The Sculpture Collection and the Museum of Byzantine Art in the Bode-Museum house objects from the 3rd to the 18th century. Despite the historical distance and the often Christian-influenced motifs, these representatives of European cultural history are often still of astonishing topicality and social relevance today.
Quite a few of the depictions and themes used here serve as a basis and source of inspiration for current art in Ukraine.
The collections of the Bode-Museum can thus provide unexpected assistance for a better understanding of contemporary Ukrainian art. For this reason, one year after the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, the Bode-Museum has invited ten Ukrainian artists* to enter into a dialogue with selected works from its own collections.
In the context of the project, religious art serves as a powerful means of illustrating core issues facing European societies in the 21st century. While the Bode Museum's collections illuminate social conflict situations and related artistic reflections from pre-1800 Europe, contemporary Ukrainian art creatively interprets very similar themes while maintaining historical continuity. Against the backdrop of the successive incursions of Russian forces into Ukrainian territory since 2014, the works now presented, created between 2014 and 2022, emotionally reflect the dramatically changed life and troubled soul landscape of a young European nation.
The participating artists* are Serhii Druziaka, Oleg Gryshchenko, Alisa Lozhkina, Serhii Lytvynov, Sergii Radkevych, Oleksii Revika, Konstantin Sinitskiy, Maryna Solomennykova, Alla Sorochan and Matvei Vaisberg.
Almost all of the artists are currently in Ukraine. Since it is hardly possible to transport their paintings, graphic works and sculptures to Germany under the current circumstances, they are shown in the exhibition in the form of photo reproductions. They enter into dialogue with works such as the "Schutzmantelmadonna" by Michel Erhart (1480), Hans Leinberger's "Christ in Misery" (c. 1525), the "Shield Bearers" by Tullio Lombardo (1480/1500) or the wooden high relief of the "Liberation of a Besieged City" (Egypt, 5th century).
In addition, the show, which is integrated into the permanent exhibition of the Bode Museum, offers explanatory texts in which the participating artists speak directly. These explanations are provided in German, English and Ukrainian.
"Timeless. Ukranian Contemporary Art in Times of War" is curated by Olesia Sobkovych, National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II, Kyiv.
The project is funded by the Ukraine funding line of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation.
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