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«Tarasov's collection in an imaginary museum»
15.III.2019 – 13.V.2019
Tarasov's collection in an imaginary museum
The Odesa Fine Arts Museum presents the exhibition project "Tarasov's collection in an imaginary museum" - pearls from the collection of Taras Maksymyuk, supplemented by works from the collection of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum and private collections.
Among the highlights of the exhibition: numerous graphic works by the artist of Ukrainian modernism Mykhailo Zhuk (1883–1964), in particular his masterpiece - the monumental panel "White and Black," little-known works by Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997) and Rostyslav Paletsky (1932-1978) and for the first time Alexander Grekhov's "Quantum Leap of Shevchenko" series will be presented in Odesa.

The project was implemented with the financial support of Eugene Lemberg and Dizyngoff restaurant. General logistics partner of the museum - Nova Poshta.
The collection, which inspires.

In the autumn of 2018, Taras Maksymyuk, a well-known public figure, and collector of Ukrainian art, addressed the Odesa Art Museum with a proposal to transfer his Ukrainian collection to the museum.

The selection consists of several subdivisions-collections, which can add dignity to the museum as a center of presentation and study of Ukrainian culture. Meaning the collection of artworks of outstanding master Mykhailo Zhuk (1983–1964); a collection of works by the famous artist Ambrose Zhdaha (1855–1927); a collection of Shevchenkians associated with the Odesa region (paintings, graphics, sculptures, ceramics, printed materials, etc.), personal the fund of the famous Ukrainian public figure Yevhen Chychkalenko (1861–1929); a collection of Ukrainian publications (since 1834); a collection of illustrated postcards of Odesa and Ukraine, and other works of art and printed materials that do not belong to the listed collections.

In the museum's history, we have never before received the offer of such significance - neither in terms of storage units nor in the completeness and comprehensiveness of the proposed collections. This collection in the museum fund can significantly change the general public's perception of Ukrainian art's rich and exciting history in Odesa. Catalyze the study of hitherto new pages of art history of the southern region and, as a result, increase the cultural weight and tourist attractiveness of our city.
However, the main obstacle to display the collection is the catastrophic lack of museum space. The museum was opened 120 years ago. At that time, its collection included 700 exhibits. Today there are more than 10,000 of them, and the exhibition area has not increased by a single square meter. The lack of exhibition space, storage space, scientific and restoration workspace, space for educational activities was noticeable in the late 1980s. Now the situation has become critical.

The enrichment of the museum's collection with Maksymyuk's collection imposes the need to create a separate center for Ukrainian art as a structural subdivision of the museum. The museum cannot cope with this task without the altruism and assistance of the Regional Council and the Odesa Regional State Administration.

The new cultural center would allow the museum to create a center of Ukrainian art in Odesa.

The center will be the new space to worthily display the collection of textiles, Ukrainian icons, and folk paintings, a collection of works by Maria Primachenko, porcelain, and earthenware, which due to lack of exhibition space, are exhibited sparse and insufficient. Moreover, the center's emergence would allow organizing archives for new findings, which are currently artificially limited due to lack of space.

Unlike the imaginary museum of Andre Malraux, which does not require ceilings or walls, the imagination and the ability to remember the audience are not enough for these collections. We need means for exhibiting and studying to talk about the content, the ideas depicted. Today we have a dream to embody the physical ability to share the wealth of many generations of creators and collectors. Using the term "imaginary museum" as a metaphor, we hope to open the new museum center's door soon.

The collection of Taras Maksymyuk consists of several thousand units. Today we can show only a small fragment of it. However, the whole collection awaits to be preserved, restored, researched, and as a result, presented to the public. The need is – the physical, not the imaginary museum space.
Mikhail Zhuk (October 2, 1883, Kakhovka - June 7, 1964, Odesa)

He studied at the Kyiv School of Art of Mykola Murashko (1896-1899), the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1899-1900; teachers Konstantin Korovin, Valentin Serov), graduated from the Krakow Academy of Arts (1904; teachers Stanislav Mespyagsky, Jan Stanis). One of the founders of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts in Kyiv (1917). In Odesa: 1925–1932 - head of graphic and ceramic workshops of the Art Institute; teacher of drawing, graphics, and ceramics of the art school (1932–1955, with breaks).

