Our contemporary Ukrainian cultural moment has brought an opportunity for various new design projects and innovations. The creation of contemporary cultural artifacts and movements is a wholesome indicator for the development of a society. If we take such development as a benchmark, the country is doing well indeed. Thus, our winter issue is dedicated to contemporary Ukrainian design and photography in all their glory.
The aesthetic development of contemporary Ukrainian culture can be observed through many prisms. These range from a renaissance of the art of calligraphy and innovative design for record albums to fantastic interior designs for fashion boutiques and industrial design. This is a moment of widespread recalibration of the ways in which Ukrainians (and the expatriate communities that live among them and write about this society) think about visual storytelling. This issue focuses on creative innovators in Ukrainian design philosophy, people who are rethinking the way houses, websites and restaurant menus might be designed. Likewise, much of the design of the Soviet past, Ukraine’s unmissable artistic patrimony, is also being reassessed. Impassioned debates have broken out over what to do with the legacy of communist-era public artworks that remain on display in cities and towns across the country. Some people want to banish such art from the pedestal and metro ceiling to the museum and the scrap heap, while others believe that beautiful objects should remain where they are as they connect us to our past. In this issue, we have written about communist era mosaics as well as a Cold War-era missile base that has been converted into a museum.
Finally, we are thrilled to welcome our new Senior Editor Matthew Kupfer, who has joined the staff of The Odessa Review after working at the Moscow Times and serving as Managing Editor of Hromadske International. Kupfer is one of the brightest young journalists covering the contemporary post-Soviet world and we are very glad to have him. In this issue, Kupfer writes about the august Ukrainian intellectual journal Krytyka (which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year) as well as about the “Yebenya aesthetic”, the post-Soviet answer to the Western love of derelict “ruin porn”. The appreciation of a lack of wholesomeness, which is a very modern taste, is perhaps also a wholesome development for Post-Soviet culture.
Welcome aboard, Mon. Kupfer!