Special Issue #1, 2011 www.uaculture.info Newspaper and Magazine Publishing House of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Index of subscription in Ukraine 95220
Achille Bonito Oliva: \ Ukraine as a Temple of Historical Avant-garde
Lee Sun-Don: |
We cannot buy the Mona Lisa anyway
Vopli Vidoplyassova Today, as a quarter century ago, Vopli Vidoplyassova – is the world’s most popular Ukrainian rock group that gives two hundred concerts a year. The round dates Vopli Vidoplyassova celebrates for the whole two years, because it is known that the fateful meeting of the future bandparticipants occurred in May 1986 and the debut on stage – in October 1987. In March this year a big tour has started devoted to the silver anniversary of VV Its 25th anniversary the legendary Kyiv rock foursome decided to celebrate by a great musical journey.
текст: Автор Авторович
Ukrainian Culture Special Issue # 1, 2011 03040, Kyiv, Vasylkivska str., 1 38 (044) 498-23-61 firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation: 1 000.
I n J une 2 0 1 1 , ‘ U krainian C ulture ’ turns 9 0
Photo: Mas PR
This issue of Ukrainian Culture, the oldest publication on culture in Ukraine, is dedicated not only to the anniversary of the edition, but also to the Ukrainian project at the 54th Venice Biennale. In this issue, we recall the events that have happened in the last 90 years in the world, in Ukraine, and in our publishing house. Of course, we could not leave without attention Ukraine’s participation in the most prestigious and oldest art forum in the world today, the stars of contemporary art who represent our country internationally, they are not Ukrainians, but somehow are involved with Ukraine, philosophers and art critics who have given us the main tools for understanding modern art. Also the key events and highlights of Ukrainian culture are described – those which are well known in the world and those which this year will represent their art in Ukraine and in the world. We hope that Ukraine and its art, full of vitality and current ideas, will be an exciting discovery for you at the Venice Biennale. Mariya Khrushchak editor-in-chief
Founders: The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Publisher: Newspaper and magazine publishing house of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Director: Olesya Bilash Editor-in-Chief of the Publishing House: Orest Kohut Editor-in-Chief: Mariya Khrushchak ART DIRECTOR: Andriy Klen (AGENTSTVO) Chief Sub-Editor: Denis Bortnikov CONTRIBUTORS: Alexandra Kravchenko, Andrew Boborykin, Olesya Naydyuk, Nadia Sokolenko, Oksana Hayduk, Lesya Kulchynska, Daria Badyor, Oleg Sidor-Gibelynda, Liya Guguchiya, Michael Druchenko, Artem Devlysh Editing: Yuliya Vustilka, Liya Guguchiya ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Alina Strilets, Alexandra Kravchenko, Andrew Boborykin, Olga Petrashyk, Irina Denisova, Nadia Sokolenko, Tatiana Oleinik, Vita Ruban Proofreading: Anna Kauk Technical support: Grigory Osipov Distribution, editorial subscription: Irina Sidorenko The magazine is published every three months. First published in June 1921 Signed to print: May 18, 2011 The editors reserve the right to edit the received materials without the consent of the author. The thoughts of the authors’ of the publications may not coincide with the editorial position. Materials published in the newspaper Ukrainian Culture are intellectual property of the editors and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. When using publications - the reference is obligatory. © Ukrainian culture Print: LLC. ‘Book and Magazine Printing House Sofia’. The issue was created with the support of Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic.
The Child of Spiritualistic Tradition and of Ukrainian Avant-Garde
Minister of Culture of Ukraine on the Powerful and Ambitious Project ‘Second Renaissance’
Lee Sun-Don: ‘We Still Cannot Buy the Mona Lisa’
Venetian Arabesques: Oleh Sydor-Hibelynda on Ukrainians in Venice
Ukrainian Culture: 1921-2011
Bob’s Choice. Anton Solomoukha, Oleg Tistol and Victor Sydorenko at the Galerie Albert Benamou in Paris
Insectoids and Reptiloids Meet in Bishkek
Capitalization of UkrArt: Ukrainians at International Auctions
Uta Kilter: Being an Art Critic
Ukrainian Cinema at International Film Festivals
Four Capital Letters in the Contemporary History of Ukrainian Cinema
VV: Great Musical Journey
Six Rules for Ukrainian Underground Initiatives
Valentin Silvestrov: The Sense of Music
Heat by Vlada Ralko and Volodymyr Budnikov
The Art of Still Movement: Vinny Reunov Takes Art Evolution up onthe Next Level
‘How to Become God and not Cry’. An Excerpt from the Unpublished Novel by Liubko Deresh
Life after Death: Strategies vs. Tactics of Baudrillard
Olga Gromova’s Neodesign: the Totality of Artificial Environment
Izolyatsia. A New Lease of Life for a Donetsk Slag Heap
Return to Shargorod. Photo project of Sergey Sapozhnikov and Alexey Salmanov
Odun Bazaar: a Modern Integration of a 400-Year-Old Monument
Minister of Culture of Ukraine
S ince 1 8 9 5 , in V enice once every odd year , this leading art event takes place , where all countries have an opportunity to present their best examples of contemporary art. I n the history of the world , the V enice B iennale has long ago ac q uired its niche . I t is the O lympus of contemporary fine art.
Mykhailo Kulynyak was born in Drogobych in Western Ukraine. He graduated from Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music (Kyiv Conservatory) with qualifications of teacher, chamber ensemble artist and orchestra artist. International Scientific and Technical University (master’s degree in Management of Organisations). National Academy of Public Administration under the Office of the President of Ukraine (NAPA). Awarded with master’s degree in public administration. 2004–2005: assistant of deputy Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. 2006–2008: Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine on liaison with Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and other State authorities. Since March 2010: Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine
The Venice Biennale is one of the oldest art festivals in the world, where a certain birth and exchange of artistic ideas takes place; it involves the understanding of Art of the world, which consists of the cultural achievements of different countries. In fact, the history of Biennale has witnessed only two long breaks, caused by the events of the World War I and II. The celebration of contemporary art - challenging, non-odious, multinational; showing the relation of the country to the world and the attitude of the world community to the particular coun try – is one of the main ideas of this important event. That is why the artworks representing the country are not for sale, they are simply becoming an integral part of the world art history. Nowadays, world art critics have given a name to this trend – contemporary art – the latest demonstration of all possible sorts, sub-sorts and trends in the fine art, where, for the sake of achieving their goal or disclosing the image, the artist is allowed to use everything surrounding them, be it in the real, artistic or imaginary world. The criterion of success here is the viewer’s perceptions and impressions. As a matter of fact, the same can be declared about any kind of art, but the power of contemporary art is in its innovation, novelty and modernity. Here and now. Another feature of the biennial exhibition, which differs from hundreds or even thousands of other perfectly worthy art forums held in different parts of the world, is the intertwinement of the political, creative and individual features of the country and its artists, and what is
most important – the perception or nonperception of the representative and their Motherland in the context of the Art of the world. That is why the works presented in national expositions differ quite distinctly from what is demonstrated in individual or general exhibitions at the celebrated Arsenal. Each time, the artwork of the national exposition becomes an icon of the country, including its morality, problems and mentality. This explains the rigid selection process held in the artist’s home country before each biennale. Everything is logical
The van Eycks managed to depict Heaven on Earth. In the work byOksana Mas, the expiated sin becomes the longed for light in the blankdarkness of the human subconscious. and clear. The state puts its signature under the exhibited artwork. Ukraine is not an exception in the Biennale’s exciting history, which dates back to the XIX century. There were glorious victories, there was a long break and finally today Ukraine declares itself as a contemporary art state. As the Minister of Culture of Ukraine – a fascinating, beautiful, and powerful country in the centre of Europe, I am proud of our art history being created at such a prestigious forum. It should be mentioned that the
geographical centre of Europe is located on the territory of Ukraine. For a long time, our state has been holding together the East and the West. Ukraine is a multinational country. Throughout its long history, perhaps Ukraine has gone through more disasters than any other country has. However, its artistic potential has always been magnificent. Ukraine is a country with hundreds of museums, with some collections deserving of world recognition. Ukraine has always had a strong artistic education. That is why the participation of Ukrainian artists in the Venice forums has always attracted the attention of the public. Olexander Usachev, Theodor Krychevsky, Mykhaylo and Tymko Boychuk, Kyryl Gvosdyk, Konstantin Yeleva, Viktor Palmov, Vasil Sedliar, Olexey Taran, Carpo Trokhymenko, Ivan Hvorostetsky, Michaylo Sharonov, Olexiy Bogomazov, Olexander Dovgan, Vasyl Kasian, Ivan Padalka, Zinoviy Tolkachev, Vasil Sedliar, Borys Blank, Moisey Fradkin, Olexiy Shovkunenko, Gavrylo Gluck, Michaylo Deregus, Olexander Kovalev, Georgiy Melikhov, Tatiana Yablonska, Valentin Rajewski, Arsen Savadov, Olga Melentiy, Victor Sydorenko, Mykola Babak, Ilya Chichkan – these are the Ukrainian artists who glorified our Motherland in different years. The second Ukrainian start in Venice, which took place at the beginning of the current century, has conditioned the peculiarities of the native artistic process in the context of world perception and the artistic evaluation of the country, which for 45 years was taken out of the context of the contemporary art. For four and half decades , Ukrainian artists didn’t communicate with the world art leaders, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol, Gianni Hafstrom, Renato Guttuso, John Currin, Jenny Saville, Thomas Scheibitz. Clearly, it was an immenPhoto: Press-Centre of Minister of Culture of Ukraine
Photo: Mas PR
se loss. At the same time, regardless of Ukraine’s young age as a participant in today’s art event, we have already won a certain appreciation and made some significant achievements. In 2003, the project Time Grindstones by Viktor Sydorenko had positive reviews from the most respected art critics. Michael Kimmelman emphasised the ambiguity and the philosophic slant of the idea and The Daily Telegraph, in 2007, listed the Ukrainian pavilion as one of the five most interesting exhibits (among 77 countries and more than 100 artists). Ukraine has been successfully represented by the centre for contemporary art, PinchukArtCentre twice. The Poem about the Inner Sea appealed to thousands of visitors. Today, Ukraine presents its most powerful and large-scale project in recent history The Ghent Altarpiece. The Second Reproduction, which in the foreign transcription known as Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance by the wellknow artist from Odessa, Oksana Mas. Viktor Sydorenko, the director of the Contemporary Art Issues Institute at the Art Academy of Ukraine, has been appointed the national pavilion’s commissioner. The project curator is the Honoured Artist of Ukraine, Senior Researcher, art critic Oleksiy Rohotchenko. The project curator, on behalf of Italy, is the world famous Achille Bonito Oliva, who is one of the five most authoritative critics in the world and is famous for coining the term ‘trans-avant-garde’. The curator of the Venice Biennale, Bice Curiger has brought forth ILLUMI-nations as the theme of the 54th Biennale. Ms Curiger suggested to the national pavilions’ representatives to pay attention to reflections on their identity, while creating their projects within the worldwide context. Ukraine is a multinational country, comprised of 134 nationalities and ethnicities. In reality,
Ukraine is not an exception in the Biennale’s exciting history,which dates back to the XIX century. There were glorious victories,there was a long break and finally today Ukraine declares itself as acontemporary art state. As the Minister of Culture of Ukraine – afascinating, beautiful, and powerful country in the centre of Europe,I am proud of our art history being created at such a prestigious forum. this means a variety of different languages and cultures. It is a place on earth, where different religions peacefully co-exist within common borders. Odessa, the Ukrainian port city, is a fine example of a powerful cultural centre. Oksana Mas was born and grew up there. The artist comes from Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, Greek and Polish backgrounds. The spirituality and morality of many different nations and the soft language of their art has become the language of Oksana Mas artistic style. For quite a while Oksana was experimenting and looking for ways of creating visual language in art. Finally, the interplanetary code was found – the world language. Practically every nation has a common unit in its culture - the egg. This became the connecting module. In painting the egg – the module, which creates the grand (6 by 6 meters) compositions by Oksana Mas, enables the co-authorship of hundreds of thousands of representatives from different countries. Each of them was offered to create their own painting. If all people on earth are of the same nature, then so are their sins. One paints the graphic symbol of a sin on a wooden module the way they imagine it. Every nation contributes its own symbols into the common creation and thus opens a new portal for human communication. A question arises: what connects the Ghent Altarpiece with the module unit which exists in every culture?
is rather mystic: kings and dictators have tried to steal it, smashed it, hid it in mines, but it always came back – demonstrating the undying power of authentic art. It is the artwork from which the Renaissance began, the artwork that pictured Heaven on Earth. Each person longs for Paradise, everyone wants to reach the light. However, the burden is also common for everyone, the burden of human sinfulness. That is why the sins drawn on the modules in Oksana Mas transformation have become the key to understanding. If a person reflects on and realises their imperfection, they become better and the world becomes better as well. The van Eycks managed to depict Heaven on Earth. In the work by Oksana Mas, the expiated sin becomes the longed for light in the blank darkness of the human subconscious. The spirituality and morality of many different nations, the soft language of their art has become the language of Oksana Mas artistic style. In the artwork as a whole, a new human communication portal is being discovered, the new language of future which is understandable to everyone. In such a way it becomes clear that humanity is a common single organism, each person’s home is not solely their country, but the whole universe. This means that through this year project by Oksana Mas Ukraine declares that humanity has always been a single unit. Continuing the traditions of uniting Western and Eastern Europe, Ukraine proposes uniting the entire world.
