Culture News, 09/02/2018

Zhadan Travels Back to 1920s with Inspiration from Kurbas

The poetry of Mykhaylo Semenko, Maik Yohansen and other Ukrainian writers of Executed Renaissance got their extraordinary representation in Kharkiv Yermilov Centre yesterday.

Popular contemporary Kharkiv writer Serhiy Zhadan linked the poignant poetry of past to actual events in Ukraine and his own creativity as he interlaced the most touching and ironic poems of late writers with his pieces of poetry. That was similar to an incredible time machine of art, which together with temporary power outage in the building and candlelight instead of electricity carried the audience back to 1920s.

The viewers’ reaction was emotional and heartfelt, the people did not hide their tears and admiration. Zhadan’s fans were particularly pleased with some extracts from his new book he presented.

Obviously, the performance’s special atmosphere was inspired by the historical theatre set, costumes and design of cult Berezil theatre, being presented in the modern art center these days within Les Kurbas in Kharkiv exhibition.

The main exhibition driving force is an ardent American director, translator and researcher of Ukrainian origin Virlana Tkacz, the founding director of the Yara Arts Group from New York. Since 1989, Virlana Tkacz has translated Ukrainian poetry, presenting Ukrainian culture to the world. Whilst this winter, she is presenting old sublime artistic Kharkiv to new Kharkivites.

The interactive exposition not only delivers rare displays but includes theatrical performances from Berezil theater repertoire, offers tours and film screenings, discussions with actors and Kurbas works researchers, lectures on Ukrainian avant-garde and urban art and Carols singers concert. Yesterday’s poetry journey was part of the eventful program.

“We are very lucky to have had Les Kurbas in Kharkiv, to inherit the spirit of all these Ukrainian geniuses. We are creating our today’s Kharkiv together with them and we live on in this environment,” said Zhadan at the end of his performance, highlighting the connection between late and live poets and artists in Kharkiv.

Text, photo: Olena Sokolynska