Exclusive material about Kira Muratova’s film Two in One (photos from the set and a report on the filming), information about the most interesting contemporary artists working in Ukraine today — Oleksandr Sukholit, Vachagan Norazian, and Mykhailo Demets — and outstanding art events in Ukraine and abroad will be featured in the new full-color glossy art magazine Aura. Its launch, preceded by a press conference and followed by a soiree, took place at the end of last week at the Kyiv Museum of Russian Art.
“Despite the fact that Ukrainian contemporary art continues to develop, there is a catastrophic lack of periodicals that would analyze this process,” said chief editor Yurii Komelkov, better known as the owner of the popular Kyiv gallery Tryptych. “And Aura has ambitions to fill this gap. We do not want to become a serious academic magazine for a narrow circle of art experts. On the contrary, our task is to combine informedness, an accessible form of discourse, dazzling texts, and high-quality illustrations. So we have invited professionals to cooperate with us, who are not only experts on art, but who know how to write about it in a subtle and precise manner.”
Among the featured writers are the well-known art collector Ihor Dychenko, television reporter Yurii Makarov, and art expert Olga Lopukhova (Moscow). The editorial board also includes painter Olha Petrova, deputy director of the National Art Museum of Ukraine Maryna Skyrda, director of the Kyiv Museum of Russian Art Yurii Vakulenko, and Natalia Kornienko, the deputy director of the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko Art Museum. Tatiana Elfska and Olena Poghosian, special correspondents based in Amsterdam and Paris, respectively, will keep their finger on the pulse of European events.
As the organizers announced, in order to make a splashy introduction, Aura presented a large art project entitled “An Idol’s Aura.” Over a period of one year 25 Ukrainian artists will create canvas devoted to artists whose lives, personalities, or creative works had an impact on the formation of their world view and esthetic perceptions. The first five paintings were presented at the soiree: Female Acrobat Whom I Like by Leonid Bernat (dedicated to Marc Chagall), Study on Georges de La Tour’s Painting “The Newborn” by Matvii Vaisberg, Near the Sea by Lev Markosian (dedicated to Eugene Delacroix), Circus Tent by Vachagan Norazian (dedicated to Peter Breugel), “The Actress Margarita” in a Red Room by Davyd Shasharydze (dedicated to Nico Pirosmani).
Another direction of the magazine’s work includes authorial projects, large-scale exhibits, and activities in support of contemporary Ukrainian art.
“The emergence of such a modern periodical is an outstanding event,” artist Ivan Marchuk said. “In the times of Soviet Ukraine there was only pictorial art, which featured mostly primitive Soviet realism. As far as I know, Aura is the fourth national art magazine (joining Mystetstvo (Art), Obrazotvorche Mystetstvo, and Muzeinyi Provulok (Museum Alley). And it looks as if it differs a lot from those that I have just mentioned, first of all, by its modern design, second, by the selection of topics, and professional discourse. So it will be popular, but not in a pop manner. This will help stem the flow of that current of political gossip and allow people to focus their attention on truly spiritual and beautiful things. The main thing is to develop people’s taste.”
“I am very pleased to congratulate Kyiv and all of Ukraine on the publication of your new art periodical,” said Olga Lopukhova, the guest from Moscow and the editor of the Contemporary Art column. “This is indisputably a great event in your country’s cultural life. Such a magazine is a very important instrument that can define trends and even influence the art market.”
Aura will go on sale first in big city art galleries in January 2008.