16th December 2021
PinchukArtCentre announces the artists shortlist for the 7th edition of the PinchukArtCentre Prize, a nationwide prize in contemporary art for young Ukrainian artists aged 35 or younger. The shortlist has been formed by the selection committee based on the results of the selection from more than 1000 applications submitted by Ukrainian artists from all regions of Ukraine.
The PinchukArtCentre presents “Fear and Hope” - a group exhibition of three Ukrainian artists: Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova and Artem Volokitin, the Main Prize Winners of the PinchukArtCentre Prize since 2009. With this show artists respond to the new sociopolitical context of Ukraine formed by recent events in the country and ongoing crisis.
In November 2013, citizens of Ukraine started an unyielding protest, where people occupied Maidan, the central square in Kyiv, in defence of their ideas for future Ukraine. Artists from all over Ukraine were at the forefront of those protests. They were present there both as citizens and artists. It resulted in a flow of artistic practices, documentary images, texts, performances and actions.
With protests turning violent, being an artist inside the protests somehow lost its place. Between 18 and 20 February, more than 100 protesters were shot dead in the streets. It was the tragic highlight in more than three months of on-going peaceful protests. In the rush of events, the space to reflect artistically disappeared and was exchanged for direct action.
Bjorn Geldhof, Deputy Artistic Director of the PinchukArtCentre, curator of the show: “The exhibition “Fear and Hope” shows that there was urgency from the artist to deal with the dramatic events that have changed Ukraine. And it is that urgency that finds form into the exhibition. Through their works somehow there is a distance created which offers a platform to think and discuss the future of Ukraine but also remember what has happened in the last several months.”
In the middle of this ongoing conflict, “Fear and Hope” embodies an urgent artistic response. Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova and Artem Volokitin deal with past and recent conditions of their country, exploring subjects of conflict, memory and individual loss. The exhibition in the PinchukArtCentre is a platform where artists can be both critical and non-partisan, and combines their new produced works with older works, revealing the presence and development of those subjects through their thinking.
The exhibition opens on the second floor with Zhanna Kadyrova, presenting a combination of three different works where she explores the theme of conflict.
Athletes (2003), a photo series Kadyrova made during a stay in Crimea, playfully refer to violence, bodily harm and protests. In combination with a brand new work Untitled (2014), a Ukrainian map cut out of an excavated burned wall found in a former soviet factory in a town of Shargorod, Kadyrova refers to Crimea as a disputed territory between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian map has on the front side burned bricks and is covered on the backside with old soviet wallpaper. This monumental new work symbolizes Ukraine as a broken country and equally refers to the breakup of the Soviet Union as a whole; its industrial collapse and the unavoidable independence of Ukraine. It is a nation at the heart of a geo-political conflict but is also a nation of citizens. Kadyrova’s wallpaper represents the sudden arrival of this political conflict inside a real life. It becomes a conflict of people.
The third work, Crowd (2013) is a compilation of 40 glass panels with each panel containing a collage of one daily international newspaper dated 2012. Taking the newspapers, Kadyrova cuts out all portraits of people, re-composes them, juxtaposing persons of different social status, political position or religion side by side within the original frame of the newspaper page. Losing all reference to the text and the language apart from the title of the paper that “frames” the crowds in a geographical culture context each collage becomes a representation of a mass of people as the installation entirety represents a portrait of a crowd. The work in a way becomes a symbol for on-going protests around the world and reflects the role of mass media within those conflicts.
Nikita Kadan combines four work groups which become one thought, one gesture referring to a classical museum, dealing with the institutionalisation of memories or heritage and how a conflict of ideologies leads to a cultural amnesia changing the narration of history itself.
Through the five large showcases, Kadan constructs a narrative of a historical museum. “Yesterday, Today, Today” (2012-2014) and “Working materials. Blame of Images” (2014) artist refers to societies’ relation to heritage and (past) ideologies. While “City Hall. Model” (2014) and “Museum of Revolution. Blame of Display” (2014) draw directly from the political conflict in Ukraine.
Yesterday, Today, Today derived from the subway back in the Soviet times that was conceived as a “pleasure dome”, a palace for the working class and symbol of equality for all. The expensive materials and wonderful decorative aspects bore witness to the greatness of the Soviet ideology. Today those beautiful marbles palaces have been transformed to fit a new neo-liberal capitalistic ideology, being the place for self-adhesive film presenting advertisement.
Working materials. Blame of Images brings together images of buildings and sculptures that were constructed as an expression of the lost Soviet ideology combined with Underground Soviet pornography and Soviet books on art history.
City Hall. Model is a reduced copy of the City Hall in Odessa, Ukraine, where the authorities in January 2014 barricaded themselves using concrete blocks, an act which symbolizes how authority, which is supposed to govern people, fears the public. It represents the inability to listen or to form a dialogue with their citizens.
Museum of Revolution. Blame of Display refers to the Ukrainian house, the former Lenin’s Museum in Kyiv that was one of the key points of the protests in Kyiv. Kadan quotes parts of the building that were broken throughout the protests and repaired using “plywood”. The façade became in some way a clash of ideologies and a collage of history.
And the final work Exhibit. Inseparable (2014), a monumental showcase filled with ash, becomes a monument itself. When everything is reduced to nothing, ash is what remains. It is the final narrative, an endpoint and a starting point, there where history has disappeared.
This new series of work, together with light boxes that reflect on the commercialization of urban space is combined with Procedure Room (2009-2010) and a series of watercolours that symbolize the continuation of authoritarian practices within changing ideologies.
Artem Volokitin addresses in his new paintings the spectacular and emotional aspect of war, life and creation. In some works he focuses on the act of violence, more specifically an explosion, while in other works he deals with emptiness and personal loss.
His early painterly research into architecture of space and architecture of the body leads with this new work into a black and white geometrical expression of the mind. The monumental abstract painting represents the emptiness of inner contemplation with the new ideas and possibilities developing through the canvas like an expression of extended thinking through the void.
This work is combined with Irreversible Beauty (I and II, 2014), monumental paintings of violent explosions that deal with the horror of the sublime making reality around somehow disappear. They represent a drastic change in the artistic practice of Volokitin, a direct response to the violence that became a part of daily life.
And the last work Sisters (2006-ed.2014) is an early video, showing four sisters in front of a landscape painting, mourning for the loss of their mother. The video deals with personal loss as a natural way of life and the generational shift, with sisters taking the role of their mother as grandmother.
Located on the 2rd and 3th floors, the exhibition will be open from May 17 till October 5, 2014 in the PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv, Ukraine. Opening hours: from Tuesday through Sunday from 12 am to 9 pm. Admission is free.