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28 February 2006
Nothing is as cool in today's London as hanging out and drinking coffee at Tate Modern gallery, and this renewed intrest in modern art as high fashion is com-ing to Kyiv in September as Victor Pinchuk, former President Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, is launching his ambitious Pinchuk Art Centre in Arena Entertainment. The three storied contemporary art centre will open with the 'New Space' exhibition showcasing works by Ukrainian and foreign artists from the oligarch's personal art collection.

For the past three years Victor Pinchuk has been trying hard to convince Ukrainian society that he's a big fan of con-temporary art. Pinchuk's Contemporary Art Foundation owns what is thought to be the biggest contemporary art collec-tion in Ukraine, including paint-ings and photos by Ukrainian artists Oleg Kulik, Boris Mikhailov, Sergiy Bratkov, Arsen Savadov, Oleksandr Gnilitsky, Vasily Tsagolov, Oleksandr Roitburd, and the ubiquitous Ilia Chichkan to mention but a few, as well as works from acclaimed contemporary artistic names from across the globe such as Olafur Eliasson, Carsten Holler, Subodth Gupta, Xavier Veilhan and others. For the past four years the Foundation has held three massive projects showcas-ing Ukrainian contemporary art -'First Collection' in 2002, A Farewell to Arms' in 2004 and 'Reality Check' in 2005. The Foundation was long searching for a permanent home to start functioning as Ukraine's first genuine contemporary art muse-um, having initially had an eye on the Kyiv Arsenal former military armaments factory. Although himself an influential business-man and son-in-law of former president Kuchma Pinchuk met with flat refusals from die new political authorities to get the Kyiv Arsenal site for his contem-porary art museum. Nevertheless despite such setbacks Pinchuk has battled on and is said to feel 28 that his modern art patronage enhances his European reputa-tion. The first bold project to be showcased in what is likely to be Kyiv's most fashionable and artsy hang-outs will be entitled 'New Space' and is to be opened on 16 September. The Pinchuk Art Centre, as the place is to be called, will showcase works by Ukrainian artists focusing mainly on paintings and photography. It will also feature a selection of works by international contem-porary artists whose works are already part of Pinchuk's collec-tion. There will also be the usual suply of installations and video works, genres Ukrainian artists are still relative newcomers to. 'New Space' will run till December and will then be replaced by another selection reflecting the outpourings of young Ukrainian artists. Exhibitions will change regularly in a bid to allow all of Pinchuk's vast collection to see the light of day. The majority of works are currently stored in several special depots across and outside town. Ukrainian participants of the New Space' exhibition include Kharkiv native Sergey Bratkov with his 'Volcanoid' series of light boxes, Ilia Chichkan's 'Puppeteers' installation, Oleg Kulik's photo series 'Lolita vs Alice', Oleksandr Gnilitsky's paintings from the 'Dacha' and 'Vinyl' series, Boris Mikhailov's photos dating back to the 80s and much more. Local art per-sonas might get excited by the fact that along with Ukrainian colleagues the exhibition will see acclaimed world names such as French Xavier Veilhan with his 'The Grand Mobile' installation, and Olafur Eliasson with his mas-sive 'Inverted Shadow Tower' installation consisting of over 200 diamond shape light boxes united into a huge 4,5 metre high construction, for which the centre had to introduce specially high ceilings to accommodate the structure. Another highlight will be the giant painting by Navin Rawanchaikul (pictured, above) which includes portraits of all the most significant artistic personas of the 20th century from Picasso to Andy Warhol. The three storey Pinchuk Art Centre was designed by a group of French architects. It is to include special zones for rest and a bar on the centre's third floor (which is Arena's sixth floor!). So after enjoying contemporary art visitors can have an artsy chat while drinking a cup of coffee and watching the city from above. Or they can simply bypass all that art and pose around in the bar and cafe while talking loudly about pretentious subjects of which they know nothing.
Yulia Volfovska

New Space
in Arena
(Chervonoarmiyska/ Baseina 1-3/2A)
Opening 16 September
Author: Yulia Volfovska
Source: "Whats on"