Vlodko (Volodymyr) Kaufmann

ID: 277

An artist, graphic artist, painter, performer, curator. Since 1974, he has lived and worked in Lviv.

Born in 1957 in Karaganda (Kazakhstan). In 1974, upon advice from his art school teacher, he entered the Ivan Trush School of Arts and Crafts and moved to Lviv. He graduated in 1978 and proceeded to the Faculty of Architecture at Lviv Polytechnic Institute, where he studied for two years.

Kaufman is a co-founder of important art institutions in Lviv: in 1989-1993, he was a member of the Shliakh (lit. "The Way") art society; in 1993, he co-founded the Dzyga Art Association; in 2007, he co-founded the Institute of Contemporary Art that ran the Week of Contemporary Art in Lviv and the Days of Performance Art in Lviv.



Vlodko Kaufman arrived at his genuine art genre vydyvo (spectacle + video) through the search and art experimentation in various formats and techniques. It was also fertilized by the context of political perestroika that started in the Soviet Union in 1986. He recalls:


"I was impressed by a huge fresh ground of opportunities that suddenly opened up to me; I decided to give it a try and to combine in one project installation, painting, and theatrical performance — anything you can imagine" (Koval, "Vlodko Kaufman: "Art for me is a disease which is difficult to get rid of," 2006).

Through experimenting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kaufman found his medium. Nevertheless, he always claims it is not the most important thing: "… what I find most important is the idea and the ideology, while the technology for implementing a project comes second, though no less important. However, the idea should always dictate the form, not otherwise." Thus vydyvo is a genre that combines graphic art, painting, installations, performance, and happening. In the material form, it is something between a spectacle and a video.

Kaufman has authored numerous exhibitions, theatrical shows, and projects in Ukraine and beyond. His present activities focus on long-term projects: Nests for Trees; Ecotheater (Biotheater); Fish-therapy and Bird-therapy. The latter was enabled through the etching technique he started back in the early days of becoming an artist.

Nataliya Shymin, Vlodko Kaufman's wife, is a textile and costume designer, and a scene designer. They jointly made several theatrical projects, such as the scene design for "The Apocrypha" production in Les Kurbas Lviv Youth Theater, directed by Volodymyr Kuchynskyi (1996), and the "Third Millenium" jointly with Antonina Denisiuc and Serhiy Synitsyn in the Lviv Palace of Arts (1997). They also had a joint installation performance "The Diary" in Dzyga (1998).

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Vul. Snopkivska, 47 – Lviv Ivana Trusha College of Decorative and Applied Arts

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Vul. Bandery, 12 – Lviv Polytechnic National University main building

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Vul. Kurbasa, 03 – Lviv Les Kurbas Theater

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Vul. Stefanyka, 03 – Lviv Art Gallery Building (former Loziński palace)

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Vul. Staroznesenska – Znesinnia Park

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Prosp. Shevchenka, 01 – former cinema "Europa", "Ukraine"

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Vul. Pidvalna, 4 – Architects' Building (former Gunpowder Tower)

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Vul. Hnatiuka, 11 – theater building

