One year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Mart presents the first Italian exhibition on Maria Prymachenko. Icon of naïve art, a symbol of Ukrainian culture, he was a UNESCO artist in 2009.
From the Taras Shevchenko National Museum in Kiev, 54 works will reach Trento; another 15 will be set up in Viterbo, at the Museo dei Portici.
Maria Oksentiyivna Prymachenko
Although Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997) never left her native Ukraine and lived for almost ninety years in her native Bolotnja, her works have become famous all over the world.
Starting in the 1930s, his works were presented first in Kiev, then in Moscow, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Warsaw, Prague, Sofia, Paris and even Montreal.
In 1937 the artist received the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
In 1966 she was awarded the highest national recognition, the Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko Prize; a few years later some of his works were chosen for an exclusive series of stamps.
After her death, the astrologer Kiym Curjumov names a planet after her (1998).
In 2009, UNESCO chose her as artist of the year and the city of Kiev dedicated an avenue (formerly Lichacev avenue) to her.
Last year, in one of the first days of the military invasion by Russia, 25 buildings were destroyed during one of the bombings in the Kiev area. They were kept in the now disappeared Museum of Local History in Ivankiv. The news, tweeted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, went around the world.
An exponent of naive painting, heir to a centuries-old folkloric tradition that has its roots in Paleolithic art, Maria Prymachenko inspired great artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. With its recognizable, lively, immediate style it has been loved by several generations who, starting from the first half of the twentieth century, have contributed to building its myth.
In her long life Maria Prymachenko is tireless: she embroiders, draws, paints, creates graphics, decorates ceramics; it is estimated that throughout his career he created around 5,000 works. His art mixes popular culture and modern art, resignifies the iconography of the Ukrainian tradition, tells personal experiences and dreams.
With fantastic animals, luxuriant flora and ancestral symbols, Prymachenko redefines popular imagery and makes it universal.
Between very rich details and bright colors, there is no space for empty surfaces, the ornamental movement is constant, immutable, calm and endless. The paintings have rhythm, in the absence of edges they are magnetic, almost hypnotic. Familiar subjects (animals, flowers, natural elements) seem to wink but, at the same time, create dissonance. These are mysterious realms, magical places populated by unreal forms.
Prymachenko's work seems to come from prehistoric times, draws on pagan myths, Christian-Orthodox and popular stories from Eurasia, amalgamates Slavic mythology and Russian legends, is inspired by the great wall paintings of the Ukrainian tradition and decorative art.
In her work, the painter summarizes the cultural and artistic history of a large country now destroyed by war. A story, explains Julya Shilenko, curator of the Taras Shevchenko National Museum in Kiev, which lives on in the animals depicted in traditional honey cakes, in the worlds sung in mothers' lullabies, in the decorations on fabrics and carpets, in embroideries and furnishings. “Prymachenko's works testify to the legacy of a large and diverse school of folk art, the centuries-old culture of the Ukrainian people. It's like a bundle of thoughts and feelings drawn from fairy tales, legends and life itself. A set of elements that mix «reality, intuition, fantasy and subconscious. When the 'witch's house' opens, her fabulous, imaginative, sometimes even bizarre imagery comes out into the world."
Maria Prymachenko in Trento and Viterbo
From 28 February, around 70 works by Maria Prymachenko will be presented to the Italian public for the first time.
Ukrainian sunflowers is a project desired and coordinated by Vittorio Sgarbi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and president of the Mart of Rovereto, organizer and promoter of the initiative. The double exposure represents an important sign of solidarity and cultural closeness to Ukraine, exactly one year after the Russian invasion, undertaken on February 24, 2022.
In Trento, in the historic Palazzo delle Albere, the Mart is organizing the first major exhibition dedicated to the Ukrainian artist, from 28 February to 4 June 2023.
At the same time, a small nucleus of works is also being set up in Viterbo, from 26 February in the halls of the Museo dei Portici.
Title: Maria Prymachenk. I girasoli ucraini
Opening: February 28, 2023
Ending: June 04, 2023
Organization: Da un’idea di Vittorio Sgarbi
Place: Trento (TN), Palazzo delle Albere
Address: Via Roberto da Sanseverino, 43 - Trento (TN)
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