«Harlequin Is Leaving…»

In Memoriam

 Legendary Collection of Ihor Dychenko

Ukrainian art of the ХХ century

Dates: Aug 20 – Sep 6

On August 20 Mystetskyi Arsenal will host an exhibition of unique private collection of Ihor Dychenko, Ukrainian art critic and artist, who devoted his life to the study of works by Ukrainian artists of the XX century.

The exhibition will include more than 300 works of Ukrainian and international artists of the XX century, i.e.  the art of the avant-garde,  including: K. Malevich,  A. Bogomazov, V. Palmov,  A. Tyshler, V. Yermylov, S. Dali; paintings and graphic works by the “Sixtiers”:  V.  Zaretsky,  A.  Gorska, A. Sumar, S. Lerma; representatives of the “New Wave”: V. Tsygalov, D. Kavsan and others.

In memory of the collector “Mystetskyi Arsenal” prepares to print a catalog of the collection, i.e.  the first thorough scientific studies on the attribution of 451 paintings and graphic works, which since 2011 have been in temporary storage at NCAMC “Mystetskyi Arsenal” and have been exhibited in various configurations in five projects. Presentation of the catalog will take place at the opening of the exhibition, and it can be purchased in the shop of “Mystetskyi Arsenal.”

Ihor Dychenko began collecting avant-garde works in his student days in the early 1960s, and since then an obsession with collecting had become the meaning of his life. It is due to fanatical devotion to his hobby a lot of works of Ukrainian artists of the XX century have been preserved.  At that time, works from the collection were exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Munich, Winnipeg, London, Toulouse, Katowice, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kyiv, and Odessa.

Since Soviet times, there were rumors and mystifications around the collector and his collection that over the years became even more mysterious. Ihor Dychenko spread with pleasure myths and legends about himself and his collection. Therefore, now, no one knows the exact number of works, the history of their existence and final place of their storage. The owner of works perfectly knew the value of the works he had collected. So, since the end of the 1980s he gave valuable masterpieces in temporary storage to the state museum institutions. At different times, the collection was in storage at the Museum of Books and Book Printing of Ukraine, the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kyiv History Museum.

In one of the interviews Ihor Dychenko called himself  “the last of the Mohicans of the old guard collectors who denied himself,” recalled how he was looking for a job of “repressed, forgotten and formalists.” And to the thesis, that few people believe that he made the collection for next to nothing, retorted: that’s true, “these funds could make repairs only in some shack or an attic.”

In 90 years, Ihor Dychenko had a tradition of organizing exhibitions out of his own collection on St. Nicholas Day in Kyiv. These exhibitions were like a mystery. One of them he called by the name Harlequin, his favorite character commedia dell’arte, of improvisational theater, that seems to be unpredictable as life itself.  Dychenko himself told about his collection half-fantasy and half-truth. To a certain extent, the fate of the Harlequin, who represents an unattainable dream and disappointment, befell the collector who dreamed of his own museum during his last years, where a white piano should sound for visitors, where no one knew grief and was able to communicate with like-minded people.

Ihor Dychenko (12 Dec 1946 – 24 May 2015) – art critic, artist and collector. Member of the National Union of Artists (since 1984). He graduated from the Kyiv Art Institute (1969). He worked at the Central State Archive of Literature and Art Museum of Ukraine; as a professor of art history at the Kyiv State Choreographic School; since 1992 – senior researcher at the Kyiv History Museum. Organizer and participant of numerous exhibitions and artistic events since 1970s.  In 1992, he founded the International Charitable Foundation. Author of research works of the outstanding Ukrainian artists, like: G. Narbut, K. Pyskorsky, A. Petrytsky, M. Boychuk, L. Lozovsky, V. Sedlyar, A. Bogomazov, K. Malevich, V. Kasiyan,  M. Glushchenko, T.  Yablonska, as well as articles on the work of A. Pavlova, V. Nijinsky, S. Lifar, L. Jacobson, R.Nuriyev, V. Malakhov, R. Poklitaru.