Ukraine. Une Donation Contemporaine
This week the exhibition “Ukraine. Une Donation Contemporaine” opened in Paris, in the Centre Pompidou, which features the artworks of Ukrainian contemporary artists, many of them are the representatives of Kharkiv School of Photography.
The father and son Viktor Kochetov (b. 1947) and Serhiy Kochetov (b. 1972) created a recognisable ironic style of seeing daily life, bringing “Lurik” photography tradition, popular in Kharkiv, to its aesthetic limits.
Viktor Kochetov is a representative of the first generation of Kharkiv School of Photography. A significant part of his body of work was created together with the son Serhiy, who assisted Viktor since he was a teenager.
The authors are known for the extensive usage of the method of hand-colouring of black and white prints, which is rooted in the tradition of "Lurik", or enlarged, retouched and often tinted photographic portraits. It was a common practice that evolved into the embodiment of kitsch and image of an average soviet person.
Oleg Maliovany (b. 1945), one of the key personalities in Kharkiv photographic community. He was born into the family from Kharkiv that was evacuated to Altai during WWII. Maliovany was interested in photography during his school years, and in 1968 had his 1st solo exhibition in Kharkiv.
In 1970s-1980s his favourite techniques were overlays, collages, and posterizations. The artworks were highly appreciated among Kharkiv bohemians at the time and he was the only photographer in the city who privately sold his art.
Yevhen (Evgeniy) Pavlov (b. 1949) – one of the foudners of the Kharkiv school of photography. As a student of Economy faculty at the O.M. Gorky Kharkiv State Univseristy, became a participant of the regional photo club at the Trade Unions’ Amateur Arts House, where met authors with whom in the early 1970s founded the ‘Vremia’ photographic group (Oleg Maliovany, Boris Mikhailov, Oleksandr Sitnichenko, Oleksandr Suprun, Gennadiy Tublaev, and later Anatoliy Makiyenko).
The Violin (1972) is one of the seminal series created by the group. The artist experimented with a wide range of techniques from colour skides and overlays to collages and hand-colouring.
Roman Pyatkovka (b. 1955) pioneered a style of photography which challenged the prevailing ethos of Socialist Realism, the style which had dominated Soviet photography and filmmaking since the early 1930s.
Pyatkovka’s use of overlays and hand-colouring helped define this new style, one which would continue to push artistic boundaries both during and after the more artistically varied Perestroyka years.
The author is focused not on the aesthetics of a single image, but rather on the integrity of the message. The main topics of his body of work are sexuality and female nudity as the markers of the social situation, which reveals “sovietness” of the past and present.