The Ghent Altarpiece, the great masterpiece by van Eyck brothers, is the art symbol of the whole of Europe. The altar’s history
Yours faithfully, Mykhailo Kulynyak, Minister of Culture of Ukraine
The Child of Spiritualistic Tradition and of Ukrainian Avant-Garde
T he main exposition of U krainian project ‘ T he G hent A ltarpiece . T he S econd R eproduction ’ at the 5 4 th V enice B iennale will be located A T T H E S E S T I E R E S A N M A R C O , in the church of S an F antin . O ne of the panel fragments of O ksana M as will be installed on the s q uare in the open air .
San Fantin, which was raised from the ruins several times, is of the same age as the Kievan Rus temples. But the building that now beautifies San Marco dates back to the 16th century. Then architect Skarpanino began working at the remnants of the 9th century building, and later – the main architect of Republic of Venice – Jacopo Sansovino. Church of Saint Fantin – is an example of surprisingly harmonious Renaissance building, restrained in decoration and balanced in form, though was built on the money of sweets vendors and bakers, whose Patron is Fantin. Interior of the church is decorated with the works of Palma il Giovane and the sculptures of Tullio Lombardo, wellknown Italian artists of that time. However, the main church object of worship is considered to be the wooden crucifix, which accompanied the condemned to death to the place of execution. In the church of Saint Fantin will arise the reproduced fragments of the famous Paradise Gardens of the Van Eyck brothers, which consist of the sins of the representatives of 50 nationalities – the
wooden eggs, according to the plan of Oksana Mas, were painted by ordinary people. Maybe, as the Ukrainian project curator noted at a press conference in Kyiv, one of the key curators and art critics of the last decades Achille Bonito Oliva, in such a way Ukraine returns the east tradition to the West. The panel, which sends us back to the mosaic masterpieces of the Byzantine Empire and Kievan Rus, will be presented in the Catholic church of the Renaissance. The plot of Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance is an allusion to a work of the Van Eyck brothers, Jan and Hubert, who created in 1442 – 1432-s the multilayered composition of 26 paintings, on which 258 human figures are depicted. Then the alterpiece made a real revolution in history. In this work not only the Christian religion tenets are reflected, but also the most by that time unexpected views on the world and on man’s place in it, human’s special designation as a creator in this world. Moreover, if even the gothic conventionality presents in a few scenes, the different world sounds in the most images and backgrounds – full of light, real characters
text: Mariya Khrushchak
and actual Renaissance world-view, which observed godlikeness in a man. Adam and Eve – are surprisingly monumental, glorified in their nakedness and deprived of any allusion to the ancient, idealizing image of the body. They are what could be the contemporaries of the Van Eyck brothers. Moreover, the altars found themselves alongside of the creator of the world. In due time there was an attempt ‘to dress’ Adam and Eve, according to the order of Emperor Joseph II. And despite numerous trips and the loss of several scenes, the altar returned to Ghent after the end of World War II. And its second reproduction by artist Oksana Mas from Odessa – is a proof that the idea of the Van Eyck brothers are still relevant to the present world, because the human resemblance to God makes the work exceptionally bright and life-affirming, and represents the life on earth as a possibility of paradise in this life. For the first time in the history of Ukraine’s participation in the Venice Art Forum, our country has to sound like state in which current trends are closely connected with tradition. The originality of the project, first of all, lies in that it is social and interactive – on the wooden eggs the sins of our contemporaries are represented. And, if on the panels of the Van Eycks 258 people are depicted, on the Ukrainian copy, in fact, ‘portraits in the sins’ of ten thousand people. In Venice only several fragments of the panel will be presented. Altar in full (92 meters high and 134 wide) will be ready in few years and it will be installed in the main capitals of the world. The wooden objects with pictures in essence are a mosaic, in which each individual
element is a kind of pixel. And their number in the installation Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance – is 3 840 000. All in all at the Venice Biennale 7 fragments measuring 6 x 6 meters will be presented.
Oksana Mas – is a well-known Ukrainian artist in the world, who cooperates with more than 20 world-wide galleries. Her works are represented by the Opera Gallery, the largest network of galleries in the world, the Moscow Aidan Gallery and many others. Last year her mosaic picture Look into Eternity was donated to the National Preserve Sophia Kyivska, a countless number of the works of the artist – are in collections of respected museums and in private collections. The curator of the Ukrainian project – is a main of the world authorities in contemporary art, the author of the term ‘transavantgarde’ and ‘glocation’, critic and curator Achille Bonito Oliva at a press conference in Kiev in April 16, 2011 noted that “for us, European intellectuals, Ukraine is a repository of the historical avantgarde. Odessa for us – is a sort of cultural myth. And the Ukrainians are almost like the Italians – people of artists, poets and navigators”. Photo: Mas PR
“The work of Oksana Mas (Look into Eternity) really impressed me. I could say that the Ukrainian art has spiritualistic, sensual tradition and connection with the historical avantgarde. The use of folk art, to which the artist appeals, distinguishing the wooden elements and sharing creativity with ordinary people, gave her the opportunity to create a work of contemporary art.
Oksana Mas – is the representative of ‘total art’ that comes from the historical avant-garde. This is the diffusion of different means of figurative determination and different arts – architecture, painting, sculpture and drawing. Her work is archaic and modern at the same time. Archaic because of the form of an egg, as it reminds something naive. An egg is always the same, but in this case it creates certain architecture in space – by some distance an egg turns into a pixel of television image. I consider that the creative work of this Ukrainian artist assures the continuation of the great tradition in your country, which has luck with art”. Photo: M17
This is the diffusion and different arts â€“ arc work is archaic and m form of an egg, as it same, but in this case some distance an egg t
Photoes: Mas PR
of different means chitecture, painting, modern at the same reminds something e it creates certain turns into a pixel of
of figurative determination sculpture and drawing. Her time. Archaic because of the naive. An egg is always the architecture in space – by television image.
wisdom and were not Dark Ages, as it was considered in the era of classicism and later rationalism…
Uta Kilter, art critic, deputy curator of the project In 2004 Oksana Mas began researching the interconnection between corporeality and space, the relationship between technological devices and human nature. In the next topic of her installation Spheres the objects were taken out in the airless/soulless expanses of outer space, in order to become later the start of the work under the topic of canonicity and appeal to origins (proto-); their revision (reconsideration), an attempt to appeal to ‘wisdom’. The project is directed to those depths, when wisdom was not separated from its visual embodiment, when the symbolism was interpreted literally. Referring to Umberto Eco, who considered that the Middle Ages had Photo: Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic
But wisdom, according to the author of the project, lies in another thing. It is that what is embodied in the tender, trembling and full of unrequited symbolism on knowledge, understanding and faith in The Ghent Altarpiece of the Van Eyck brothers which has become a GREAT photo-Renaissance work. Where in Paradise Gardens near the fountain of life all the wise men from the ancient (pagan) times, philosophers and the unbelievers to (photo-) Christians and converted again. In the altarpiece the Byzantine tradition of the dedication of the corporal beginning by wisdom is also traced, which is still alive in Ukraine.” Diana Fedorova-Pecherskaya, the President of the Swiss fund Fedorova Cultural Foundation, deputy curator of the project Mrs. Diana’s Foundation is working at all the Ukrainian project preparations in Venice. It was the idea of this curator to invite Achille Bonito Oliva to participate in the project. Diana Fedorova-Pecherskaya’s Foundation, which was founded in 2009, is engaged in the representation of culture of many countries and peoples through organization and support of cultural events – art exhibitions, educational programs, awards and grants, charity acts. The Fund cooperates with art museums,
art foundations, worldwide.