The creativity and techniques of Mykhailo Zhuk is a rare example of Ukrainian culture in terms of its diversity: painter, master of various graphic forms, and decorative panels, decorative painting and artistic ceramics, outstanding ornamentalist, theatrical artist, master of book design, teacher, a brilliant virtuoso of font compositions, enthusiastic font composition, (poet, novelist, playwright, storyteller, translator). One of the first Ukrainian symbolists. Like other prominent Ukrainian art figures, Mykhailo Zhuk was erased from the history of art for many years. The artist's creative heritage has been preserved through the efforts of private collectors, including Taras Maksymyuk.

Mikhail Zhuk
"White and Black" 1912–1914

The large (207 × 310) panel is made of mixed media on seven separate sheets of rough paper and is a tetraptych focused on stained glass composition: a metal frame frames its parts on paper. The artist used gouache, charcoal, pastel, watercolor. The presented panel is considered to be the most extensive work of all surviving monumental works by Mykhailo Zhuk.

On the panel, which he created while living in Chernihiv, depicted two angels – with white and black wings – the student of the artists, young poet Pavlo Tichina and Polina Konoval, his first love. The flowers everywhere refer to the Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky's garden, where all the Chernihiv literary public gathered. Precisely in this garden Zhuk, Tychyna, and sisters Konoval met. During this period, Tychyna worked on "Solar Clarinets," the one most outstanding of his poetry. He dedicates the poem "Panno Inno" to the Polina's sister, Inna. Together they formed a love triangle - Inna was in love with Tychyna, Tychyna was in love with Polina, and Polina did not reciprocate. Tychyna dedicated the cycle "Funeral Songs" to her, which the poet himself considered lost. Poems were found only in the early 1990s in Odesa, in the archives of the artist Mikhailo Zhuk.

Mykhailo Zhuk was one of the first represents of the new formation of Ukrainian literature, as he was a universal artist rare scale. Till 1918 he mostly wrote prose, and then he turned to fairy tales. In two years (1918-1920), he created more than thirty fairy tales. At first, he wrote for his sons - the elder Mykolka and the younger Yurko (Georgy). He even engraved a book-poem "Dreamers to the Malays". It is believed that among his tales are political ones that cover the writer's attitude to power. From 1908 to 1928, he published 11 books of fairy tales and poems.

He wrote eight plays, not counting numerous children's poetry. The first play was created in the 1910s, and the last – in the 1925 year. Approximately the same year, he translated Alexander Blok, Leonid Andreev, Edmond Rostan, Juliusz Słowacki, and Oscar Wilde. He worked on the design of books, also developed fonts. From the year 1926, when his play for children "Spring" was banned in Odesa, he had to give up his literary work as he could not publish his works. The writer's last book was published in 1928.

He left several memories of prominent figures of Ukrainian culture. In 1923rd were dated back the first memories of the teacher and friend Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky. And the last ones, about Mykola Murashko's school and the history of the Academy of Arts, were written in 1952. During his life, he was never able to publish the book of prose he had dreamed of until the last years of his life. Recently, the Odesa Literary Museum published a collection of literary works by Mikhail Zhuk, which brings back to us his legacy after many decades of oblivion.
The collection of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum includes more than a thousand, which in the Soviet times were classified as "decorative and applied arts with a national character." There are works by Maria Prymachenko, Rostyslav Paletsky, Hanna Sobachka-Shostak, works by famous and unknown masters, clothes, towels, dishes, etc. Some of them were shown to the public from time to time by the museum, but it is not always possible to exhibit them due to the lack of space. Traditionally, the artworks categorized as "national," including the category of "Shevchenko", occupy their niche and do not cause much surprise or controversy.

However, modernity makes its adjustments. The figure of Taras Shevchenko and the right of a contemporary artist to comprehend his artworks and personality increasingly become the subject of heated discussions and even serious conflicts, as happened, for example, with the series "Quantum Leap of Shevchenko" by Alexander Grekhov.
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