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Timeless. Contemporary Ukrainian Art in Times of War. An exhibition at the Bode Museum | 17.03.2023-17.03.2024

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From 17 March 2023, the Bode Museum will be showing the exhibition “Timeless. Contemporary Ukrainian Art in Times of War”. The sculpture collection and the Museum of Byzantine Art at the Bode-Museum house objects from the 3rd to the 18th century. Despite the historical distance and the often Christian motifs, these representatives of European cultural history are often still of astonishing topicality and social relevance today. Quite a few of the depictions and themes used here serve as a basis and source of inspiration for current art in Ukraine. The collections of the Bode-Museum can thus provide unexpected assistance for a better understanding of contemporary Ukrainian art. For this reason, one year after the start of the Russian war of aggression, the Bode-Museum has invited ten Ukrainian artists* to enter into a dialogue with selected works from its own collections.

Image above: Maryna Solomennykova, Ukrainische Madonna, 2022, © Maryna Solomennykova

In the context of the project, religious art serves as an effective means of illustrating core issues of European societies in the 21st century. While the collections of the Bode Museum illuminate social conflict situations and related artistic reflections from pre-1800 Europe, contemporary Ukrainian art interprets very similar themes in a creative way and at the same time in historical continuity. Against the backdrop of the successive incursions of Russian forces into Ukrainian territory since 2014, the works now presented, created between 2014 and 2022, emotionally reflect the dramatically changed life and troubled soul landscape of a young European nation.

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Alisa Lozhkina, Flucht nach Ägypten, 2022, © Alisa Lozhkina

The participating artists are Serhii Druziaka, Oleg Gryshchenko, Alisa Lozhkina, Serhii Lytvynov, Sergii Radkevych, Oleksii Revika, Konstantin Sinitskiy, Maryna Solomennykova, Alla Sorochan and Matvei Vaisberg.

Almost all of the artists are currently in Ukraine. As it is hardly possible to transport their paintings, graphic works and sculptures to Germany under the current circumstances, they are shown in the exhibition in the form of photo reproductions. They enter into dialogue with works such as the “Protective Mantle Madonna” by Michel Erhart (1480), Hans Leinberger’s “Christ in Misery” (c. 1525), the “Shield Bearers” by Tullio Lombardo (1480/1500) or the wooden high relief of the “Liberation of a Besieged City” (Egypt, 5th century).

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Befreiung der belagerten Stadt, Ägypten, 5. Jh., © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin,
Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst / Antje Voigt

In addition, the show, which is integrated into the permanent exhibition of the Bode Museum, offers explanatory texts in which the participating artists speak directly. These explanations are provided in German, English and Ukrainian.

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Matvei Vaisberg, Engel der Streitkräfte der Ukraine, 2022, © Matvei Vaisberg

“Timeless. Contemporary Ukrainian Art in Times of War” is curated by Olesia Sobkovych, National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II, Kyiv.

The project is funded by the Ukraine funding line of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation.


Bode Museum
Am Kupfergraben
10117 Berlin-Mitte


Friday, 17. March 2023 to Sunday, 17. March 2024
Tue – Sun 10 am – 6 pm

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