However, one of the main directions of the work of the Fund – is the promotion of contemporary Ukrainian art and Ukraine in modern art. In 2010, the Fund organized an exhibition of a famous Italian painter, photographer, curator and contemporary art history professor Michele Dantini. His project was dedicated to Zmeiniy Island, which M. Dantini investigated as a godforsaken island in Europe, devoid of any geopolitical context. The project Zmeiniy. Ukrainian Notebook was created for Ukraine: to show a different view on the Ukrainian reality. And it succeeded. Photo: Fedorova Cultural Foundation
Ukrainians in Venice
text: Oleh Sydor-Hibelynda
Venetian Arabesques Ol e h S y d o r - Hib e ly n d a on U krainians in V enice
Ukrainians seem to have been here forever (and they are here even today: you are more likely to hear Ukrainian on a vaparetto on your way to Murano than on a Kyiv tram or trolleybus. Only joking!). They have been here long before the Biennale, but not necessarily ‘on the orbit of art’. But what is art? In the city of Saint Mark it’s everywhere: on every corner, on every channel, near every house. And so it is outside the city, when it’s inspired by art. Had Taras Shevchenko reached Venice, he would have become a Ukrainian Mazzini, his rough voice resounding from over the Adriatic Sea. Or maybe he would have become a second Briullov, even better than the original one. And yet he had that intent. And a month or two before his arrest he listened to his friend’s stories about the city, he was excited by its spirit transformed into word. But his compatriot and contemporary Nikolai
Gogol was luckier than him. He came there and lost his melancholy at once. Probably, in the city of Saint Mark he got acquainted with Ivan Ayvazovsky. Wherein a few decades later Friedrich Nietzsche would go out of his mind… whose real last name is Nitsshynskyi. Smells of our motherland? In the city of Saint Mark, writes Akim Volynskyi in a book about Leonardo (one more pattern of history), Nietzsche suddenly rushed to dance, to everybody’s surprise. Thence his only way was to a mental clinic, and he never recovered, pretending to be Dionysus. Bewitched by the channels. And quite near, while having dinner in the fashionable restaurant Quadri, Illya Repin trembled, having heard the sounds of the sad
Ukrainians in Venice
melody ‘from Grande’: his colleague, the respected Venetian painter Giacomo Favretto, was being buried. He followed a ‘melodious steamship’ and found himself at Giardini, where there was the first international artistic exhibition, no less than a thousand exhibits. It was not a biennale yet, but was held at the same place. By the way, it’s because of the Biennale that a zoo with Venetian children’s favourite elephant was ruined. Repin would take part in the Biennale twice. In 1899, his Duel painting would cause an uproar (before it was presented in Kyiv, at the 27th exhibition of Itinerants). In Italian an art slogan appears from time to time: ‘luce di Repin’, that is a ‘flash of Repin’. Feeling lonesome, Boris Kustodiev (two works at the Venitian exposition of 1907, even with honours) suddenly painted a portrait of Vorobyov, a Kharkiv doctor. The portrait vanished, but Vorobyov didn’t: he would become a well-known person in the USSR, the author of some anatomic atlases – and a mummificationist of Lenin’s dead body. It is so if we speak about Volodymyr Vorobyov, a native of Odessa. ‘Dovgelli!.. Dovgelli!’ gondoliers shouted to one another in the distant year of 1928. They liked the exotic sound of the name of Oleksandr Dovgal, our fellow-countryman graphic artist and participant of another Biennale. His other colleague, Kyrylo Gvozdyk, the Italians would call a ‘Ukrainian Gogen’. He also presented his works at the Biennale. Ukrainians appear in the most unexpected contexts. However impressed Fedir Bohorodsky was by the success of his Mat-rosy, yet he found the time to call upon the local classic Italico Brass. He appeared to be married to a woman from Odessa who went to Paris to study painting, where she got acquainted with the future classic, then just a student. Forty years on she was a ‘grey-haired woman of small height, dressed in black’. She was an interpreter for our artists, lived with her husband in a 16th century palace, situated on one of the Venetian channels. Repeated biennalist Brass, however, preferred antiquity: Tizian and Alesandro Manyasko. After 1934, a 22 year pause began for Ukrainians. However, thorough research is necessary here. Anyway, for more than half a century our people have been fallen greedily upon a generous Venetian soother, sucking it unceasingly. But Venice was weakened because of it. And every time there was a new story, a new intrigue, a new turn of fate. It’s important to renew names and works of participants, to recall them sometimes, like characters of the whimsical Babylonian epos, although events are still alive in the memory of eyewitnesses. It’s worth finding them and talking to them – and not wasting time writing down everything you hear. Yes, only yesterday (what a shame!) I found out that in 1999 Kyiv artist Mykhajlo Turovsky, who moved to the United States as early as in 1978, has participated in the Biennale. With a series of paintings from of the 1990s entitled Utopia: seventeen transformations of the image of Lenin – wearing a top hat, a tiara, a peakless cap, a laurel-andthorn wreath etc., the one stored by a certain Vorobyov from Kharkiv, remember? He presented his works near the Croatian pavilion, says the author, and lived in the town for half a year. It is interesting, that quite a lot of foreigners confused his Lenin with Stalin, but an ordinary gondolier Photo: msvitu.com
understood everything, just him. Of course: ‘a complete seizure of power by relevant art’ was done at the Biennale, says Turovsky. He speaks with laughter about tricks of Komar and Melamid, which angered even the Venetians. But let’s return to our side. Everybody remembers the joint Ukrainian tent at Giardini in 2001. It was criticized then and it’s quite the contrary today. But that is not the point now. Two independent projects involving talented outsider Anatolii Stepanenko were taken under the wing ‘backdated’ by biennale authorities. Venice wouldn’t be deceived! One project was devoted to stone painting, the other one to the poetry and its transformations on posters scattered throughout the city. And not only Anatol, but a star group of people congregated there: Leon Holub, Ihor Kopystyanskyi, Vole Shoinka. The stones, by the way, were also painted (again, in the company of mister Anatol) by Günter Jucker and Thomas Schütte, a winner of the Biennale of 2009! In 2003, the Ukrainian Millstones of Time by Victor Sydorenko, full of pictures of all sorts, sparkled and gritted at the Biennale. A difficult, multilayer project was based not only on attractional painting, video, and spatial objects, but also on rare pictures found by the artist in an old album. Their everyday enigmatics was remelted by the artist into mysteriousness of the project. “I have found pictures, painted at a strange place. It could have been a prison hospital or a hospital for the rehabilitation of people who came back after being wounded. I was interested not only in the people but also in the eccentric home-made orthopaedic devices, which reminded me of torture instruments with bullets, crosses, holders. They were extraordinarily interesting in their plasticity.” The Venice Biennale, which has recently been surprisingly full of trauma and frustration images, got another, maybe even the most convincing proof of the ruin of Leibniz optimism world system. A forcible argument was given by the Ukrainian side. Even today there is an impression as if our native artists are called to complement some vanished puzzle in the mosaic of world art, like an undiscovered element in the periodic table. Is it a coincidence that the mosaic project of Oksana Mas will officially present our country? Based on the Ghent Altarpiece by the brothers Van Eyck, it does not only appeal to the sources of classic European Renaissance painting. Maybe it mysteriously compensates a missing link in that trancepicture of the Netherlands... or, to be more precise, in a constant ‘picture of the world’. On the other side of Europe, in that before the storm 1934 an altar board with ‘righteous judges’ (that is what we need the most!) was stolen by a local thief who required a redemption in a big amount of gulden for it. Authorities refused negotiations. Since then the altar, which saw Napoleon and the Germans, has been made to exist only with a skilfully executed copy of ‘judges’. Today, in the heart of Venice, the altar will appear in the image of a postmodern mosaic of painted eggs. The broken structure of which, in its own way, hints at an endless ‘continuation of history’. The place of participants’ meeting of which is impossible to change: Venice! Mysteries won’t die!
Photo: Volodymyr Budnikov
b y V l a d a R a lk o & V o l o d y m y r B u d n ik o v F r o m J u ly 9 – A u g u st 3 1 G u G a gallery, H urzuf W W W. G U G A . C O M . U A
On July 9, an exhibition of art objects by a classic of the modern Ukrainian art, professor of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts Volodymyr Budnikov and one of the most powerful representatives of Ukrainian contemporary art, Vlada Ralko, opens in the Crimean town of Hurzuf, which is well known for the many years’ plain-air Hurzufski sezony [Hurzuf Seasons]. Works of the both artists are well known owing to their painting in Ukraine and abroad. Heat is the first joint project of Ralko and Budnikov. Moreover, observing the progress of Budnikov and Ralko is interesting for both viewers, who are not involved in Ukrainian art-process, and critics, as the search for self through own mindset and context of time and space is evident in their works. It is especially interesting when their ideas struggle out of the canvas and 10-millimeter metal sheets are used in work instead of paints. Expansion of a ‘pure’ for art territory (the Crimean Peninsula is still a space for experiment of the future) promises to turn over a new leaf in the work with space, plays of mountains, amid which if not blue sky, the dark blue sea reach is seen, in their creative history. Heat will be presented at the Hurzuf GuGa gallery, which was opened in spring 2010, until the end of the summer. In autumn it is planned to show the exhibition in Kyiv. Later the sculptures will be installed in Hurzuf outdoors – the most adequate place for art overcoming its own limitations and breaking into other areas.
T h e m a g a z i n e U k r a i n i a n C u lt u r e r e c a l l s a l l the events which changed the course of our s t a t e â€™ s h i s t o r y a n d c u lt u r e , a n d w h i c h o u r magazine outlived against all odds.
текст: Автор Авторович
T he process of filmmaking in U kraine currently belongs to a realm of miracle . T he U krainian cinema , usually created in co - production , has to overcome a lot of difficulties in order to reach the international level . S ome directors succeed due to their talent, others because of prosperous contacts with the right people .
This article was written a month before the 64th Cannes Film Festival. Now, when the festival is over, it should be said that Ukrainian director Marina Vroda has received a Palme d’Or for her short film Cross. As we already mentioned, Cross was created by co-production of Ukraine and France. Considering that Ukraine and France have signed a co-production contract on this-year International Film Market in Cannes, we hope, that Marina Vroda’s Palme d’Or will not be the only one.
text: Dariia Badyor
Stop No 2. Hardly a feature film
Stop No 1. Short film as the centre of the real Ukrainian cinema Directors who had represented and still represent their own short films at international film forums are exactly that hope and support that Ukrainian cinema requires. These are young artists who create movies mainly despite of the Ukrainian cinema realities of the past 20 years. The presentation of such movies gains public acclaim, leads to a couple of publications in print and a short reference on TV news drawing attention to the creators just for one week. And that is all, the silence spreads out. Afterwards some directors cannot even afford to shoot their second or third short, and it is absolutely impossible for them to create a feature film. The latest related news is the selection of the short film The Cross by Ukrainian director Marina Vroda for the competition program of the 64th Cannes Film Festival. This is the third film of Vroda, who debuted with her graduate work at Molodist International Film Festival in Kyiv three years ago. The Cross is a co-production of two countries: Ukraine and France, and this appears to be one more proof that co-producing is the only solution for Ukrainian directors. Two short films by another well-known Ukrainian director, Myroslav Slaboshpytsky, The Diagnosis and The Deafness, participated in the Berlinale competition program in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Myroslav has recently received a grant from the Rotterdam Film Festival and is currently working on his first feature film, The Tribe. It will feature deaf-mute actors (as in The Deafness). Again, it is a co-production of Ukraine, the US and the Netherlands. In terms of awards, previous Ukrainian participants of international film festivals have been more successful. Young director Igor Strembitsky has won the Cannes Palme d’Or for his documentary Wayfarers in 2005. There is no information on whether he is working on a new movie. Wayfarers was produced by the Kyiv National Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University, and therefore by the government. However, raising funds for a new film on one’s own without the support of institutions is extremely difficult. Taras Tomenko for his short film The Shooting Gallery and Stepan Koval for animation The Tram No 9 Goes have won the awards for Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
Unfortunately, feature films produced or coproduced by Ukraine, can be rarely found in the line-ups of film festivals. We can mention just two most sensational cases: last year’s Cannes premiere of My Happiness, a debut feature film by documentary filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, and Innocent Saturday by Alexander Mindadze in the competition programme of this year Berlin International Film Festival. Both were partly produced by Oleg Kohan. The affiliation of Sergei Loznitsa and his movies with Ukrainian cinema is a longlasting discussion. It is, however, pointless. Loznitsa has been living in Munich for a long time and works mostly with German producer Heino Deckert. The fact, that My Happiness was partly produced by Ukraine and was filmed on its territory, tends to be more favourable for the country itself than for director. The feature, being a good example of regional pain expressed using the universal language, got a decent response among the Western critics and may claim to be one of the best works of 2010. The Ukrainian media in turn presented Loznitsa’s feature film as a result of Ukrainian hard-working filmmakers’ efforts and announced My Happiness to be a Ukrainian breakthrough in Cannes. Sergei Loznitsa is coming back to his grateful second motherland (he was born in Belarus) to receive Ukrainian cinemagoers’ feedback and a ‘Scythian Deer’ from the international jury of the Molodist festival. After almost six months, the film still has not been distributed.
Ukrainian cinema is still stagnating.
The second feature film, coproduced by Ukraine, has a better destiny. Its distribution in Ukraine starts on May 5. Innocent Saturday, a coproduction between Russia, Germany and Ukraine, was directed by Alexander Mindadze. The drama depicts the life of ordinary people against the background of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Just as in Loznitsa’s movie, the context of painful experience lived through by the Eastern Europeans expands to a global level.
However, it is no matter how many times we call both of these features ‘Ukrainian’ being proud of their participation in the two most important world film festivals. This won’t help other directors who work exclusively in Ukraine. Ukrainian cinema is still stagnating. Therefore, the third stop of the native cinema on the way to worldwide acknowledgment does not solve the problem.
