX). Another part of this intervention involved the issue of boundaries with regard to artistic media, aiming to provoke a rethinking of the traditional concept of the museum installation itself in addition to its interpretive potential.

The exhibition «The New History» was realized as a part of a competition involving contemporary projects in traditional museums supported by Eidos foundation. The exhibit was banned and closed the day after its opening upon the executive decision of Valentina Myzgina, Director of Kharkiv State Museum of Art. The curators documented the process of dismantling the works as well as the arguments of the museum’s director in a video entitled “Instead of an Excursion”. This same case later became the central subject of the short documentary film by Oleksiy Radynskyi «Incident in a museum».

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