The exhibition project Dytvydav is based on the research of children's illustration in the period from the Thaw to Independence. We became interested in the subject when we noticed the high quality and integrity of the visual design of publications for children, created by Ukrainian artists in the period between 1956 and 1991. The distinctive features of particular children's illustrations are the lack of ideological loading and the incompatibility with the requirements of socialist realism, the "official method of Soviet art." Striving to understand this phenomenon, we have launched a research initiative that focuses on the study of the books for pre-school and primary school age. Additionally, we are considering the visual design of literature for older children, children's magazines, as well as the artworks, designed to decorate children's spaces (schools, kindergartens, Pioneers' houses, etc.)
The Dytvydav exhibition presents the intermediary findings of the research team. The main assumption which guided our inquiry (the scholars call it the hypothesis) is the statement: The sphere of children's illustration was a space of artistic expression for Ukrainian artists from the Thaw to Independence, mostly due to the complicated application of the doctrine of socialist realism to the depiction of the fantasy and fairy-tale worlds.
The assumption was altered by interviews with the artists, their partners and descendants, employees of the children's publishing industry; study of archival and research materials on Soviet children's illustration and publishing in the 1920s —1950s.
In the process of research, the hypothesis may be confirmed or disproved. Still, this statement guides researchers in the process of gathering information. At this stage of our ongoing exploration, this hypothesis is confirmed.
Unfortunately, scholars frequently face a dramatic problem: they may, consciously or unconsciously, ignore the information that disproves their hypothesis. Aware of this risk, we encourage you to participate as researchers, reviewers, and critics in this project.
We do not deny the existence of intense propaganda in the field of children's publications in the Soviet Union. Moreover, we hope that soon we will be able to cover this aspect of publishing as well. Dytvydav is a project about the opportunities that Ukrainian artists utilised in the circumstances of the state censorship of art; the opportunities that emerged from the intersection of personal beliefs, the support of the art community, and the collaboration with cultural institutions.
Within this exhibition, the artworks of 25 artists are presented on display. All of them expressed distinct evaluation of this period of their creative careers: for one, it was a temporary job, and for another — it became a life-long affair. We aim not only to acquaint you with the understudied aspect of the development of Ukrainian art but also to undermine oversimplified perspective on the cultural heritage of Ukraine of the Soviet period.
Curators — Pavlo Gudimov, Polina Baitsym, Oleg Gryschenko.