Fragment of a poster of Innocent Saturday, directed by Alexander Mindadze
Stop No 3. The film market: everything can be sold Despite the fact that Ukrainian cinema participates in the competition programmes of the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals not every year, there are close relations between these film forums and Ukrainian film festivals. This is proved by the annual presence of the so-called ‘Ukrainian pavilion’ at film markets in Cannes and Berlin for over four years. Typically, the Ukrainian pavilion is organized by the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation established by Kateryna Yuschenko and headed by Andriy Khalpakhchi, art director of the Molodist festival. Rather many achievements of the decaying Ukrainian film industry were presented at this year’s European Film Market at the Berlinale, namely two feature films, a package of short films previously presented in last year’s Molodist programme titled Ukrainian Panorama and a trailer of ‘the first Ukrainian
3D movie’ entitled Love, and that’s the Point, directed by Valery Yambursky. Yambursky’s movies have already been presented at international film markets as part of the Ukrainian programme and it is hard to say if they are specially filmed in such a way that viewers (and critics) would rather wish to be blind, but one we can tell for sure that they cannot represent Ukraine to the international cinema community. The same situation (and it seems to be very hopeless) occurred in Cannes last year, where, among others, the feature film My Widow’s Husband was presented. It was a favourable debut of Ukrainian singer Kamalia as an actress, which happened mainly due to the financial support of her husband, Mohammad Zahoor, incidentially one of producers of Pina by Wim Wenders. Still, a film starring Kamalia cannot be a decent representation of Ukraine at an international level. While the list of movies which will be presented at the Ukrainian pavilion in Cannes this year has not been announced
yet (by the end of April), it is already known that one of the presentations will be devoted to a feature about the outstanding director Sergei Parajanov, which is now being filmed in co-production between Ukraine, France, the Netherlands, Armenia and Georgia. Renowned French director and actor Serge Avedikian (incidentally, he won a Palme d’Or for Short Film in 2010) is the director and leading actor. The release of Parajanov is planned for 2014, when the 90th anniversary of the ingenious director will be celebrated. There is an obvious answer to the question what is more beneficial for the reputation of Ukrainian culture in the world, independent directors who make their own way to the festival competitions or the Ukrainian pavilion presentations at the film markets. However, regrettably, both important components of any art – talent and establishment – do not interflow in this case, and, what’s more, they are contradicting each other. Talent should look for fundraising of his work elsewhere, and the establishment still cannot produce films which will bring Ukraine a long-awaited Palme d’Or.
Four Capital Letters in the Contemporary History of Ukrainian Cinema
Odessa International film Festival 2011 July 15-23, 2011 / www.oiff.com.ua
T his J uly O dessa I nternational F ilm F estival will be held for the second time in O dessa , a port and resort city on the B lack S ea shore . T his ambitious U krainian film forum with a ‘ conceptual sense of humour ’ aspires to draw a successful formula of ‘ arthouse festival mainstream ’ and to become a first A - class U krainian film forum in the nearest future .
Odessa’s international cinema festival is a new event in the Ukrainian cinema schedule. It had, though, significant resonance after the very first festival edition. The festival was founded in 2010, and from the very beginning attracted more than 40,000 film lovers within one summer week. Odessa was chosen as the new film festival location for a reason: this city has a long history in film. Here, outstanding directors Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov and Oleksandr Dovzhenko have worked. The queen of the silent screen Vera Kholodnaya was filmed in her best movies. One could even go as far as assuming that modern-day Hollywood would be a different place without today’s stars who can trace their family roots back to Odessa, Whoopi Goldberg and Sylvester Stallone among them. Such names like Vasiliy Shukshin, Vladimir Vysotskiy and Kira Muratova are also connected to Odessa. It is here that one of the first and largest film studios in Europe is located. And it is here that Odessa International Film Festival, one of the biggest film festivals in Eastern Europe, will be held for the second time this year. The festival director is Denis Ivanov, head of Arthouse Traffic, which has been the main Ukrainian distributing company of ‘alternative’ films for almost 10 years. The festival is headed by Viktoria Tigipko, a Ukrainian entrepreneur who has supported Ukrainian film events for a long while. Odessa’s flavour undoubtedly defines the unique atmosphere of the OIFF. Among the other international festivals, including the biggest A-class film forums, OIFF has found its own niche due to a unique concept. The competition programme consists of full-length feature films with a conceptual sense of humour or, according to the organizers, ‘art mainstream films’. OIFF selectors are looking for modern and intelligent humorous movies from all over the world, be it from ‘established’ (USA, Europe) or ‘exotic’ (Asia, Africa, South America etc.) places. Participants compete for the main award, the ‘Golden Duke’, which goes to the Best Film of the festival. Other nominations include Best Director, Best Actor / Actress and Audience Prize. During the festival Odessa becomes a total cinema territory, open both for film stars and ordinary cinephiles. The integration of the festival into city life is unprecedented. OIFF is all in one: shining and glamorous opening ceremony in the magnificent Odessa Opera, Red Carpet with star promenade, grandiose award ceremony, and affordable tickets prices, as well as workshops for Summer Film School students and Photo: metropolis1927.com
huge open-air free screenings. The Potemkin Stairs, brought to the history of cinema by Sergei Eisenstein in his immortal masterpiece, for OIFF become the place for big film performances. In 2010, the screening of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, accompanied by a symphonic orchestra, has attracted more than 10,000 viewers. In 2011, there will be another special event on the Potemkin stairs, Metropolis, a screening of Fritz Lang’s restored classic film, one of the first sci-fi films in the history of cinema. The screening will again be accompanied by a symphonic orchestra. This year the head of the OIFF Jury is Jerzy Stuhr, a star Polish actor, director and professor, who has worked with all the significant Polish directors like Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Wajda, Agnieszka Holland, and Juliusz Machulski. By interesting coincidence, in Ukraine Stuhr is known first of all due to his comedy role in the hit Soviet-Polish coproduction Deja Vu, which was also filmed in Odessa. Jerzy Stuhr will present this film personally to the audience during a special screening. The main OIFF-2011 innovations are initiatives aimed to revive the Ukrainian film industry. Now there are some tectonic moves in Ukrainian cinema happening. A new wave of filmmakers has appeared. They want to depict non-decorated reality, familiar to Ukrainian audience, creating controversial, sometimes controversial, but always sharp and up-to-date low-budget film projects. The new Ukrainian cinema initiative has a chance to change the image of Ukrainian film, which has been stagnating and declining for a long time. OIFF makes its own contribution to the development of the Ukrainian film industry with its festival project Ukrainian Laboratory implemented in cooperation with the State Film Agency. This program aims to develop and promote Ukrainian cinema and consists of trainings and workshops, pitching sessions for new film projects, screenings of Ukrainian films for foreign and Ukrainian professional selectors and film critics. Two new festival awards to support Ukrainian films were introduced this year: the Shustov award for Best Ukrainian Film and the 1+1 Channel Award for Best Screenplay (with its film adaptation to follow). Film market, this year’s debut event, presently is the only event of its kind for industry professionals. Thus, Odessa international Film Festival is trying to embrace all the elements of film industry, from film production and teaching young professionals to bringing films to audiences.
text: Michael Druchenko
T oday, as a q uarter century ago , V opli V idoplyassova – is the world ’ s most popular U krainian rock group that gives two hundred concerts a year , and , according to a famous music journalist A rtemy T roitsky, ‘ is the standard of the live - concert eastern rock band and this standard is still unsurpassed ’ .
As historians write today – ‘at the beginning was an explosion…’ when powerful radioactive energy of Chornobyl APP gave birth to panic, migration, madness…and Ukrainian rock. In a week after the disaster, when turmoil worried Ukraine and its neighbours, three students – Oleg Skrypka, Oleksandr Pipa and Yuriy Zdorenko – were peacefully sitting in the wild of a well-known Kyiv Polytechnical Institute and drinking tea, reading Fyodor Dostoevsky and thinking about ‘what to do when you have nothing to do…’. It was the beginning of the rock band Vopli Vidoplyassova.
‘French period’ lasted until mid-1996. After returning to Kyiv, a group sent home the Frenchmen and returned to the cast the veteran of VV Serhiy Sakhno. A new guitar player has become Yevheniy Rohachevsky – a young and talented musician who started his career in the bands Yitzkyi Aun and Emperor. Beeing a teenager and a great fan of ‘Vopli’, Yevheniy knew the texts of all VV’s songs and played all guitar parts correctly. The same year on the shelves of the music stores appeared the maxi-single with the new megahit Vesna and later the legendary album Muzika, which almost immediately acquired the status of ‘golden’.
The name of the newly created band was proposed by Oleksandr Pipa – obsessed with the literary activity the footman Vidopliassov from The Village of Stepanchikovo, who called his opuses, filled with the soul screams, ‘vopli’. In autumn 1987 the young musicians made their debut at the Festival of Kiev rock club and won the prize Group of the Year. The Song of the Year was called Cry of Yaroslavna, and outstanding Tantsi immediately became the unofficial anthem of the band. This work crossed the boundaries of the republic and introduced the promising debutants from Kyiv to other cities of the Soviet Union, the debutants who symbolized at that time the national Ukrainian rock music. All concerts were held with the same success, and in Ukraine VV became virtually national heroes.
Later the CD Krаinа Mriy was released, the great part of which constitute the compositions from the beginning of 1990-s (a peculiar tradition of VV to which the band is devoted till this time – to the new album the works of the past years are included). They began to pioneer new, unattainable countries: America, Israel, Hungary, England and Portugal.Then began the development of distant unattainable countries: America, Israel, Hungary, England, Portugal. A successful flight of the band’s disc Muzika in bosom of the first Ukrainian cosmonaut Leonid Kadenyuk on the board of American spaceship Shuttle unexpectedly thundered throughout the country and the musicians got as a present a star in the constellation Lyra.
The meeting of the musicians with the representatives of the French music company Janus in Moscow was a crucial for the guys. Being invited to a festival in France, VV settled in Paris for the whole five years, becoming a truly international quartet – to the cast joined a guitar player Philip Mozha and a drummer Stefan Mufliye. The band toured actively in Western Europe and several times even visited with concerts the former Soviet Union.
In spring 2000 the album Khvyli Amura was released, which became the ‘golden’ album of the band, and the hit Den NaroDJennya cought a race of Vesna and carried it through the native land. To its success contributed a very good video with a plot in the spirit of Indian films. The guys looked great in the images of hot Indian guys. The twentieth anniversary the musicians celebrated with the release of a new studio album entitled Buly Denky and the anniversary tour of the
Photo: Vopli Vidoplyassova PR
cities of Ukraine, in which the group departs with a new bassist Oleksiy Melchenko. In 2008 the band recorded a rock version of the National Anthem of Ukraine, and published the double concert album that recreated their performance at the festival Rock Sich. In March this year a big tour has started devoted to the silver anniversary of Vopli Vidoplyassova. Its 25th anniversary the legendary Kiev rock foursome decided to celebrate by a great musical journey. It has happened so that its round dates VV celebrates for the whole two years, because it is known that the fateful meeting of the future band participants occurred in May 1986 and the debut on stage – in October 1987. The current anniversary is not an exception – the tours will last for a year and will include all countries and continents, where fans of the band live. The first stage of the stellar journey began in spring and went through the cities of brotherly Russia and the nostalgic concert titled From Lenin to Lennon, which took place in Moscow in late April, has brought together three generations of Russian fans. After that far abroad is waiting for friends, and in autumn and winter the guys will set out triumphantly around Ukraine. The anniversary show revue VV is made on a principle ‘new and the best’ – at concerts will sound both – the most famous best sellers of ‘Vopli’ (Vesna, Tantsi, Den NaroDJennya) and novelties of the season (Vidpystka, Zoryanа Kazka, Mara). In addition, music publishing house Krаinа Mriy founded by Oleg Skrypka five years ago, has made the musicians and their fans a present, having republished on the occasion of the anniversary all six classic albums of VV in a collection gift format.
text: Andriy Boborykin
S ince its inception , experimental la bel K vitnu has been fighting stereo types regarding the possibilities for the U krainian avant- garde scene to exist. O wing to the label ’ s enthusiasm and ingenuity U krainian electronic music is well - known and respected abroad .
Starting from the late seventies, the golden age of punk, independent labels have been defining the course of music around the world. Very often they are based around a local phenomenon, as with Seattle-based Sub Pop Records, which discovered Nirvana and Soundgarden. Also, practically all labels of this sort are characterized by some special sound. Projecting the aforementioned parameters onto Ukraine, where pop singers worthy of attention can be counted on the fingers on one hand, it is quite easy to question the very chance for the birth of independent music labels on such fruitless soil. Kvitnu, the project of Dmytro Fedorenko, also known as Kotra, can’t yet fight the giants of the international independent scene, but fully meets these criteria, where Ukraine is taken as one big local phenomenon. Together with Fedorenko, Ukrainian Culture has tried to generalize the label’s experience in several ‘rules’ necessary to produce highquality music and prosper while remaining underground.