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Works and Projects

1993 — Letters to Earthlings or the Eighth Seal, a happening, Lviv Art Gallery: video
1993 — Unfathomable Destruction, an exhibition and installation, Lviv Art Gallery 
1994 — Mirror Carp, a happening (transformation), Znesinnia Park (Lviv)
1994 — Birthday, a happening, The Gunpowder Tower (Lviv)
1995 — Food, a performance, art studio of Emmanuil Mysko (Lviv)
1995 — A Comedy of Ecstasy, a performance, Dzyga Culture and Art Center (Lviv)
1996 — Club-cafe Babylon XX…, conscious kitsch, Ukrayina Cinema Center (Lviv)
1996 — Retrospection, performance and installation,  Dzyga
1997 — Versions of Filling, installation, Dzyga
1998 — The Return of Icarus, art-mix, Dzyga
1998 — Diary (together with Nataliya Shymin), performance installation, Dzyga
1999 — Time-Constant.Vydyvo I, Dzyga
2000 — Second Hand (from the Second Hands). Vydyvo ІІ, Dzyga
2000 — Catching of Time. Vydyvo ІІІ, Dzyga
2001 — This Is Not Freedom Yet…, art-provocation of the streets of Lviv; vydyvo, Dzyga
2001 — Mirror Cross, exhibition-installation, Dzyga
2001 — And You, Bruno…, exhibition-installation , Dzyga
2002 — Mechanical Anatomy of Sound, exhibition-installation-object, The Gunpowder Tower in Lviv; Kyiv Chaussee, 10th kilometer, the Hamaliyivka Mires
2002 — Playing the Game, a polygraphic project, Dzyga, Az-Center  publishing 
2002 — Technology of Responsiveness, installed painting, Dzyga; Sensus (Kyiv)
2003 — A Spring Without a Name, exhibition-performance, Young Spectators Theater (Lviv)
2003 — In the Focus of Dream, installational performace, club-gallery "К-11" (Kyiv)
2003 — In Memory of Duсhamp, performance, club-cafe Lialka (Lviv)
2004 — Quotes for Nests, installed graphics, objects, photographs, club-gallery "К-11"
2004 — Falling of a Flight, performance, video art. І part — Stryiskyi park (Lviv); ІІ part —"L-art" gallery (Kyiv)
2005 — Quotes for Nests, installed graphics, objects, photographs, club-gallery "Alchemia" (Krakow)
2005 — Falling of a Flight, performance (Krakow)
2005-2006 — Utilization of Nostalgia, installed painting, Dzyga (Under Klepsydra cafe)
2006 — Quotes for Nests, installed graphics, objects, photographs, Dzyga
2007 — Karpatorozdil ("Carpathian Divide"), painting, installation, Dzyga
2008 — Everyday Excursion, performance, Holy Poltva, installation as part of Art Depot project (Lviv)
2008 — A Declaration of Emptiness, performance as part of GogolFest (Kyiv)
2008 — A Spectacle in the Clock, performance and video art  inside the clock mechanism of the city hall building in Drohobych, as part of the 3rd International Bruno Schulz Festival  (Drohobych)
2008 — N.N., installation, performance at the Week of Contemporary Art (Lviv)
2009 — Chessboard, performance, project "L2" (Lublin)
2009 — Bird-therapy, installed graphics, Dzyga
2009 — Chessboard, performance at the Week of Contemporary Art
2010 — The Time of Fish, перформанс, SchulzFest (Drohobych)
2010 — An Attempt of Premonition, installation, International Art Festival "Fort.missia" (Popovychi village in Lviv Oblast)
2010 — N.N., perfromance, Week of Contemporary Art

Participation in Group Projects (selected):

