Yuliia Manukian – Košice Modernism: Striking AuthentiCity

Šopa Gallery / Košice Artist in Residence, Hlavná 40, Košice 14.12.2023 18.00

Yulia Manukian’s research during her residency at KAIR focuses on the period of interwar modernism in Košice. She focuses on two levels of the city’s heritage: the architecture of the future and the promotion of a creative national and local identity. An important representative of this idea – the incorporation of new architecture into the historic environment – was Ľudovít Oelschläger. Yulia’s unbiased perspective allows her to impartially examine the modernist architecture of the period, emphasizing the importance of local narratives in the environment of the newly forming republic. It is an attempt to see how regional and cosmopolitan approaches to art and architecture intertwined and influenced each other.

In the 1920s, interwar Košice, part of the newly founded Czechoslovakia, became a vibrant centre of cultural life. The domestic context of the 1920s and 1930s can be seen as a transgression of all local boundaries, an ambitious measuring up to Europe and the world. However, it took quite a long time to explore the regional atmosphere through the lens of the global modernist movement and to transcend the centre/periphery dualism.

All this is important for understanding the phenomenon of Košice modernism, the time of Košice’s cultural boom in the interwar period. Artists from different parts of the former monarchy worked here, reflecting the turbulent reality and contributing their diverse visions to the current social-critical discourse. New urban tendencies, which drew inspiration from the slow but fundamental changes in the urban landscape, are also represented in Košice Modernism. Modernist urban motifs were manifested in depictions of café routine, public and private life, industrial boom – all signs of relentlessly advancing progress, while not neglecting its darker side – social tension, poverty and crisis, which resonated in the work of some artists.

Yuliia Manukian is a cultural journalist, curator of art and urban projects at the NGO Urban Re-Public (Kherson, Ukraine), which focuses on contemporary art, urban issues, and the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. She is a passionate researcher of modernist architecture (Kherson, Uzhhorod, Weimar, Dessau, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Bucharest, Brno, Hradec Kralove).

The residency program is supported using public funding by the Slovak Arts Council. Slovak Arts Council is the main partner of this project.
The project is also supported by City Košice.