The Beast of War. Naїve Art from Ukraine

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About the book

"The Beast of War. Naїve Art from Ukraine" is a catalog of the exhibition opening in the open art museum of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

"How wonderful that Switzerland’s open art museum is presenting the most interesting names of the twentieth-century Ukrainian “classical” naïve: Maria Prymachenko, Hryhorii Ksonz, Panas and Yakylyna Yarmolenko, Oleksandra and Hanna Shabatura, Kateryna Bilokur (her works are in only a few museum collections, and I know of none in private hands), Yakiv Yushchenko, Ivan Lysenko, Tetiana Pata, and others — writes in the Foreword to the catalog Petro Honchar, director of the National Museum of Ivan Honchar Museum. — It is my hope that visitors will recognize the main artistic influences—often folk! — so many of our naïve artists were brought up on. Prymachenko, the Homeniuk sisters, Yaryna and Sofia, and the Petrykivka masters, Pata, Paraska Vlasenko, and Oryna Pylypenko, all got their start in folk traditions: embroidery, decorative house painting, and drawings that adorned domestic interiors.

I am also pleased that charming works by anonymous masters from Poltava, Cherkasy, Sumy, and Kharkiv, which Ukrainian folk and naïve art is so rich in and which I personally am fond of, are also being exhibited. Much like icon painters, these artists often did not sign their works, because personal recognition was less important to them than the piece itself. They poured their soul and all their talent into their paintings."

Monika Jagfeld, director of the open art museum, in her Introductory, reflects on the preservation of artistic heritage and the destruction of museums during the war, on the obligation of the international community to protect and preserve cultural heritage for future generations, on Maria Prymachenko as the current icon of Ukrainian art and on Ukrainian art in general, which Western Europe is discovering more and more, but naive, brut art remains still terra incognita.

"This gap in cultural awareness is addressed by the exhibition The Beast of War: Naive Art from Ukraine at the open art museum in St. Gallen, curated by Lidia Lykhach from RODOVID-Gallery in Kyiv. It is the first exhibition of Ukrainian Naive Art in Switzerland and aims to foster a better understanding of Ukrainian culture and society. With the temporary removal of artworks from Ukraine, these artistic and cultural treasures are being made visible, and awareness is being raised for the need to protect movable cultural heritage in general and specifically that of Ukraine. Even though the current war is the trigger for these efforts to save art and cultural goods from Ukraine, the cultural identity and roots associated with the works are the focus of the exhibition. In the context of the war, the exhibition The Beast of War offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the identity-forming social relevance and existential necessity of art for people," writes Monika Jagfeld, co-curator of the exhibition and director of the museum.

The catalog was created by the RODOVID publishing house and the open art museum team in three languages — German, Ukrainian, and English.

  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Language: German, English, Ukrainian
  • Number of pages: 152
  • Parameters: 230 х 250 mm
  • Year: 2023
  • Category: Exhibition catalogue
  • ISBN: 978-617-7482-59-7