Rule No. 1: Make cool music Fedorenko has a varied and interesting background. Having a degree in mathematics, has he played in different jazz and noise projects since the mid-nineties and in 1997/98 he showcased video and net art in the now-defunct Soros Centre in Kyiv. In the 2000s, under the Kotra moniker, Fedorenko took part in the Kharkiv-based Nexsound label together with Andriy Kiritchenko. Kvitnu was founded in 2006, as a platform for representing Ukrainian avant-garde electronic music around the world, as well as bringing the world’s experimental scene closer to Ukraine. How would you define the aim behind Kvitnu’s conception? Kvitnu was created with the aim of finding people who make high-quality and original music and to spare no effort for these people to be heard in Ukraine and elsewhere. And I can say that a lot has been done and there have been many positive moments. And there were many comparisons in different publications that Kyiv is almost like the new Venice or the new Cologne, and that the
number of musicians who appear each year is small, but each one of them is unique. I believe that we have done a good job with this sort of music. But as the time passed, the orientation at Ukrainian artists vanished, and was replaced with creativity as the dominant force behind the label. Currently much more attention is given to the face and general sound of Kvitnu. This is how Portuguese-based Sturqen and Italianbased Plaster appeared among the label’s artists. What was this change of direction connected with? This was very convenient at a time when nobody knew anything about Ukrainian music. At that point we’ve had to make a statement that the Ukrainian scene exists. But if you play with it further you can turn into an outsider as everything would soon start looking like some people from a thirdworld nation are constantly claiming to be ‘different’. We have to make good music and good releases without concentrating on the fact that this is Ukraine. For instance, Autechre
do not write on every corner that they are from England. They just make wicked music. The problem of every underground entity is that their vision of ‘cool music’ is not shared by the majority. In Kvitnu’s case ‘cool music’ means a harsh synthetic sound, ‘high bloodpressure music’ as they define it on their website. Industrial sounds are extracted from different machines and software programmes by the avant-garde of Ukraine’s electronics just to anchor in the eardrums of far less than a ‘stadium-like’ army of fans. Fedorenko believes that the issues of fringe genres lie within the poor preparedness and Soviet-era vacuum: “If a festival is visited by people who have seen The Sex Pistols, Bauhaus or Joy Division live in the early eighties, they don’t need any introduction regarding the origins of our music. In Ukraine, people come having at best heard these bands on tape.” Rule No. 2: Plan concerts well In an attempt to understand how these sounds are produced I went to a Kvitnu concert in Kyiv’s Cinema Club. The gig was dedicated to the label’s fourth anniversary
and was to feature all the artists related to the label. Straight from the start, the club, one of the main concert venues for Kvitnu in Kyiv, is getting filled with pleasant noise. Artists replace each other on stage and the entire club is lighted by flashes from the accompanying visuals. Finally, you understand that Kvitnu is a complex and multifaceted construct united by the idea of harsh synthesis and audio overloads. Kvitnu’s successful concert activity is based on the vast organization experience of Kotra who was in charge of several experimental music festivals in Ukraine, such as KvitnuFest and Detali Zvuku [‘details of sound’]. Any interesting event is always a subjective vision of a certain person. When I did Detali Zvuku and then, in 2007, did KvitnuFest, which was dedicated solely to Ukrainian artists, everyone was surprised to hear that one person does one festival and then does another one in half a year. Why don’t others do that? What can I say? I don’t know why. There is no big secret in it. You should do what you want to do. When we left the country for half a year, I expected
that something would be done in Ukraine. But nothing happened, no movement. There was no change. If past experience is anything to go by, there is no such thing as a ‘niche which cannot stay unoccupied’. Nonsense! The niche is formed by a person, and the absence of that person results in the absence of the niche. At least this is true for Ukraine. But the label’s live activities are not that simple. In 2009 you organized a show of noise legends, the Finland-based band Pan Sonic. Back then the concert was a commercial failure as less than 200 people came. How would you explain that? This situation is quite typical of Kyiv. On the other hand, entrance fees are lower than they were in 2008. Promoters are afraid of putting adequate ticket prices because the attendance is very low. This same thing can happen with techno, trance of drum’n’bass. This is like a lottery. The risk is very high. No promoter can guess what will happen. As far as the demographic of experimental music fans is concerned, it is quite
We have to make good music and good releases without concentrating on the fact that this is Ukraine. For instance, Autechre do not write on every corner that they are from England. They just make wicked music.
differentiated: from nineties-styled neurotic ravers, who seem to be able to dance to the noise of an airplane turbine, to large bearded men with heavy looks. Somewhere among them are students, party kids and representatives of the Polish Institute in Ukraine, which was one of the eventâ€™s partners.
audience, which looks a bit relaxed after a short break. The general feeling throughout the concert is one of musicians testing the physical capabilities of the human organism to perceive not even music, but the very sound itself.
At a certain moment, another act comes on stage, the Portuguese duo Sturqen. The concert start is several hours away and you feel ready for everything, but then they crack down a wave of raw noise on the
Kvitnu is interesting not only for its music. Another important aspect of your label as opposed to other similar initiatives in Ukraine is that there is a clear visual concept. Every release has unique
Rule No. 3: Leave a trace in physical reality
packaging and CD design. Why is so much attention given to the visual aspect of a release? This is the only chance for a physical release to be purchased. There is a logic behind encouraging this kind of fetishism. Limited editions of CDs are most actively purchased at concerts, where you get the chance to experience a band live. The release itself has no special added value nowadays. People come to a concert, hear the music, like it and then buy the CD. Photoes: Kvitnu
Kvitnu was created with the aim of finding people who make high-quality and original music and to spare no effort for these people to be heard in Ukraine and elsewhere. Therefore, in the past musicians went touring to support their album, and now this is just a reminder of the musician’s existence. If a musician makes a release then great, he makes new music, which means it makes sense to invite him, and there will be something new and interesting. The whole visual element of Kvitnu’s activities is managed by Kateryna Zavoloka, who joins the roles as one of the label’s key musicians and designer of most release packages. Also, Zavoloka is sometimes behind the visuals at Kvitnu concerts. Rule No. 4: Sell your music Despite the critical acclaim abroad Kvitnu hardly exists in the legal sense in Ukraine. The label has no headquarters, not to mention an office, and all of their tracks are made in home studios. The label’s communication with the audience is carried out online, which suggests comparisons with so-called ‘netlabels’. The term ‘netlabel’ first appeared in the late nineties and is directly related to the wide adoption of the mp3 format and the Internet. For the most part netlabels are non-commercial and give access to music exclusively in the digital format. According to Kotra, there is one dangerous thing in the activity of netlabels, which is directly related to the absence of barriers between the artist and the audience. These barriers are based on physical records and the commercial side of the music industry. The absence of these barriers negatively influences the quality of the suggested music. The tricky thing with netlabels is that it is very easy to publish a file. It does not require a lot of effort. In your relations with the audience you follow a special approach, which allows you to reach more music fans than a netlabel could manage. You do not create any obstacles for the free distribution of your music across the Internet, but at the same time you do not encourage these processes. All tracks from Kvitnu releases can be heard in mp3 quality on your official website, but they cannot be downloaded. What does the Internet mean to you? There is a certain fraction of the audience that has some sort of inner understanding that paying three dollars for a record on iTunes
means paying respect to the musicians. And this is why we are still within the netlabel and Internet segment, which means that we still exist in the free version. But if we were just there we would not exist for a different type of audience, one that prefers purchasing albums and tracks on iTunes in a civilized manner. And this is why we chose to expand our audience by releasing CDs and keeping our releases in digital stores. Rule No. 5: Look for talented artists Kvitnu would not exist without its unique artists. The hard core consists of those who live and work in Ukraine. They all carry fancy nicknames like Dunaewsky69, V4w.enko, Zavoloka and Kotra. Each of them has a unique sound. However, these unique fractions complement each other in a complex general picture, which is Kvitnu itself. While working with demos and new artists Kotra follows very strict and clear criteria: “One of the principal aspects behind the choice of musicians is a very strong personality, one that knows what he or she wants to do. I believe this is where real music starts from.” These criteria result in Kvitnu developing its own sound and aesthetic. The music itself says a lot, but not everything. Generally demos, one of the main driving forces behind a career in music, are not effective for Kvitnu. Of all the artists working with the label Sturqen were the only ones to send in their demo. In other cases, each artist had some releases, compilation appearances or live experience before becoming part of Kvitnu. “Sometimes they ask: what should I do for you to release my music? This shows the immaturity of artists. There is no right or wrong. If an artist desires to make music in line with the label’s wishes, he stops being a personality. This approach is wrong,” Kotra says. Rule No. 6: Never stop At the end of our conversation Kotra admits that Kvitnu ‘is still on a very underground level’ and it is evident that this term does not carry the same protest-like, distinctive and very righteous nature as for many of us. Kvitnu is in a very complex situation, trying to remain part of the Ukrainian underground while working according to the laws of the Western one.
We simply want to move forward. I can say that subjectively we have gone beyond lots of inner boundaries, but the external boundaries remain where they used to be. And some sort of dissonance appears, and the further we go the greater the dissonance. During our six months in Poland we managed to do more for the label than during all this time in Ukraine. The reason for that is quite simple: the post works well there as well as the banking system. A ticket from Krakow to Paris costs 30 euros and we had the chance to visit several interesting events. Quite often this sort of interviews or texts end in a sombre tone, while the situation is not like that. Any dynamics give some result sooner or later. Recently Kvitnu won in three nominations at the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards. Probably the main rule for successful underground is a number of energetic people who create niches and movements themselves. These people make a lot more of a difference than they realize. And Kvitnu is quite lucky to have some of them.
Independent music label Kvitnu was founded in 2006 by Dmytro Fedorenko (Kotra). Kvitnu releases music by Ukrainian and foreign artists in limited editions. Over the last four years the label has produced 15 releases, many of which were marked by respected international awards (such as Qwartz International Music Awards). Apart from music production, the label organises the music festivals KvitnuFest and Detali Zvuku (starting from 2006) which feature international and local experimental acts (from Ukrainian singer Katya Chilly to Scorn and Pan Sonic).
text: Olesia Naydyuk
T oday V alentin S ilvestrov ’ s works are performed in the most prestigious music venues of the world . H e is the only U krainian composer whose scores are published by the world - famous G erman music publishing house P eters / B elaieff. T he world has recognized composer V alentin S ilvestrov at the end of 1 9 6 0 s . F irst he was awarded the prestigious S erge K oussevitzky P rize ( U S A , 1 9 6 7 ) . L ater he received the G audeamus international composer award ( the N etherlands ) .
