“Art must live,” says Katharina Vozianova. With a small painting under his arm and a suitcase in hand, the Ukrainian art dealer fled Kiev to Munich in February. However, shortly before the Russian invasion, she returned to her homeland – and risked her life to save art: “We managed to save the paintings from Kiev. We were very afraid that the Russian army would come and not only “he stole and took everything, but also completely destroyed it”, says Vozianova.
wipe the culture
Because this is exactly the plan that the Russians are pursuing: “They want to get rid of the Ukrainians and their culture, their existence. We were afraid they would burn everything. But we managed to take art with us, initially to the west of Ukraine. “then step by step in Munich.”
Paintings by Yevgen Petrov
The young art dealer proudly stands in an empty office east of Munich among the surviving paintings. You can see: a woman dragging her husband by the tie behind her, a emaciated dog under the shade of a wall, a camel with a fat woman in a bikini on her back. The photos are colorful and imaginative, abstract or realistic, painted with chalk or watercolors. 40 paintings by contemporary Ukrainian artists have arrived in Munich. Together with director Tobias Klose, Katharina Vozianova saved art from Ukraine from destruction to give artists there a livelihood even during the war.
Near Vozianova, some large orange pipes are supported behind the wall: “As you can see, there are plenty of pictures,” she explains. “The best way to transport them safely was with these sewage pipes. I took the photos out of the frames, wrapped them and then flew them to Munich in the pipes.” Katharina Vozianova did it all herself, loaded with art, first on a bus full of mothers and children, and then from Romania by plane to Munich. Nothing was damaged, she says – a wonderful feeling.
The art dealer shows a massive statue in the corner and talks about Ukrainian artist Nicolai Belous, who was separated from his family. His wife and daughter just managed to escape. Belous is from central Ukraine and, like many other artists, did not want to give up his studio: “And if anyone comes, he says, he will take the hammer and protect his house and studio.”
Images of Apocalypse and Peace
All the artists whose works adorn the gray carpet here cannot or do not want to leave their country. One of the still slightly rolled photos shows a volcano with a pond of boiling yellow lava, in which a group of fat and naked people are thrown, as if in a pool. “It is called ‘Last Minute Tours’ by Ievgen Petrov,” says Katharina Vozianova. “He painted it before the war. It’s somewhat apocalyptic. You do not know, is it the end of the world in which they are jumping or just taking a bath? Either way, it’s very beautiful!”
“November. Topless” by Ievgen Petrov
Famous painter Ievgen Petrov is trapped in his studio in Odessa. He does not want to leave behind either his art and his life. In one of his paintings in the room you can see Odessa still peaceful and the people gathering by the sea. With bright eyes, Katharina Vozianova talks about the art scene in Ukraine – before the war: “Ukrainians are very artistic and creative. They have a long history of artists, writers and singers. This is our great cultural heritage and it’s worth it. “We feared it would be destroyed, but now it can not be destroyed.”
“Art is identity”
Kateryna Vozianova and Tobias Klose have now managed to attend ARTMUC in May and are already in talks with the city to facilitate a “pop-up gallery” near Marienplatz. An “Art Hub” will be created here, which will offer not only art, but also an audiovisual exchange with artists. In addition, there will be events to make Ukrainian art more visible. “This is something worth taking care of,” said Tobias Klose. an independent cultural state ”.
It is about giving Ukrainian artists a perspective from afar. Ten percent of the purchase should also go to aid organizations and the Ukrainian army. As far as the situation allows, Kateryna Vozianova is in exchange with many cultural workers in the field and is constantly gaining new ones. But in everyday war time, dialogue about the art business is often difficult and one can only hope that the colors of Ukrainian art will continue to shine, find their way out of the rubble and not fade: “Certainly “The painting will also be affected by the war,” said Katerina Vozianova.
The works of art of Ukrainian artists rescued from the war will be exhibited from May 13 at ARTMUC to look. And then hopefully soon at Art Hub, the pop-up gallery for art from Ukraine.
A contribution to the cultureWelt program from 29 April 2022 in Bayern 2. You can watch the podcast for the program here Subscribe to.