The Whisper of Steps: A Documentary Which Explores Monumental Art in Kyiv And The Artistic Duo Who Created It

Feb 14, 2020

By Annyris Oms

On March 7, House of Cinema at 6, Saksahanskoho St will host the screening of the feature documentary The Whisper of Steps (2019), directed by Ksenya Kravtsova. 

The documentary explores the life and work of Ukrainian artististic duo Ada Rybachuk and Volodymyr Melnichenko, who are famous for creating monumental and decorative designs in 1960s-1980s Kyiv. They were the breath of fresh air of the artistic community of that time, untamed by the Soviet system and free from any fear. Many art curators and specialists believe Ada and Volodymyr philosophy and worldviews were the global phenomenon. They were respectful and careful with their artistic investigations, while bold with the experiments and challenges. Both worked with their unique techniques and never restricted themselves in one particular art field.

The artistic duo Ada Rybachuk and Volodymyr Melnichenko near the Wall of Remembrance ©

The mosaic decoration of the Palace of the Children and Youth and the Central Bus Station in Kyiv are among their architectural and mural collaborations. As painters and graphic artists Ada and Volodymyr worked on sculptures, graphic designs, and children’s books illustrations.

The Whisper of Steps (2019)

Their most famous piece, Wall of Remembrance, the central to the composition of Kyiv crematorium architectural complex, was  known for being an epitome of an architectural invention. At the same time, the project is rather the infamous one. Soviet leadership blatantly ordered to suspend the monumental and decorative works, which meant the destruction of The Wall, as it wasn’t reflecting the Soviet values. Sadly, the previous and current authorities are not actively involved in the revival of once almost eliminated reliefs.

The work of Rybachuk and Melnichenko influenced the design of cemetery and crematorium space. They believed that the crematorium and cemetery space has to serve as therapeutic environment for relieving the grief and pain for  those who lost their close ones. Their artistic take resulted with truly unique landscape design and groundbreaking collaboration between monumental art and engineering.

kyiv monumental soviet art

The Whisper of Steps is more than just the account of decades of projects and genius of Ada and Volodymyr. Ksenya Kravtsova and all film crew did truly significant work to bring this artistic duo into the deserved spotlight. The documentary gave Volodymyr the deserving voice, the chance to remember Ada and her versatile personality, and provide viewers with the possibility to stop and think about the discussed topics of life and death, art and city history, and everlasting love entwined in everything people do.

Save the date! You will have a chance to meet the welcome guest and protagonist of the documentary Volodymyr Melnichenko, with whom the audience will have a pleasure to speak after the screening. More information and fresh updates can be accessed at Facebook public event  “The Whisper of Steps. Screening”.