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The Ivano-Frankivsk gallery saved a part of the collection of the avant-garde artist Fedir Tetianych
Aliona Nahaievshchuk July 7, 2022

The Asortymentna Kimnata gallery evacuated a part of the family archive and collection of the Ukrainian avant-garde artist Fedir Tetianych.

Translated by Tania Rodionova

The Ivano-Frankivsk gallery saved a part of the collection of the avant-garde artist Fedir Tetianych

At the beginning of the full-scale war, after the first artillery shelling of Kyiv, the artist’s works were evacuated to a storage facility in Ivano-Frankivsk at the request of his family. For security reasons, the evacuation coordinators did not publicize this case, like many others. Currently, the artworks have been taken abroad to be presented in museums across Europe. The first viewers to see the artworks by Tetianych will be in Berlin and Łódź.


One of the first Ukrainian performers

Fedir Tetianych is an avant-garde and monumental artist, philosopher, and writer. He began his artistic activity in Ukraine in the late 60s. 

He was one of the first in the USSR to start as a performer. During street actions, Fedir shouted the greeting “Frypulia”, which eventually became his pseudonym. His philosophical and artistic teaching received the same name. In this work, the artist reflected on the connection between man and the world as an indivisible whole organism. The artist continued the theme in his installations and paintings. He combined the idea of ​​aesthetic improvement of space with cleaning the environment from the trash. It is significant that his works contain elements of various types of waste, both household and industrial.

The artworks by Tetianych began to be presented to the public in the late 80s. Along with his artistic activity, the artist worked at the Kyiv Combine of Monumental and Decorative Art. He was commissioned by the state to design public spaces. In the 90-2000s, Tetianych often took part in alternative music concerts as a performer and became a cult figure for the then generation of the art and music scene.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the artist no longer had the opportunity to earn money as a monumental artist. He survived by selling potatoes grown in the countryside in the market. However, he did not stop his artistic practice until his last days.


How Tetianych’s artworks appeared in Ivano-Frankivsk and where they will go next

About 70 artworks were transported to the gallery in Ivano-Frankivsk. The evacuation took place during the first weeks of March and was interrupted once. The transportation of the artworks was made only on the second attempt. The artist Nikita Kadan helped to evacuate them. It was he who introduced the artist’s family to the Asortymentna team.

Nikita Kadan, an artist:

“It was the artist’s family who turned for help. A giant archive of artworks was locked in a couple of small rooms in Kyiv under shelling. The artworks were in extremely poor condition, the transportation was risky. The family also could not leave because it was responsible for the artworks. I wrote about the situation in public and personally asked several museum professionals from different countries if they could help. There were surprisingly many offers in response. And they quite logically grew into a new international interest in Tetianych as an art phenomenon. I think this is just the beginning of the wave.

Because Tetianych is a completely unexplored planet, something gigantic, innovative and equally authentic and relevant in the worldwide circulation of ideas both in his times and now.”

Bohdan-Liubomyr Bublyk-Tetianych, the son of Fedir Tetianych, participant of art actions and performances under the auspices of the Dyvotvorchist Academy:

“Evacuation was a forced and painful step for us. However, at that moment it was important to save the cultural heritage, which belongs not only to Ukraine but also to all mankind. Current events have turned everything upside down. We (ed. the family) had many plans towards popularization and research of Fedir’s creative work. Exhibitions in honor of the artist’s 80th anniversary were planned. And we had several other ideas, which we have now to postpone due to the war.

Of course, I would like to see my father’s artworks in the world’s leading museums and galleries. Then spectators across the globe would be able to become part of his coordinate system, his art. At the same time, Ukraine has always been a sacred and central place in his philosophy and worldview.

Therefore, the main center of Fedir Teianych’s creativity and his fundamental works should be right here.”

The full-scale war in Ukraine revealed to us and to the whole world many phenomena of Ukrainian culture that we risked losing forever. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Asortymentna Kimnata gallery and foreign partners, Tetianych’s artworks, as well as more than half a thousand pieces by Ukrainian artists, found a temporary shelter in Ivano-Frankivsk. Soon, the artworks by Tetianych will be shown in Berlin and then in Łódź.


Anna Potiomkina, the curator of the Asortymentna Kimnata gallery:

“Berlin curators invited us to present the results of our Working Room residency for displaced artists. At the same time, we were offered to exhibit the evacuated artworks by Tetianych in the neighboring space, at the CCA Berlin. There was little time for preparation. Our small team worked at full speed. The opening of both exhibitions will take place on July 8 in Berlin, with a joint opening.

Fedir Tetianych is an important figure in Ukrainian art. His pieces are made of natural elements, so they decay over time. Before the large-scale war began, those artworks had not been given proper museification, so Tetianych’s archive is still in danger of disappearing. And today, during the war, this threat is even greater. Therefore, as representatives of the art industry, we have to protect the unique pieces by the artist and do everything possible for this.”


We also asked the Ivano-Frankivsk artist and curator Anatolii Zvizhynskyi about the significance of Tetianych’s creative heritage for Ukrainian art history:

“Through his creative activity, Frypulia tried to demonstrate the connection of man with the universe, with infinity, and eternity in the frankest way possible. Almost every artist does this in one way or another but Tetianych embodied it straightforwardly. His costumes, decorations, and objects were not about extraterrestrial civilizations, but about the boundless unity of all material things, including thoughts, if you are homo sapiens.”

Requests for the evacuation of art will be accepted until the end of the war

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the Asortymentna Kimnata gallery has already evacuated from Kyiv to Ivano-Frankivsk about 150 artworks by 15 contemporary Ukrainian artists from the Voloshyn Gallery collection. They were kept in Ivano-Frankivsk for three months. At the beginning of the summer, the artworks were taken abroad for further exhibitions.

Currently, this is the only program in Ukraine for the evacuation of art. About 450 artworks are now stored in Ivano-Frankivsk. These are the pieces by Ukrainian artists of the 70-80s, as well as our contemporaries. Among them are samples of graphics, painting, elements of large installations and examples of decorative and applied art.

The gallery will accept requests to evacuate art until the end of the war. The initiative was supported by the German partners of the Asortymentna Kimnata gallery from MitOst e.V., as well as the Cultural Emergency Response program of the Prince Claus Fund, Netherlands. Applications through this link can be submitted by independent artists, local museums, non-commercial galleries and self-organized spaces from all over Ukraine. 

Photos by Taras Telishchak

Aliona Nahaievshchuk July 7, 2022

Translated by Tania Rodionova

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