After the book Waiting for the Music (published by Kyiv’s Dukh i Litera) based on conversations with one of the greatest Ukrainian composers of our time, Valentin Silvestrov, was published, saying something new about him is a difficult task. In addition, Silvestrov speaks about music better than anyone else. His expressions are simple and casual, but profound and aphoristically precise at the same time. As for any genuine composer, music for Silvestrov is the art of composition, not of making sense. Finding the sense is the job of the audience. In this way, repeatedly refusing to give interviews to the media, refusing to be in the public eye (the word ‘recluse’ is often used to describe the composer), he delegates the right to speak to the music which will say so much more itself, without any other negotiators. Several years ago Silvestrov celebrated his 70th anniversary. Concerts were organised in his honour and a series of public meetings with Silvestrov initiated by composer Sergiy Piliutikov were held at the National Composers’ Union of Ukraine. The abovementioned book, Waiting for the Music, is based on these meetings. Ukraine did not immediately recognize one of its geniuses. By the late 1990s, when the powerful festival movement started, all previously banned avant-garde music suddenly turned into a new reality, marking another milestone in the history of Ukrainian music. However, if Ukrainian audiences because of the festivals were just in the process of learning about international avant-garde composers, such as the Second Viennese School, Schönberg, Webern, Berg, the so-called second wave of avant-garde, Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono, Cage, and Xenakis, Silvestrov had already turned their work into a part of his own experience as a composer, and one can even say that he is already past this stage in his own creative output. In the 1960s, together with composers Leonid Grabowsky, Vitaly Hodzyatsky and others, Silvestrov created the Kyiv Avant-Garde group. He admired the new modern techniques applied by Western composers, and the refined Polish avant-garde was of particular
interest to the Ukrainian artists. However, the milestone to mark this period in Silvestrov’s oeuvre is Forest Music based on poems by Gennady Aigi and composed in the late 1970s. Then, especially when the Fifth Symphony was created, something else started, a switch to another level of comprehension of reality. Actually, it was the beginning of the period, which meant the return of music into its essence, the melody, as Silvestrov might say. Surprisingly, even the Polish audience in the 1980s at the Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn was more than wary in its reception of this work. Although many of the famous avant-garde composers had changed their musical language by that time, as well as the concept of music – from so-called pre-twelve-tone to melodic. Silvestrov broke with dodecaphony, and now the lyrical aspect is the essential dominant of his work, while its philosophy is the ‘philosophy of the heart’, though it does not sound precisely as by Skovoroda. Actually, regarding these notions I perceive his music in the context of such world famous names as Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Henryk Górecki, Peteris Vasks. By the way, the list of powerful ‘21st century romanticists’ is not very long. Today Silvestrov is repeatedly criticized, e.g. for breaking with the avant-garde. It is considered that his best works were written during that period (though such observation is rather relative). He is also criticized for being old-fashioned, as well as for a perceived banality and naivety in music, and, finally, for repeating himself as if he was quoting his earlier work. In my opinion, the gap between ‘Silvestrov before’ and ‘Silvestrov after’ is speculating, purely formal, technical, and useful only as a mark for artistic classification. Listening to Silvestrov’s music, both current and former, you can feel and understand how holistic is the phenomenon of Silvestrov’s oeuvre. It is undoubtedly a unique selfevolving system. Just it pertains to different dynamics, different levels of concentration of musical ideas. Therefore, there cannot be two different Silvestrovs, he is the only one in Ukraine.
Photo: Sergiy Piliutikov
As for any genuine composer, music for S i lv e s t r o v i s t h e a r t o f c o m p o s i t i o n , n o t of making sense. Finding the sense is the j o b o f t h e a u d i e nc e .
Lee Sun-Don. Utmost / All Wishes Come True.Oil on Canvas. 2010
L ee S un - D on , T aiwanese artist and T hird P atriarch of the Z en - B uddhist F orshang school , has been presented at the last V enice B iennale by the curatorial project of A chille B onito O liva . I n a year M aster L ee has become a participant of I nner L ight, a project curated by K ostyantyn D oroshenko at the N ational A rt M useum of U kraine in collaboration with M ichael M urphenko , a K yiv - based artist of I rish origin .
Photoes: Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic
Lee Sun-Don. Take a Seat Series. Oil onCanvas. 2008
At the end of the last century the West was convinced that the East would buy European and American contemporary art but would not export its own. But the opposite happened. In 2008, the auction house Christie’s has sold during one week the works of the Asian authors totalling $310.7 million. A week of auctions in Hong Kong has only proven Asia’s reputation of being the most promising market, which today yields in terms of sales only to London and New York. What is interesting: most of the Asian contemporary artists, instead of promoting their own descriptive ideas, have plunged into art created by European and American artists in specific socio-historical metamorphoses during the course of the 20th century. They try to slip the history during several Five-Year Plans almost as well as Nikita Khrushchev. In this Asian art Lee Sun-Don is rather an exception to the rule. What he does cannot be compared to the work of Cai Guo-Qiang or Liu Xiaodong who criticize the social and political changes in China. Lee is much closer to tradition, but not to Maoist imperial art but to Zen-Buddhism with its understanding of creativity as a spiritual practice, with its idea of instant enlightenment. During his workshop at the Kyiv museum artist made a painting, Enjoy a Free Moment, in front of the viewers in just a few minutes using one tube of white paint on white canvas. Lee also showed several techniques peculiar to his ‘totem painting’, based on the principle of creating something new by means of metamorphosis of the existing one, ‘‘because in order to create something new, we should not be afraid of destroying something old’’. The fact that the curator of your project at the 53rd Venice Biennale has been professor Oliva is very significant. Perhaps it was the decisive factor drawing the attention of the world’s professional art community to your project. What can you say about your cooperation with Achille Bonito Oliva?
From my personal experience I can say that he is a very direct person, who says what he wants to say. He is impulsive and openminded. Sometimes it is difficult to predict his behaviour. He can be angry one moment and happy and inspired the next. Later some of the Italians explained to me that it is a very convenient way of self-expression: there are many people from different places, many different languages are spoken, so sometimes the best way to express yourself is through emotions. This language is understood by everyone. At any rate, cooperation with maestro Oliva is a great achievement and a precious experience for a contemporary artist. He was the first curator whom I have trusted with my art. Before this I have organized exhibitions and expositions by myself.
If you are talented you can contribute to the development of the country. Moreover, before the exhibition in Kyiv, you have had only solo shows. Why have you agreed to the collaborative project in Ukraine? In Taiwan there is an old Chinese expression which can be met very seldom in continental China: ‘Yuan Fen’. This can be translated as ‘fate brought’. In general, these moments are very appreciated in Chinese culture. If fate brings something your way and you feel that this is the right way without speculation or expectation, why should you go against it? This is karma, that very case when there is no sense to resist. Having received a proposal to do a joint exhibition with Michael
text: Mariya Khrushchak
Murphenko, I had to see his works. They interested me. After meeting him and talking to him in Taipei I felt reassured that it makes sense for both of us. My school teaches not to avoid karma but to follow it. I have a busy schedule of exhibitions all over the world, especially in the capitals of the international art market: New York, Moscow, Tokyo, and London. Though Kyiv is not an attractive city in terms of sales, the manner of curator Kostyantyn Doroshenko at the last Venice Biennale, his articulation of questions concerning the exhibition and the organization of negotiations has left me without any doubt as to my participation. I follow my karma. I am confident that our project Inner Light has furthered the understanding of modern art, and not only in Ukraine. How do you assess contemporary art trends in China? Frankly, most of what is commercially successful at international auctions, looks rather imitative concerning Western contemporary art. China has got into its own trap, because the country suffered a terrible event, the socalled ‘cultural revolution’. This is why more than a decade in the history and cultural development of China has been occupied by emptiness. Another problem which has appeared before the ‘cultural revolution’ is the simplification the Chinese hieroglyphics in the 60s. Yes, it is more efficient, it has increased the rates of literacy among the population, but has become a huge obstacle breaking the link with the thousand-yearold Chinese culture. Today, the Chinese on the continent do not understand their own ancient literature. Culture has been interrupted. And if there are no roots, what will be the crown of the tree like? When one surface has left and it is impossible to get to the depth, how to not repeat other artists? In Taiwan children have a hard time, they must cram a lot: old hieroglyphs, stories, philosophical concepts, quotes. But we have this all! Therefore, we have very powerful and strong roots. It is the only way
Wh en on e su rfa ce ha s lef t an d it is im po ss ibl e to get to th e dep th , ho w to no t rep eat ot her ar tis ts ?
to grow in your own direction. Apparently, only in this situation you are able to come up with something new. I absolutely agree with your statement that in modern Chinese art there is nothing new. The high prices are due to plain and simple speculation. The West has been increasing prices but has not bought. The rich men of China have bought up these works because of prestige and have brought them back to China, which caused the price increase. It was just inflating the cost in terms of economy and not in terms of art value.
its condition but in art itself. If a picture can inspire you and awaken your desires, what difference does it make how stable the economy is. There will always be rich men who understand the influence of art on the quality of life. Shortly before my presentation in Kyiv I had an exhibition in Tokyo, where thirty-eight paintings were sold. I didn’t notice any problems with the economy. To me, everything is fine. This spring I have organized the art fair in Taipei and was amused with its results so much that I plan to do a regular event.
In the midst of the financial crisis of 2010, when galleries all over the world complained about falling prices, you have opened a gallery in New York. Was it selfconfidence or extravagance?
You are a citizen of Taiwan and at the same time a professor at Beijing University. While the relations between Beijing and Taipei are still strained how, is it possible to combine such things?
It does not matter what it is – economic crisis or prosperity. We still cannot buy the Mona Lisa. The point is not in economy or
Recently Continental China has been worrying not more about art or education policy but about attracting talents. If you
Photoes: Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic
are talented you can contribute to the development of the country. It is a very healthy, modern approach. If you are recognized internationally, China will accept you happily, will assist and support you. In a case like that politics does not matter. Besides Beijing, I am an Honorary Professor of Xiamen University. Xiamen is called ‘Eden in Southern China’. When my solo exhibition was shown there, something really extraordinary happened. One of the oldest Buddhist monasteries with a history of more than eight hundred years has violated its own statute of ferocious seclusion, and a hundred and eight monks were allowed to leave its premises to visit my exhibition. It is no coincidence that they were exactly 108, a special number in Buddhism. It means perfect fullness.
Galerie Albert Benamou
text: Alexandra Kravchenko
Exhibition of the Ukrainian artists at the Galerie Albert Benamou
A t the end of M arch 2 0 1 1 , the works of A nton S olomoukha , O leg T istol and V ictor S ydorenko were showcased at the G alerie A lbert B enamou in P aris . T he gallery is famous for having promoted such artists as A ndy W arhol , J eff K oons , J oel - P eter W itkin , E rwin O laf, and the G ao B rothers , in E urope .
In modern society art is outside the art market is socially impotent, devoid of authoritative which rhetoric necessary for the symbolic act of affirmation in culture. Only wrapped up in the poetry of multidigit numbers, art is able to impress, to become a part of the cultural discourse and, ultimately, to transform reality. Those who wish to divide art and the market intentionally, simply are not able to catch the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. Now, according to ‘widely unknown’ Ukrainian ‘artist / evolutionist’ Vinny Reunov, ‘the actual artists involved in the contemporary art process are not the true artists but the gallery owners and art dealers’, who skillfully manage two powerful energies at once: art and money. Ukrainians only just begin to learn this contemporary ‘market meta-art’. Firstly Anton Solomoukha, Oleg Tistol and Victor Sydorenko were presented by the French gallery owner Albert ‘Bob’ Benamou at the exhibition stand of the Galerie Albert Benamou in 2010 in Kiev, at the 5th Art Kyiv Contemporary art fair. History testifies that having watched dozens of catalogues of contemporary Ukrainian artists, he has chosen these names. Less than a year later, at the end of March 2011, the works of Anton Solomoukha, Oleg Tistol and Victor Sydorenko
were shown together at the Galerie Albert Benamou in Paris. Bob Benamou is purposely called ‘the great discoverer’. The unprecedented artistic flair of this legendary gallery owner has already been helping him for half a century to anticipate the hottest trends in the art world. For the last 5 years, Albert Koski has been Albert Benamou’s partner and co-owner of the gallery. He is a famous collector of contemporary art, concert promoter (who has invited to France such bands as The Rolling Stones and The Who) and film producer (Professione: Reporter directed by Michelangelo Antonioni). At the exhibition at the Galerie Albert Benamou Anton Solomoukha, Oleg Tistol and Victor Sydorenko have presented their expositions, each with a certain view on Ukraine. Anton Solomoukha showed works from the project Little Red Riding Hood visits Chernobyl, created in 2009. In the macabre scenery of Pripyat and Chernobyl Solomoukha plunged ironic visual allegories on classical art works that now are stored in one of the main world’s treasuries of high art, the Louvre. The series is executed in his very own genre of ‘photo-painting’, invented by the artist in the early 2000s.
