When Kipling the Great said that «East cannot
meet West» he certainly wasn’t able to envisage
the gallery space of «N2N». Not that we could have
expected him to, but here the different cultures and
styles work wonderfully together, flowing hand in
hand and producing something enchanting and beautiful.
Typically, the Oriental expressive pieces lack the
figurative, yet captivate audiences as only they
can. Contrasting well with Slavic authenticity in
terms of shapes and refined psychological insight
used to represent space, surface and time.
Spectacular in an understated way and inspiring
certainly, this exhibition holds appeal to the European
West and the Middle East. Both previously lacking
in knowledge and understanding of realism, now
attracted and interested in its appeal.
The treasures of the Ukraine are shared here, with
its crossroads of civilizations well represented using
much Italian Renaissance influence, such as the
three-dimensional and artificial-detailed portrayals.
Dating back to the 18th Century, but in full flow during
the 19th, the Renaissance boasts magnificence, well
recognized as the most prolific artistic period in
history. Among the many acclaimed artists are
One such artist was Ilya Repin whose work posed
a symbol of realism, born in the Kharkiv Region, but
moving away for much of his life he never forgot his
roots or his heritage. As a painter he immortalized
his homeland in many intriguing pictures.
Despite much narrative surrounding a conflict between
modernism and realism it is now largely regarded
as fictitious... In fact the 20th Century sees
the continuation of Repin’s artistic initiative, despite
the prevalence of modernist methods the world over.
Realism and modernism reconciled to each other —
like East and West... at least in the field of arts,
painting and sculpture.
The 2N2 art gallery in Abu Dhabi presents a harmony between the
two as it collaborates with artists of different styles
and cultures, including those who diverted from the
realistic streamline in their creative work in favor of
academic professionalism. Perhaps ahead of their
time in many ways, as such a priority remains at
the fore for most. Still, there are those who feel
technologies stifle the ‘presumption of uniqueness’
that is crucial in art to our mind.
Traditional genres, techniques and themes
hold immense value and significance as each
individual work of art is completely unique.
Such could not be said so readily of the genres,
techniques and themes of late modernism,
despite their indisputable appeal.
In spite of political change and societal progression
humans by nature hold a desire to furnish their
homes as they choose... To dream beneath their
favorite picture, to converse over a piece of art, to
imagine themselves a part of it...
Ukrainian works through the second half of the 20th
and early part of the 21st Centuries can fit this bill.
Many of those called for by the N2N Gallery live up
to the desire of the disillusioned modern spectator
looking for the comfort in reason, kindness and
eternal values. Perhaps as a form of escapism from
the conflicting reality of modern life...