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Pinzel in the Louvre, Normandy in Dnipropetrovsk

Alain Remy, French Ambassador in Ukraine, tells about the two symbolic cultural events in both countries
6 December, 2012 - 00:00

This fall makes history – in particular, the history of Ukraine’s and France’s cultures. We would like to remind our readers that the traveling exhibit “Normandy in Painting” was displayed in Lviv and Kyiv, gathering crowds of viewers. Now the paintings can be seen on display at the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum (it will be open through January 13, 2013). Meanwhile, on November 21 the first Ukrainian art event was launched at the Louvre in Paris: the exhibit of masterpieces by the Ukrainian 18th-century sculptor Johann Georg Pinzel (open through February 25). Both actions are held under the patronage of Ambassador Alain Remy. The Day asked Mr. Remy to answer several questions.

The first Ukrainian art action is underway in Paris (the exhibit of Ukraine’s 18th-century baroque sculptor Johann Georg Pinzel). This art project is a joint action undertaken by the French and Ukrainian diplomats, top officials and artists. The Day’s correspondents report a huge success. What are your impressions of the exhibit?

“The opening of Johann Georg Pinzel exhibit at the Louvre’s picturesque pavilion La Chapelle is a big event, and it is no exaggeration. The visitors, both connoisseurs of art and amateur tourists, have an opportunity to use these three months to discover a unique and hitherto little known art of this baroque master. This is the first time for 27 of his pieces to have been on display. One can talk endlessly about this sculptor, his very original style, his utterly precise technique, and the astonishing expressiveness of his sculptures. Personally I am fully overcome by Pinzel’s bold artistism.

“The opening ceremony, with the participation of Ukraine’s Minister of Culture Mykhailo Kulyniak and the president of the Louvre Henry Loirette, was a very special moment. The passages of the Louvre, crowded with Ukrainian and French guests, were filled with excitement and thrill. This was an event on an unprecedented level, held at such a prestigious venue for the first time in the history of our bilateral cultural relations. You could read ‘At last!’ on each face.”

You personally patronage the traveling exhibit “Normandy in Painting,” which enjoyed a huge success in Lviv and Kyiv (seeing more than 30,000 visitors at the National Andrii Sheptytsky Museum, and 50,000 at the Ukrainian National Art Museum!), and since mid-November the paintings have been available to the public of Dnipropetrovsk. Are you satisfied with the exhibit in Ukraine’s industrial center?

“The epic success of ‘Normandy in Painting’ here in Ukraine is another proof of feasibility of such projects in Ukraine. The success of this exhibit, which was both unprecedented and demanding in artistic aspects, was possible due to not only joint effort of private and official partners, but also the immense enthusiasm of the public in those cities. I would like to mention such companies as Peugeot Ukraine and the Voronov Art Foundation, which made this project possible. I also want to mention the support on the part of the Ministry of Culture, as well as local governments in Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk. And finally, I want to give the due to the museums of the three cities, which did their best to ensure the proper conditions for the paintings. It gave me immense pleasure to see everything that was done to refurbish the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum! Now it can house other large-scale projects as well.

“Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov also personally contributed to the success of this exhibit, by honoring with his presence (together with Mykhailo Kulyniak) its closing ceremony in Kyiv on November 9. We appreciate this manifestation of interest.

“To develop the success of the first Contemporary Art Biennial, which was held past year at the Mystetsky Arsenal in Kyiv, ‘Normandy in Painting’ testifies to the presence of a high demand on cultural products in Ukraine. By joining both parties’ efforts and expertise, we can rightfully expect to repeat such projects.”

Would you please share more about what other joint projects in the sphere of culture and art are being blueprinted by the Embassy of France, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture, and the French Institute in Ukraine?

“Simultaneously with the Pinzel exhibit, other Ukrainian projects have been held in France over these last months of 2012. Their preparation required complete coordination of the corresponding structures and partners from both countries. Thus, only some days ago, Ukrainian writers and publishers made a successful appearance at the Festival of European Literature in Cognac, where this year Ukraine had the honorary status of resident. In Paris, Vlad Troitsky and his Dakh Theater company are working on their production at Le Montfort Theatre, and then at Le Theatre de la Ville. This will be yet another premiere for the Parisian public. Great news, which again proves the readiness of both French and Ukrainian artists and producers to expand their cooperation. We have a vast terrain for joint work, for one, in the sphere of museum expert examination, where France will gladly share its expertise.

“Next year in Ukraine we will be celebrating the 10th season of the now famous French Spring. This event will be central to the Ukrainian cultural life throughout entire April. I invite everyone to join and turn it into a great festival – yet for the time being, I’ll keep the agenda secret.”

By Tetiana POLISHCHUK, The Day