Galerie Albert Benamou
Oleg Tistol, Anton Solomoukha and Victor Sydorenko
Oleg Tistol. YuBK Series. Painting. 2010
At that time Anton Solomoukha, a student of Tatiana Yablonska, made photography his main creative tool, maintaining sympathy to ‘picturesque principles’ of composition and imagery. Oleg Tistol showed a selection of works from his famous YuBK series (the abbreviation stands for ‘South Coast of Crimea’), at which he had been working since 2006. His project establishes the palm tree as an alternative Ukrainian archetype, the symbol of ‘Ukrainian paradise’, which is located at the intersection of geography and memory, the Crimean land and the nostalgic images of the resort ‘sunny Crimea’ of soviet times. Artist, curator and art theorist Victor Sydorenko exhibited works from his Levitation cycle (2009), in which the play with optical illusions and full of colour painting space serves as a field for all sorts of metaphors: from the expression of inner freedom to the particular state of the suspended Ukrainian identity. The exhibition also featured a video from the project Millstones of Time, with which Victor Sydorenko represented Ukraine at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. The Ukrainian project at the Parisian Galerie Albert Benamou has become a kind of diplomatic mission of Ukrainian art in Europe. This Photoes: Art-Agent Ukr.Gallery
Oleg Tistol has established the palm tree as an alternative Ukrainian archetype, the symbol of ‘Ukrainian paradise’, which is located at the intersection of geography and memory, the Crimean land and the nostalgic images of the resort ‘sunny Crimea’ of soviet times. exhibition has marked the beginning of the cooperation between the Ukrainian artists with the prestigious French gallery, and in 2011 we will see Galerie Albert Benamou’s Ukrainian stand at Europe’s largest art fair FIAC. “The gallery business is complicated and specific. The most important thing is to have a keen sense, to be able to foresee talent to its disclosure, to recognize a masterpiece before it becomes one. Trust my experience, art really is the best investment. I have been already working with Anton [Solomoukha] for thirty years, and Oleg Tistol and Victor Sydorenko were chosen for the exhibition because I feel their potential and believe in their success,” said Albert Benamou. The Ukrainian project at the Galerie Albert Benamou was supported by the Ukrainian art dealer Igor Abramovich (Art-Agent Ukr Gallery), who takes care of the interests of Tistol, Sydorenko, Solomoukha and a dozen other Ukrainian contemporary artists living in Ukraine and abroad.
text: Alexandra Kravchenko
Viktor Sydorenko. From the project Levitation. Photograph. 2010
Ukrainian Alternative Photography at the FEPN-2011
T he U krainian project at the 1 1 th E uropean festival of nude photography ( F E P N ) G allery L ’ E space V an G ogh D r . F elix R ey S q uare / P lace du D octeur F é lix R ey, A rles , F rance 7 - 1 5 M a y, 2 0 1 1
The European Festival of Photography (FEPN) in the French city of Arles is Europe’s largest photography forum dedicated to nude art. This year it will be held for the 11th time and will include 30 expositions of photographers from five countries, in particular the first large-scale Ukrainian project for which six famous Ukrainian artists have created special nude photo projects. Since 2000 the European Festival of nude photography has been taking place in one of the most prominent parts of the French Provence. The history of the city, founded by Julius Caesar, where Van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso have lived and worked, has accumulated a powerful creative energy. Until the present day ancient Arles is one of the hotspots on the cultural map of Europe, seeing as it also hosts the International Festival of Photography. Besides, the French National School of photography is also situated here. The theme of this year’s FEPN will be the modern vision of human body. Glances at the Body (the name chosen for the festival) will be demonstrated in the exhibition spaces of Arles and the neighboring town of Les Baux-de-Provence by participating photographers from France, Russia, Poland, Australia and Ukraine.
Photoes: Art-Agent Ukr.Gallery
Ukraine will be represented by Oleg Tistol, Viktor Sydorenko, Anton Solomoukha, Christina Katrakis, Igor Gaidai and Roman Pyatkovka. Their works can be seen in one of the most luxurious galleries, Espace Van Gogh. Elena Kahn is the curator of the Ukrainian project. Last year it was her who presented in Arles the artistic photo-sabbath of Igor Gaidai Saman with portraits of nude Ukrainian witches on brooms projected directly onto the walls of the medieval castle of Baux. This time Elena Kahn invited not only famous photographers such as Gaidai from Kyiv and Pyatkovka from Kharkiv, but also artists, for whom photo session is not the traditional media. Photo projects of Oleg Tistol, Viktor Sydorenko and Christina Katrakis will become an experiment for the authors and a surprise for visitors. The first time Ukraine was represented at this festival was in 2008 with the epic series Little Red Riding Hood in the Louvre by former Kyiv painter and now Paris-based photographer Anton Solomoukha. Since then Solomoukha has become a friend of the festival founders Bruno Redares and Bernard Ming, and a permanent resident of the festival. Thanks to these friendly relations the French exposition of FEPN will be presented to the residents of Kyiv at the Art Kyiv Contemporary 2011 this autumn.
Insectoids and Reptiloids
text: Okasana Hayduk
S e p t e m b e r 6 – Oc t o b e r 6 , 2 0 1 1
Oleg Tistol, Anton Solomoukha and Victor Sydorenko
In s e c t o i d s a n d R e p t i l o i d s – In S e a r c h o f H a r m o n y T h e K y r g y z G a pa r Ay t i e v N at i o n a l M u s e u m o f F i n e A rt s 1 9 6 A b d r a k h m a n o v a S t. , B i s h k e k , the Kyrgyz Republic
Svetlana Volnova. From the Aziz series. 2003
The first serious representation of Ukrainian art in Kyrgyzstan is penetrated with geopolitical connotations. In the exhibition Ukraine appears as an area attractive for creative artists of different mentality and people, even with the imperial past. The project Insectoids and Reptiloids – In Search of Harmony connects the works of photographer Svetlana Volnova, who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and artist Michael Murphenko, an Irishman from Britain. Ukraine has become an artistic homeland for both of them who have been connected with the ideas of a Kyrgyz scientist. Ilyas Sadybakasov has divided the world into the insectoid and reptiloid races. The geologist who has spent forty years studying the mountains of High Asia, a soviet scientist who has received yoga ordination in the ashram of Sri Aurobindo in India, today lives as a hermit in Kyrgyzstan, from time to time gibing lectures, for example to the lamaist monks in Elista, at the invitation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of Kalmykia. The academic world would rather not hear the extravagant metaphors of the reclusive scholar, but it has been infected by them through contemporary art. According to Sadybakasov, the insectoid nation is ‘Asia’, ‘continent’, ‘the structure of an anthill’. Reptiloids, on the other hand, symbolise ‘Europe’, ‘individualism’, ‘the conquest of the seas’ and ‘an agile mind’. It is difficult to fancy an image more accurate for reflection concerning the discussion Photo: Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic
Michael Murphenko. Egg-Eating Snake Mosquito. 2009
which unfolded in Beijing during the 24 World Congress of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. Michael Murphenko has taken this advantage, sometimes during the workshops, creating drawings on rice paper as an artistic response to the scientific competition. The contradiction has been encouraged by the congress theme, Harmony and the Rule of Law, and its main star, Columbia University professor Joseph Raz. He shocked the audience with statements such as: ‘Contrary to most current rhetoric, the rights are not absolute, their just interpretation and implementation require sensitivity to cultural diversity and to the validity of other ends.’ Created from the graphic letters of Murphenko, the installation was presented in the last days of the congress in the Hall of Science at the Bejing Friendship Hotel and has caused a separate discussion among scientists. In December 2010, Insectoids and Reptiloids was presented at the Red Dot Art Fair in Miami. The exhibition at Kyrgyz Gapar Aytiev National Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek sees the photographic contributions of Svetlana Volnova. Aziz shows black and white portraits of a Kirghiz youth. Privatelyreporting, not retouched, they are an attempt to unravel the emotion of a human of another faith, mentality and sex. To trace something intimate in the world stratified by fashion and social networks, something erotic in the media totality of mechanical seduction.
Photo: Doroshenko Gryshchenko Clinic
Being an art critic… was the title of one of my TV series. There I have collected the views of professionals from Kyiv and Odessa. Being one of them and also the author of Situation UTE (‘the only TV programme in Ukraine specialising in contemporary visual art’) I would like to share my personal experience. I have had to meet with an opinion that I am a remarkable person, but I personally consider my deed as my work. I am just doing my job, what I am taught to do and what society needs. If the last phrase sounds with pathos I will enhance its glory: I fill that gap, not added by the state, in the constitutional rights of which is stated the right to receive information and education. Naturally, this applies also to the field of contemporary art and culture. The project Situation UTE started out as one of the activities of the League Level 14. At that time we were holding international symposia calling them ‘bathyscaphes’. Exhibitions, lectures, conferences, videodance performances were organized and also we travelled a lot through Ukraine and Europe. At that time I was working with five different cameramen, but when you hold the camera yourself you already know what exactly you want and just build the plot (excuse me, the dramaturgy of future editing). My appearance on TV is not a goal. It is only a means of transmission (media) existing in
me, and especially in others – knowledge and understanding of the modern world by means of art. And I have got to frame almost by accident. At one presentation where I was just shifting from one foot to the other, a lady came up to me. It turned out to be Irina Padorina, a television ‘she-wolf’, a superprofessional. She said that my place is on television. I think that before she has seen me in Kira Muratova’s film. And she began training me (strictly). After this I have gone to Germany to study TV art criticism for a year. And only then I began creating Situation UTE. Some time later there was probation at ORF (Austria state television), BBC World, BBC London. In the title there is some provocation: the programme had to provoke a certain situation in which the essence of modern art is a standard and the European way of thinking is a reality. In 1995, at the World Congress of Art Critics in Amsterdam I talked about the contemporary art of Ukraine. In that same year I also worked in the jury of a significant video art festival, Videoformes in ClermontFerrand. In 2000, during the Viollettica symposium, I made a report concerning the details of video-dance-performance in Norway. In the archive of Situation UTE there are our Odessa Festival 2 Days and 2 Nights of New Music, and already a historic project 96 containers in Stockholm, in which we have presented Ukraine. At that time Stockholm had been the cultural capital of Europe and it seems to me that the
UTA Kilter. Video-dance-performance UTA–Vira as a part of the international project Aut. Kyiv, Chocolate House, 2010.
My appearance on TV is not a goal. It is only a means of transmission (media) existing in me, and especially in others – knowledge and understanding of the modern world by means of art.
presentation of contemporary art in such an extent is the most promising. Therefore there have been created cycles about Krakow, as a cultural capital of Europe, Linz, and now about Istanbul. Working in Odessa is very interesting as well as difficult. Yes, sometimes all this looks like heroic deeds, however, this is my vocation in my country. Lining up a cool frame to find the right camera angle, to catch the facial expression or peculiar gesture of an artist, write to it somewhat ironic text, certainly with a social context... My television company (by the way, in Europe someone has lost his tongue because of its title, Art) is a small company and it is very hard to find financing for it but, nevertheless, we broadcast it on the prime channel and Situation UTE you can see in all homes of the region, even without an aerial! Then I throw it on vimeo. com. Sometimes people ask me: “What are you doing in this country, in this almost closed for culture information space?” I answer that I am a Ukrainian Albert Schweitzer! Do you remember the famous scientist and expert of J.S. Bach’s works, a perfect organist, who left everything and went to Gabon to vaccinate African kids against poliomyelitis? Almost the same I do with the citizens of Ukraine: a vaccination of the modern world. I install European thinking by means of modern art.
text: Alexandra Kravchenko
W hile the history of world art auction sales numbers a few hundred years , the history of participation of U krainian artists in that process has just began . S till U kraine has already got enough reasons to sum up first results .
