The State Polytechnic Museum named after Borys Paton at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute is exhibiting a photo exhibition "Soledar. Salt. War". On March 23, its visitors were able to attend three events at once.  The curators and authors of the exhibition "Soledar. Salt. War" exhibition, the creators of the exhibition of paintings by Ukrainian artist Touchi, and the organizers of the piano concert with Hungarian pianist Peter Balatoni managed to combine these cultural events within the museum location. Symphonic melodies were presented among the paintings, including to soldiers undergoing rehabilitation in Kyiv hospitals. 


But let's talk about everything in order. First of all, about the exhibition "Soledar. Salt. War" exhibition. The title makes it clear that this is a visual story about a small town still ruled by the russian occupation authorities. These are also photo essays about Ukrainian soldiers who stood up to defend their homeland so that the whole of Ukraine would not turn into Soledar, Mariupol, Maryanka, Bakhmut, destroyed by the enemy...

According to Vitalii Tatarchuk, Head of the KPI Museum's History Department, the exhibition consists of two thematic blocks. The first one is based on 17 photographs showing the process of salt extraction from the bowels of Soledar and the landscapes of this peaceful city in the Donetsk region in the recent past. The author of these photographs is a former resident of Kramatorsk, Oleksandr Parkhomenko (now living in Agen, France). Almost three dozen photo portraits of the defenders of Soledar and other cities where the "Russian world" has spread were taken by Iryna Rybakova, a press officer with the 93rd Brigade "Kholodnyi Yar".

The second thematic block of the exhibition is devoted to the display of exhibits and information panels that help to imagine the scale of salt production in local mines at a maximum depth of 288 meters (only 3% of all explored reserves were mined) in peacetime. There are also salt crystals and souvenir figures made of salt with fluorescent lamps. The installation of samples from the last batch of salt extracted from the mines of the Ukrainian State Production Association Artemsil, which is crowned with a multifaceted salt single crystal, is complemented by mining tools.  

"Photos by Oleksandr Parkhomenko," says Vitaliy Tatarchuk, "are extremely interesting illustrations of peaceful life in a picturesque town in Donetsk region. And the whole exhibition is a story about the harmony of life that existed in Soledar, and which can never be returned. Looking through the photographs of Oleksandr Parkhomenko and the portraits made by Iryna Rybakova, you dream that the people who are fighting for a future peaceful life will return to their families."

...The tour of the exhibition dedicated to the history and present of Soledar is coming to an end. The museum visitors move to the exhibition hall, where a piano concert with the participation of Hungarian pianist Peter Balatoni begins. The concert hosts offer to simultaneously look at the paintings along the perimeter of the museum hall, created by the young Ukrainian artist Touchi. The mysterious concentric multicolored spots, striped rays, and colorful patterns are reminiscent of the style of abstract expressionism developed by US artists. And, in particular, the ideologist and leader of abstract expressionism, who influenced the overall development of world fine art in the second half of the twentieth century, Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956).  

"Touchi's series of paintings "No. 6" imitates the artistic techniques used in "No. 5" by Jackson Pollock," art critics comment on the work of the young Ukrainian artist, who has exhibited her works in the UK, Poland, and the USA. Experiments with canvas and paint, when the artist slowly moves around the future painting, sometimes across the canvas, dripping, pouring and splashing paint on its surface, are also practiced by Touchi. The black color of the general background becomes a portal, emphasizing the cosmically open foreground of the paintings." Arbitrary and decisive strokes connect negative and positive spaces. The painting of the Ukrainian artist, the visual image of the paintings and their seemingly elusive interaction with the piano music calms you down. 

The expressive interaction of music by Peter Balatoni - a wreath "woven" from the Ukrainian anthem and classical melodies by Ukrainian and European composers - combined with the visual impressions of Touchi's paintings allows viewers to immerse themselves in artistic worlds, to feel the boundaries between the real and the imaginary blurring. Musical rhythm and expressive brush strokes, palette knife, traces left by splattered paint bring viewers closer to their own and subconscious responses to the realities of the modern world. 

Art also brings the Victory closer...

Viktor Zadvornov


From the Editor: to review the exhibition "Soledar. Salt. War" exhibition at the Borys Paton Museum of Art at the KPI will be open until May 20.

Soledar was once the largest producer of rock salt in Central and Eastern Europe. Today it is practically a ruin.

The memory of the peaceful days of Soledar lives on in the unique photographs of the photo exhibition "Soledar. Salt. War", which is being held at the State Polytechnic Museum at KPI from March 19 to May 20.

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