1989-1993 — took part in group exhibitions of the Shliakh Art association  in Lviv, Kharkiv, Lublin and Krakow 
1992 — Vyvykh Festival, chief artist (Lviv)
1993 — Ukrainian Youth for Christ festival,  chief artist (Lviv)
1994 — All-Ukrainian tout of contemporary music "Freedom of Choice", chief artist;
1995 — Festival of Ukrainian Culture in Przemysl, chief artist;
1996 — Apocryphs theater production, scenography (together with Nataliya Shymin), Les Kurbas Youth Theater in Lviv (director Volodymyr Kuchynskyi) 
1996 — Perfosalon, Dzyga
1996 — group exhibition of Ukrainian artists in Vienna 
1996 — Own Experience, exhibition of paintings (Truskavets)
1997 — Third Millenium (together with Nataliya Shymin, Antonina Denisiuc and Serhiy Synitsyn), scenography, Lviv Palace of Arts;
1998 — Diffraction of Text, All-Ukrainian exhibition of  artists' books, Dzyga
1998–1999 — Grands of Art, International art project, chief artist, Lviv Opera and Ballet Theater;
2001 — Icon Ghosts, Ecology-2003, art laboratory, Lviv Experimental Ceramic and Sculptural Factory 
2001 — Bruno's Big Nest; Danylo Halytskyi Momument an other as part of the New Noah's Ark at the art laboratoty in Sida hamlet at the Vyshkivskyi Mountain Pass 
2001 — Military Sentiment, installation, Mova Festival ("Language"), Dzyga
2003 — Our Taras, scenography, Yuriy Drohobych Regional Music and Drama Theater (Drohobych), director Roman Valko
2003 — donumenta. 2003 — Die Ukraine (Regensburg, Germany)
2004 — Art, scenography, Maria Zankovestka National Academic Ukrainian Theater of Drama,  director Vadym Sikorskyi
2004 — Falling of a Flight, performance, video art, Utopia project in the L-Art Gallery in Kyiv
2005 — Josef Beuys, Beuys's Children Project, installation, Dzyga 
2005 — Parrallels of Signs — Easter installations, Dzyga
2005 — Stolen Happiness (scenography), Young Spectator's Theater (Lviv), director Roman Valko 
2005 — Narciss, art space, Les Kurbas Academic Theater in Lviv, director Volodymyr Kuchynskyi 
2005 — N.N., object, 2nd Symposium "Ecology-Z000"; Time to Collect Stones, abandoned habsburg underground storages (Vysokyi Zamok, Lviv)
2006 — Waiting for Godot…, art space, scenography, Les Kurbas Academic Theater in Lviv, director Oleksiy Kravchuk 
2006 — Amid the Paradise on Maidan, art space, director Volodymyr Kuchynskyi, Ivan Franko National Academic Theater (Kyiv)
2006 — МА–NA–HAT–TA, art space, director Volodymyr Kuchynskyi, Les Kurbas Academic Theater in Lviv
2007 — The Transformation of Avant-Garde, performance, together with Serhiy Savchenko and Yuriy Yaremchuk (Lublin, Poland) 
2007 — reANIMATION, Lviv Art Gallery;
2007 — Who is Lviv, exhibition "Lviv" (The Great Synagogue of Berlin)
2007 — IDEA, performance, 4 Europejski Festiwal Sztuki Performance (Warsaw)
2007 — IDEA, performance, 2nd Days of Performance Art in Kyiv 
2007 — Teplotrasa ("insulated pipeline"), object, VI Bienalle of experimental textile "Textile Frenzy" (Lviv)
2008 — Amnesia/ Petits Crimes Conjugaux (Partners in Crime), art space, director Volodymyr Kuchynskyi, Les Kurbas Academic Theater in Lviv
2008 — Two Flowers of Indigo Color, video sequence, director Oleksandr Bilozub, Ivan Franko National Academic Theater (Kyiv)
2008 — Week of Contemporary Art, curator (Lviv)
2009 — Ecotheater, installation, OPEN CITY International Festival (Lublin)
2009 — 1st International Art Festival Fort.missia, curator of supporting program
2009 — Week of Contemporary Art, curator (Lviv)
2010 — Ukrainian Cross-Section, curator of the triennale
2013 — Lyman II. Trienalle of contemporary Ukrainian art (Lublin)
2018 — Flashback. Ukrainian Media Art of the 1990s, Mystetskyi Arsenal (Kyiv)


1. Yaryna Koval, "Vlodko Kaufmann: Art for me is a disease which is difficult to get rid of", City Life, 2006 (Ярина Коваль, "Влодко Кауфман: 'Для мене мистецтво — хвороба, якої важко позбутись'", City Life, 2006) [accessed 29.10.2019]
2. Olha Chytailo, "Vlodko Kaufmann: I respect talented workaholics. I myself am lazy…", Vysokyi Zamok, 2007 (Ольга Читайло, "Влодко Кауфман: 'Шаную талановитих трудоголіків. Сам я лінивий...'", Високий Замок, 2007) [accessed  29.10.2019]
3. "What do Bruno Schulz and Vlodko Kaufmann have in common?", Vysokyi Zamok, 2007 ("Що спільного між Бруно Шульцом і Влодком Кауфманом?", Високий Замок, 2007) [accessed  29.10.2019]
4. "Project реАНІМАЦІЯ-reANIMATION", Vgolos, 2007 ("Проект реАНІМАЦІЯ-reANIMATION", Вголос, 2007) [accessed 11.11.2020]
5. Vlodko Kaufmann's personal Web-Site [accessed  29.10.2019]

By Anastasiia Marusiy
Edited by Bohdan Shumylovych and Olha Zarechnyuk

Created with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation