Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s: Exhibition Presentation and Book Launch

Brightly coloured abstract painting showing horses and human figures on a carousel i Davyd Burliuk, The Carousel, 1921, oil on canvas, 33 × 45,5 cm, National Art Museum of Ukraine

Join us for an evening of conversation about artistic modernism in Ukraine of the early 20th century. The curator and editor Katia Denysova will present the exhibition and publication In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s, followed by a discussion with Dr Olenka Pevny and Constance Uzwyshyn of Cambridge University.

How does artistic life flourish during revolution and conflict? In the early 1900s, Ukraine endured unimaginable political upheaval, yet this became a period of true flourishing in Ukrainian art, literature, theatre, and cinema. In the most comprehensive survey of Ukrainian modern art to date, the project In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s explores a range of topics associated with the art production in Ukraine, set against a complicated socio-political backdrop of collapsing empires, World War I, the revolutions of 1917 with the ensuing Ukrainian War of Independence, and the eventual creation of Soviet Ukraine. While celebrating the diversity and dynamism of the artistic scene in Ukraine, the touring exhibition (Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels) and the accompanying catalogue (published by Thames&Hudson, November 2022) also address the questions of national identity, imperial legacy and historical memory.

Katia Denysova is a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Her research investigates the influence of socio-political factors on early 20th-century art in Ukraine. She is the co-curator of the exhibition In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s and co-editor of the accompanying catalogue. Her articles on Ukrainian art have been published in the peer-reviewed journals Arts and immediations.

Dr Olenka Pevny is the Associate Professor in Ukrainian Studies and Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. She studies the art and culture of Kyivan Rus’ and Ruthenia. Before arriving in Cambridge, Dr Pevny was an Associate Professor of Byzantine and Medieval Art History and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at the University of Richmond, VA. She has worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in a curatorial capacity on The Glory of Byzantium exhibition, and as an archaeologist in Crimea and Greece. She received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Constance Uzwyshyn is a PhD candidate in Slavonic Studies at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Language and Linguistics, University of Cambridge. Her research interests lie in Ukrainian contemporary art and the impact of the Russian invasion on Ukrainian art and Ukrainian cultural industries in narratives of identity, resilience and global image. She is the Cultural Industries Advisor to the Ukrainian Institute London (UIL) and the founder and director of the first commercial art gallery in Kyiv – ARTEast Gallery.

The event is co-organised by the Ukrainian Institute London, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Cambridge Ukrainian Studies.

The Ukrainian Institute London champions Ukrainian culture and shapes the conversation about Ukraine in the UK and beyond. We explore Ukrainian perspectives on global challenges. The UIL is an independent charity registered in England and Wales.


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5 Apr 2023

Wednesday 5th April 2023, 6pm - 8.30pm BST

Free, booking essential

Lecture Theatre 1, Vernon Square campus

This is an in person event at our Vernon Square campus. Booking will close 30 minutes before the event begins.


Logos for The Courtauld, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and Ukrainian Institute London