Kiev is a city of magnitude. If events take place, they are huge. If prices are high, they are soaring. Even traffic jams are far bigger than those in Riga, for instance. Ideas and ambitions in Ukrainian cultural life run high as well, and it couldn't be otherwise. Arts thrive there. An intense agenda of events, artistic workshops promoting young, up-and-coming talents, and internationally renowned guest-stars visiting Kiev is no longer a surprise.
A must-visit art destination. An art gallery gathering a queue at its entrance - a phenomenon hardly observed even in London. Its owner, Viktor Pinchuk, ex-President's son-in-law, a steel magnate and one of the East Europe's wealthiest men is famous for his bold projects, free concerts of Elton John and Paul McCartney in the centre of Kiev being just two of the kind. He is said to have bought almost an entire collection of Damien Hirst's paintings at London's auction, too. Aside from the scandalous English painter, PinchukArtCentre presents several other brilliant artists, fantastic German architectural and landscape photographer Andreas Gursky, much admired by exhibition-goers at Tate Britain in London, MoMA in New York and other art temples across the world among them. Moreover, entrance there is free of charge - just step in and taste top-notch art!
Opened two years ago and spreading over 4 floors, it is one of the largest contemporary art galleries in East Europe. Not a surprise at all, PinchukArtCentre was entrusted to represent Ukraine at the Venice Biennale 2007, confirming beyond any doubt that Viktor Pinchuk is a major Ukrainian art scene patron. Thanks to him, famous names flow to Ukraine, producing furor and fueling people's interest in arts. Along with its permanent collection, comprising more than 500 artworks, PinchukArtCentre offers changing expositions. The gallery houses a pleasant café, too.
Decades-old metal gate leads into the Tsekh, or an abandoned production site, in fact. Weatherworn premises provide an ideal presentation space for what the younger generation Ukrainian artists can come up with. Tsekh Gallery, sited in Podil area, saturated with an artistic spirit, oozes a mix of the start of the 20th century and the Soviet era charm and seems to be a temple of young artists of today. The buildings, hardly renovated but not shabby either, are just perfect to stroll around and savor the special air that fills this place. Not yet so familiar but talented artists exhibit there with Aleksey Say, quite unorthodox Ukrainian master among them. Within so called Excel Art project, he has come up with a collection of images created by means of this program. Broken on many pixels, they are dedicated to people who daily use this software and spend most of their time in front of PC screens. Say's works have been exhibited in galleries of London and Moscow as well.
None the less colorful character is Eugeniy Petrov, working under the pseudonym of Nikifor Dobchinsky. At least he seems to be endowed with greater sense of irony than anyone else of Zeh new discoveries and his parody on Russian-Ukrainian "court painter" Gabcinskaya serves as a proof to that - belonging to his own paintbrush, he sells small-size copies of her artworks 20 times cheaper than the originals. Zeh Gallery offers exhibition space to well-seasoned artist, like Vasily Tsagolov, Nikolay Belous and Beata Korn as well.
Ya Gallery is a project cherished by the owner of a design studio and rock musician Pavlo Gudimov and may easily become your favorite in Kiev. It's mostly thanks to the friendly and welcoming approach of its owner, willingly showing you around and fascinating with colorful stories leading behind the scenes of Russian art life. Particularly, he praises works of a progressive Ukrainian painter Vlada Radko, the closest one to his heart, apparently. Due to her quite aggressive manner of expression, she sometimes is boldly compared to Francis Bacon within artistic circles.
Ya, sited in Podil area, a short way from the Zeh Gallery, aside from exhibitions organizes also art workshops, meetings with artists, film viewings, even publishes books.
Although not exactly as charming as Ya Gallery, it is still worth a visit, especially for those who strive to complement their art collections with internationally recognized names.
Ukraine, Kyiv, 8 Pankivska Str.
Phone/Fax: +38 044 287 37 66/62
Although Kiev restaurant scene is pretty diverse and ambitious, finding an appealing place to please all five senses isn't that easy. Oddities of a developing economy haven't passed by the realm of gastronomy either, producing seemingly fine dining sites mostly to boost ones social status, while quality of food seems to be somewhat neglected. The entrances exhibit jeeps and "Mercedeses", while dining halls splurge with leather seats, exquisite lamps and caviar - entire set of style and comfort to please the tastes of local tycoons. Yet massive menus and wine lists of outwardly first-rate restaurants are mostly made to impress. The cheapest wine at Egoist, for example, costs about LVL 100, and its refined French cuisine, although not bad, has a clear Slavic touch - a Ukrainian-Western mix, so to say, that does not make you gasp with excitement either. The same refers to other showoff cases, like Concord, Fellini, Da Vinci Fish Club, Decadence House, Buddha-bar, etc. Yet if you feel like tasting charms of ultimate flaunting at least once in a lifetime, these are ones to pick. Do not expect too much of eateries offering local cuisine either - good varenyky, meat dishes, etc., but nothing mind blowing, to be honest.
In contrast, Kiev's cafes, especially offsprings of the famous Repriza chain (www.repriza.com), possess more enjoyable ambiance than the above mentioned restaurants. They are much favored by creative intellectuals, but still cannot match up to charm and quality of Osīriss in Riga. There are four Repriza cafes in Kiev, one of them located in slightly bohemian Podil area. Fresh bread, pastries and chocolate, all made on site - delicious!
Yet if you crave for something typical, immerse yourself into the labyrinths of Besarabsky Marketplace - the most expensive, yet definitely the best and centrally located place to purchase genuine Ukrainian salo (salt-cured pork fat) and vodka.
Wine devotees, however, have to jot down two destinations, one of them Lavinia, to be found also in Paris and Madrid. The concept is easy and comfortable there - buy a bottle of wine at a shop price and savor along with a good meal at the restaurant - a perfect lunch spot, by the way. Another place, comprising both a wine store and a restaurant is Strada della Vino, located just opposite the Besarabsky Marketplace.
- Watch out for inflated taxi fares from the airport to the city (it does not occur anyplace else, however) - approximately 170-180 grivnas or 17-18 LVL. The initial amount they ask may be even 300 grivnas, if you are not willing to bargain.Share it:
Keywords: Kiev, art gallery, restaurant, cafe