Upcoming: An Artist Talk With Yury Kharchenko

by Carl Kruse

Our artist friend Yury Kharchenko joins a debate titled “Art, Culture and Memory” at the Wallraf Museum in Cologne, Germany, on 5 October 2021 from 19.00-21.00.

The chat will deal with issues surrounding Holocaust remembrance, the culture of remembrance and the cult of guilt.

Yury Kharcehnko - Portrait

Yury Kharchenko. Photo: New York Times.

In his more recent art works, Yury has dealt with the Holocaust in a seemingly offensive way, using iconography that takes up well-known figures and ideas from pop culture and mixes them with references to the Holocaust.  He confronts viewers with violent fantasies, breaks taboos, shocks sensibilities. We see Scrooge McDuck guarding his money at the gates of Auschwitz. Bugs Bunny has sex in front of a concentration camp.  Goofy trots along happily in front of Buchenwald. Batman stares at us as in front of Auschwitz. These and other works are part of Yury’s series “Waiting for a Superhero,” where he seems to ask, among other things, why didn’t any of the superheros or pop greats save the jews from genocide? The discussion at the Wallraf Museum will take up the role of Yury’s art in the context of Holocaust remembrance and the extent it can (or cannot) contribute to the discourse surrounding the holocaust. 

Carl Krue Art blog - Bugs Bunny
Carl Kruse Art Blog - Goofy



The event will feature Yury, Rita Kersting (Deputy Director Museum Ludwig), Prof. Dr. Micha Brumlik (Publicist, emeritus professor of Educational Sciences University, Frankfurt), Kay Heymer (Head of Modern Art, Museum Kunstpalast Foundation) and will be moderated by Dr. Michael Köhler (freelance author, moderator, editor).

About Yury Kharchenko:  Yury was born in Moscow in 1986 and studied from 2004 to 2008 at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Between 2010 and 2012 he devoted himself to the study of the Torah, Talmud, Jewish ethics and philosophy as well as the topic of Jewish thought influences in postmodernism with a focus on Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas. He lives and works in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Registration with address and telephone number (for contact tracking) is required at miqua@lvr.de  Registration closes on September 29, 2021

Corona information: Due to restrictions related to the corona pandemic only a limited number of spots are available. If you plan to attend, please review the corona virus precautions for the event at: www.miqua.blog

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We covered Yury during his last exhibitions here.
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Yury Kharchenko – Upcoming Hamburg and Berlin Exhibits

by Carl Kruse


It has been a busy season for my artist friend Yury Kharchenko with the completion of several new works, the latest being a series that is generating controversy though the artworks have yet to be publicly exhibited.  In these latest works, Kharchenko depicts comic and pop culture icons at the entrance to Auschwitz, with the unmistakable towers of death juxtaposed in the background, creating conflict and tension by bringing two worlds together that never should have met.  The works include Scrooge McDuck Protects his Money in Front of Auschwitz and a series titled Waiting For A Super Hero, all raising the question why didn’t a Superman or a Batman or any Disney hero save the Jews? The super heroes always saved everyone but why not now?  One of Kharchenko’s main preoccupations is whether what happened before — the horror of the Holocaust — could ever happen again.

Carl Kruse At Blog - Scrooge McDuck
Scrooge McDuck Protects His Money In Front of Auschwitz

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Waiting for a Super hero - Yury Kharchenko
Waiting For A Super Hero (In front of Auschwitz)

Meanwhile, a work by Kharchenko, “House of Hope, Number 2 (oil on canvas 2019), formerly of the Paul J. Schupf collection, has been donated to the Colby College Museum of Art as part of the last will of Mr. Schupf who passed away December 4, 2019.  Besides Kharchenko’s work, Schupf was one of the largest collectors of Francis Bacon, Alex Katz and Richard Serra, works that will now be featured at the Colby College Museum of Art.  For more information on the museum visit:  https://www.colby.edu/museum/

Yury was also featured in a New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/world/europe/germany-identity.html ) on the topic of  Jewish/German identity in Germany – a prominent thread that runs through his art — where he defiantly says he is a German Jew in spite of, or maybe because of, the armed guards in front of his son’s school in Berlin.

In the latest news, Yury will participate in the upcoming “Heart: 100 Artists. 1 Mission” project at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (one of the largest art museums in Germany) that runs from October 20 through November 8, 2020.  The exhibition then re-launches at the Berlinische Galerie from November 18 through 26, 2020.

The “Heart, 100 Artists. 1 Mission” seeks to raise money for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR) and to help projects that aid refugees in Germany.  In a government-approved lottery, the project will sell tickets for Forty Euros a piece with the money from the first 25,000 tickets handed over to the UNHCR.  Each ticket gives the participant the opportunity to get an artwork from the exhibition, all of which have been donated by the 100 participating artists, including Yury.   The list of artists is available at https://www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/en/heart-100-artist-1-mission

The exhibition is organized by the U.N. Refugee Aid – Germany in an effort to strongly express solidarity and support to the many millions of people fleeing their homes due to conflict and poverty.  Since its beginning in Bonn, Germany in 1980, this organization has worked to ameliorate the living situation for refugees and to help them fully integrate in new host countries.

Learn more about Yury’s art at https://yury-kharchenko.com

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