Мистецький Арсенал
вул. Лаврська, 10-12
Київ, Київська область 01010

He who creates neither with words nor deeds is dead while still alive.

Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit, Say It, Poet…, 1988

Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit was a Hutsul painter, folklorist, ethnographer, philosopher and photographer. She lived a solitary life in the Carpathian village Kryvorivnia and has become one of the cultural symbols of this place and the whole Hutsul region. However, the artist is still little known to the general public. Paraska created her own microcosm existing on the verge of truth and fiction, where reality intertwines with the mystical so closely that they can’t be separated. Her life was a difficult path of trials where Paraska managed to keep trust in people, embrace the philosophy of love, and learn to travel without leaving the village thanks to art.

Overcoming gravity is a process that contradicts the laws of nature and breaks existing rules. It is the search for alternative ways of being, beyond the usual circle and social stereotypes. The exhibition seeks to show Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit’s life journey, her formation as an artist, creative diversity and how she stood by her own identity under social and political pressure.

After Paraska returned from the labor camp, many locals avoided her so as not to provoke the reaction of the Soviet system. But despite the fact that life in the village dictated its own rules and norms of behavior, the artist chose the path of self-fulfillment, cognition, faith and enlightenment. She embodied her life experience in hand-made books and pictures. The knowledge she gained and the people she met in the camp formed Paraska’s perception of reality and a wide circle of contacts that went far beyond her home village. 

When studying the materials from Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit’s archive, we follow the path of trials: memories of forced labor in Germany, mentions of assistance from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and afterwards—arrest and almost a decade of imprisonment; after coming back home—adapting to the new Soviet lifestyle, searching for like-minded people and communicating with fellow villagers through photography, creating her own channel of information and inspiration, correspondence with intellectuals from different cities and acquaintances from the camp. Her everyday life was inseparable from creative work, ideas were born in the whirl of all-encompassing curiosity, under the influence of the stories she heard and the books, newspapers and letters she read. Paraska knew the value of time, that is why preserving and passing down knowledge through art was of such special importance to her.

In her art, Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit successfully combined different forms and approaches to fixating reality and the world around her, from traditional book publishing to modern media—photography and experiments with printing and design. Her works incorporate regional traditions and the latest, at the time, knowledge about space, politics and distant countries.

Since Paraska’s death, her art has started living a life of its own. The perception of her oeuvre transforms in the context of today’s changes, there are new facets to interpreting her texts and visual images, forgotten works become valuable. Owing to the modern comprehension of Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit’s figure, her artworks are now of great topicality for the present time, especially for our urbanized society.

The exhibition Overcoming Gravity at Mystetskyi Arsenal is a journey through the world of spiritual images, fairy-tale texts, ethnographic notes, fictional landscapes and documentary photographs.


  • Organized by:

    Mystetskyi Arsenal
    Ukrainian MIME Center
    Agency of regional development of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast
    Project idea and research:
    Kateryna Buchatska
    Inha Levi
    Maksym Rudenko
    Oleksandr Chaika
    Heritage museumification:
    Olha Melnyk
    Olenka Onohda
    Hanna Chovnyk
    Project management:
    Yuliia Vahanova
    Anna Pohribna
    Andrii Svetilnikov
    Exposition curator:
    Kateryna Radchenko
    Exhibition architecture and video installations:
    Serhii Petliuk
    Graphic design:
    Lera Huievska
    Hanna Solovei
    Alla Sorochan
    Technical director:
    Serhii Diptan
    Mykola Bazarkin
    Denys Ovchar
    Svyatoslav Luniov
    Educational program:
    Olha Klebanska
    Svitlana Tsurkan
    Project coordinator in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast:
    Mariana Zaklinska

  • The project is realized with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation


    The Ukrainian Cultural Foundation is a state-owned institution created in 2017 in correspondence with the Law of Ukraine with aim to facilitate development of culture and arts in Ukraine, to provide favourable environment for development of intellectual and spiritual potential of individuals and society, wide access for the citizens to national cultural heritage, to support cultural diversity and integration of the Ukrainian culture into the world cultural space. The Ukrainian Cultural Foundation supports projects through a competitive selection process. Activities of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation are guided and coordinated by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.

  • Project partners

    The community of the village of Kryvorivnia
    Ivan Franko Literary Memorial Museum, Kryvorivnia
    Mykhailo Hrushevskyi Memorial Estate, Kryvorivnia
    The Ukrainian Sixtiers Dissident Movement Museum, Kyiv
    The Branch State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine