Four Ukrainian Artists And Designers Seen In Paris That You Should Follow Now

The Tripolar team rounded out their three-part Paris showcase of Ukrainian art and culture earlier this month, by taking over opulent apartments on the Left Bank. Displayed underneath the gilded cornices and Baroque friezes, was a curation of contemporary art and design by Ukrainian artists, many of whom are still working out of their home country. After previous events dedicated to the past and present of Ukrainian culture, this final installment was resolutely turned towards the future, with more thoughtful – and thought-provoking – forms of creativity produced by artists who have all chosen to stay in Ukraine over the past nine months.

Curated by Vogue Ukraine fashion director Venya Brykalin and Baby Productions creative director Sonya Kvasha, both exiled in Paris since the Russian invasion in February, the show aims to widen the perception of Ukraine beyond stories of war and trauma. The result is a snapshot of how the country’s creative community are processing recent events and how they view the future.

Each of the three pop-ups has been poignant and rich, and the pair are justly proud of their work: “it’s about showing the warmth and humanity of Ukrainian culture,” says Brykalin, “These are real people, with real stories to tell and they are fighting to keep their voices heard. This final chapter is about more than buying the work of Ukrainian designers, it’s a reaction to the place in which we find ourselves, bringing Ukrainian art into a very Parisian environment.”

To a haunting soundscape by sound artist Oleh Shpudeiko (Heinali), recent works from blue-chip artists like Dana Kosmina and Nikita Kadan were interspersed with fashion and accessories from Bevza, Anton Belinskiy and Nomis jewelry. This time, the focus was firmly on the art: here are four names to know; four creatives whose stars are rising as the appetite for Ukrainian art grows.

Vasylyna Vrublevska

The rich colors and visual textures of Garden of Nothing, made by artist Vasylyna Vrublevska, were created by deliberate over-exposure and chemical interaction with photographic film. From a starry night to a country landscape, the viewer can project what they wish onto the images, in an interrogation of the nature of documentary photography — Vrublevska is also documenting the destruction of the Constructivist architecture damaged by the Russian military. A series of seven dreamy abstract images were shown in a light-filled atelier, with a single black and white figurative picture taken from a reportage on the Ukrainian bomb disposal unit working near Kyiv, jolting the viewer back from they reverie and straight into the reality of the artist’s personal situation as a witness to war.

Stephan Lisowski & Nadia Shapoval

Stephan Lisowski began his career in fashion and has since moved into documentary photography. Nadiia Shapoval is a creative director working in heritage and ethnology. Together, the pair is traveling Ukraine recording the beauty they find in their homeland. Taken from a work-in-progress book documenting their findings, Cafe Sunrise shows the kind of hole-in-the-wall cafe that is a common part of life across the country. The sign in Cyrillic script reads ‘cafeteria ranok’, which means ‘morning cafe’, captured in what could be the warm light of early morning; full of promise and the perfect metaphor for the show itself.


Costume designer and stylist Sonya Soltes’ career took an unexpected turn when she bought land in the Ukrainian countryside and began exploring agriculture. She set up Lutiki, a jewelry brand inspired by the Orthodox idea of transforming everyday items into symbols, starting with a bracelet modeled on the hair tie worn on the wrists of women around the world. More recently, the Garlic (above) and Seed pendants are a metaphor for the cycles of renewal and hope inherent in her day-to-day life farming. Handmade in Ukraine, proceeds from the Seed pendant are currently donated to local communities suffering during the war.

Dana Kosmina

Dana Kosmina‘s in-situ installation made a breathtaking figure underneath a crystal chandelier at the top of sweeping stairs. Kosmina represented Ukraine at the Venice Biennale earlier this year and her work encourages us to rethink what a monument is, and how our visual perception can differ from reality. Monuments in Ukraine are currently sandbagged and protected with whatever materials can be found, and this site-specific installation was inspired by a picture of a statue in Lviv. Neptune also explores Ukraine’s access to water and its coastline after the annexing of Crimea, more recent devastation in the port towns of Mariupol and Kherson and mined beaches in Odessa. Inside, the sculpture is made of found materials and trash; as the only part of the sculpture that is solid and permanent, Neptune‘s trident represents hope and renewal.

Triplolar 3 ran November 14 – 18, in Paris.

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