The date of June 9, 2009 has already become historic for the Ukrainian art community. It was the day of the Contemporary Russian&Ukrainian Art sale at famous Sotheby’s auction house in London, where the works of Ukrainian artists have been officially presented for the first time. Surely, solitary sales of Ukrainian art happened before, though on Western galleries and private collectors’ initiative. That memorable Sotheby’s sale were organized by Ukrainians, namely by collector Andriy Suprunenko, Nataliya Zabolotna - that time director of the Ukrainian House (exhibition center), and collector Igor Voronov. 9 out of 19 presented works of Ukrainian artists (among them Oleg Tistol, Maryna Skugareva, Vasyl Tsagolov, Oleksandr Roitburd, Igor Gusev, Oksana Mas and others) were sold for the total amount of more then $200 000, which was a great result, according to Sotheby’s experts. Since then, the most respectable and world-famous auction houses, such as Phillips de Pury & Co, Bonhams, MacDougall’s as well as Sotheby’s, have been working with Ukrainian artists on regular basis. The only auction house that still only ‘examining’ the Ukrainian share of art market is Christie’s, but there is a hope that pretty soon this “bar” is going to be cleared as well: right now, the talks are being conducted regarding participation of several Ukrainian artists in Christie’s ‘New Names in Art’ sales this October. The success of Ukrainian art at the world auctions is not only the result of commercial success of certain artists that is counted in sum which was paid for a lot. The very fact that Ukrainian art is included into auction houses’ sale’s collections indicates an acknowledgement of international art experts community and symbolic capitalization of Ukrainian art’s authority on the world level. Auctions have always been one the most prestigious ‘channels’ of international art market, since, unlike the private and gallery sales, auction sales are public. Combination of noble traditions, elements of refined ‘show’ which is the very process of sale itself, and media hype
– all these gives auction houses a significant influence in the global art processes and in making artists’ reputations. An auction is a serious game, where big money and high cultural values are intertwined, and which is observed enthusiastically by the entire world. That is why being put up for auction has been always considered as equivalent to being exhibited in a prestigious museum or a gallery. One of the most successful Ukrainian art dealers Igor Abramovych, that works with such artists as Oleg Tistol, Vasyl Tsagolov, Anatoliy Kryvolap, Vinny Reunov, Viktor Sydorenko and others, presents these artists at international sales (in collaboration with Ukrainian Dymchuk Gallery and American Black Square Gallery). Since the last a few years the artists named above has become the most regular participants of the sales at the most famous auction houses. Recently, in May 2011, Mr. Abramovych has become the first Ukrainian art dealer to present Ukrainian art at the Contemporary art sales at the American department of the Phillips de Pury & Co house: “The negotiations about Ukrainian artists’ representation at New York sales has been held for two years. Finally, this May, works of four Ukrainians have been selected for Contemporary Art Day Sales in New york department. This sales were very successful for us, in particular, the painting by Anatoliy Kryvolap was sold at $98 500 - this work made top-20 of the sales’s lots, besides it has set a new sale world record for Ukrainian art. But the price is only an indicator, what really matters is that international experts and collectors have shown a real interest in Ukrainian art. We will keep working, and I hope that very soon a name list of Ukrainian artists regularly put up on world auctions will considerably expand”. In Mr Abramovych’ nearest future comes collective art project of Oleg Tistol, Vasyl Tasgolov and Arsen Savadov at the Phillips de Pury & Co corner at famous London-based Saatchi Gallery, the first participation of the Ukrainian artists at Christie’s and arranging of the first ‘Ukrainian Sales’ at Phillips de Pury & Co and Sotheby’s.
THE M OST SIG N IFI C A N T SALES OF THE UKRAI N IA N C O N TE M PORARY ART AT I N TER N ATIO N AL AU C TIO N S *
1. The first work sold at international auction Arsen Savadov, photo from Donbass-Chocolate series – for £9 600 February 15, 2007, Sotheby’s, London Photo-print from Donbass-Chocolate series (the end of 1990s) that is already a ‘classics’ of Ukrainian contemporary art, was put up at Sotheby’s by Parisian gallery. This sale was as well the first appearance of the Ukrainian contemporary photography at the international auction. Later in the following participations of Ukrainian artists at auctions, the only one photo-work has been sold – the photo by Anton Solomukha from The Red Hood Visited Chernobyl series at theme sales SEX of Phillips de Pury & Co house in London in March, 2010.
2. The most expensive work sold at international auction Anatoliy Kryvolap, Steppe – for $98 500, May 13, 2011, Phillips de Pury & Co, New York Finally this year in May the works by Kryvolap and three other Ukrainian artists (Oleg Tistol, Igor Gusev and Vinny Reunov) were included in Contemporary Art Day sales at Phillips de Pury & Co in New York that is genuine ‘breakthrough’ of the Ukrainian art on the US market. Kryvolap’s landscape Steppe become one of the 20 top lots of this sales and set a new sale world record for Ukrainian art, which up until this time was held by Oleksandr Roitburd - his painting Farewell Caravaggio was sold for $97 000in June, 2009 at the Phillips de Pury & Co in London.
4. Ukrainian works sold at the most significant theme sales Vasyl Tsagolov, from The Office Affairs series – for £25 000, March 19, 2010, SEX, Phillips de Pury & Co, London Mykola Matsenko, Music Culture - at £3 500, November 21, 2009, MUSIC, Phillips de Pury & Co, London
3. Record sale Oleg Tistol, The Sea – for $ 28 750, May 13, 2011, Phillips de Pury & Co, New York This painting has become the 16-th work by Oleg Tistol that was put up at international auctions (Tistol has been put up at Sotheby’s, Phillips de Pury & Co and Bonhams) – this is the highest result among the Ukrainian artists. Since 2009 the prices for his works has considerably risen. ‘The secret’ of his success is the interest to his works not only among Ukrainian, but also among international collectors. Also Tistol’s work Ararat-9 was the first to be put up at American department in March, 2010. The American departments of the famous auction houses are the most prestigious in the world, since the USA hold the leading share of the world art market, being “a hot spot” for the most distinguished collectors, gallerists and buyers. That is the place of the toughest expert selection and Tistol’s work is the first Ukrainian lot at the US auction, included into theme sale NOW: ‘Art of the 21st Century’ of Phillips de Pury & Co house, dedicated to new names in art world.
Theme sales are the important area of work of Phillips de Pury & Co auction house, and SEX collection that featured artworks that explore the topic of sexuality in contemporary art, has drawn one of the most significant response in the history of this auction house. The presence of Ukrainian artists is the gesture of the true recognition for Ukrainian art and the evidence that Ukrainians are involved in today’s most topical discourses of the global art process. 6. The most expensive work sold on the first sales of the Ukrainian contemporary art at Sotheby’s Oksana Mas, Drive 9 – for $54 000, June 9, 2009, Sotheby’s, London
5. Hot-trend sale Oleksandr Klymenko, The Myriads of Worlds above Us – for $22 000, October 17, 2009, Phillips de Pury & Co, London
The June 2009 sales of the one of the most prestigious auction houses, Sotheby’s, were symbolic step for Ukraine as it was the first time that the works of the Ukrainian artists were fully made known at the Western art market and presented by Ukrainian galleries and dealers. The most expensive Ukrainian artwork of the sales was the painting by Odessabased artist Oksana Mas, who this year is representing Ukraine at Venice Biennale for Contemporary Art.
As each business, international art market has its own trends for which collectors and buyers ‘vote’. Nowadays contemporary abstraction is the leading one. Oleksandr Klymenko is the only one Ukrainian artist that works in this genre, therefore his works have stable success at auctions and regularly appear at the prestigious international sales.
7. The first sale at Christie’s Illya Chichkan, Psychodarwinism in Yalta – for $23 000, November 26, 2008, Christie’s, London The Christie’s is still the only one space that does not hasten to include Ukrainian art into its collections. Today Illya Chichkan is the only one Ukrainian artist, whose work was put up at this famous auction. Yet several works of the Ukrainian artists are already scheduled for Christie’s sales featuring the new names in art world this October. *All the lot prices in this list are indicated at the moment of the sale without calculation of the currency rates at the moment of writing the article.
Photoes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: Art-Agent Ukr.Gallery
Photo 1: savadov.com
Photo 7: Illya Chichkan
Liubko Deresh How to become God and not Cry ‘ U C ’ presents an excerpt from the unpublished novel by one of the most noted contemporary ukrainian authors .
“Go with the flow.” This was her motto, her talisman. She had fashioned it during her struggle to become the person she was. At school, back in Lugansk, Maia had been the hardest working student. Not one of – the hardest working. Her mother had the kind of personality you couldn’t disobey. Until she turned fifteen, everything Maya had done had been at her mother’s initiative. It was her mother forcing her, age six, into flute lessons at music school. With that out of the way, folk dancing followed closely by English. Then, at seventeen, something happened that radically changed her view of the world. She began to see that she could live this life, her life, her way. As she saw it, seventeen surrounded her with a weirdness from which nobody was immune. Everybody was getting into trouble. Her girlfriend Sveta, not picky about whom she slept with, got pregnant and delivered a kid. The father: who knew? Natasha, a friend from music school who played the violin – more fitting than the flute for a girl to play to her way of thinking – fell in love with the lead singer of a death metal band. He was a junkie. Natasha quickly got hooked on pain killers. Maia – ‘May’ in Russian – whose friends, seeing her coming, would tease her with “Look! It’s May Day!”, “No, not quite, but May’s definitely on its way!” – really only had one close friend, Lera. Lera was a real space cadet. She dressed in her grandmother’s clothes. She called it “her retro look”, accessorizing it with clunky, hand-made jewelry and that oh-so-casual approach to life of hers: drinking, and apparently enjoying, hearty burgundy; smoking cigarettes; and, from time to time before bed ‘to help her sleep’, marijuana. Maia, on whom pot had no discernable effect, struggled to imagine how much you’d have to inhale to get the double benefit that Lera reaped from the magical weed. Lera suffered from hypoperistalsis and swore that “a little pot gets me off the pot!” In school, Lera often also gave Maia ‘lessons’; bringing her esoteric literature and involving her in discussions about eternity, all while demonstrating her own facility for the enigmatic and the unknown. After absorbing each new recondite text, Lera, with a gift for exaggeration, (or so Maia thought), insisted that they had just read over what had been pretty much a description of her previous week. At university, the girls both signed up for journalism. Somewhere during their sophomore year Lera’s life-plan shifted. She quit drinking, smoking, and eating meat. She started working out – yoga – what else? thought Maia – though the reason for this shift soon became clear. One night Lera dragged Maia to some place she kept calling lila. Serhiy Romasenko, known in esoteric circles as Iskrirams and, later, Master Vishnu, was coming to Lugansk. By this time he’d already stopped being Romasenko but hadn’t yet settled on Vishnu. Lera wouldn’t explain where the girls were headed; she warned only that they’d have to stay overnight. “Lila’s a night thing,” Lera had said. Maia, living in the dorms and with her virginity intact under mom’s watchful eye, went along. Lila would take place at a kindergarten on the outskirts of the city. The street was littered with the anonymous and taciturn who, confronted by the girls’ question “where’s the kindergarten?” silently pointed the way. It was close on midnight and they all seemed to be in on it. All except Maia who, once they had finally found the place, wondered why ‘Modern Talking’ dance music would be blaring in a building that was supposed to be hosting a spiritual gathering. As they climbed the stairs – top floor? – Lera cautioned her not to be surprised by anything, but to go with the flow of experience. That sounded good to Maia: go with the flow. The room was draped in pink fabric and the floor covered in mattresses. Strings of Christmas tree lights and the trace of Indian incense completed the ensemble. Attendees occupied mattresses in the corners of the room. Girls in silver and gold leotards sat on stools. Lera explained that silver and gold help ‘keep the space’ better. “For whom?” Maia wondered. Lera nodded at a young man wearing a loose, red shirt and black leather pants and sitting near the loudspeakers and a floral bouquet. His eyes closely followed two of the girls in leotards who were now dancing on the mattresses. There was something wavelike, aquatic in their movements that didn’t quite fit with Dieter Bohlen’s recorded voice. Maia couldn’t find words for what happened next: Iskrirams started to dance. Was that the Argentinean porteño? Maia regretted, again, her folk dance classes. But the dancing wasn’t the issue, really. It was this indescribable feeling that things were getting real, gaining substance, getting all mixed up with the silver and golden dancing girls. Suddenly Iskrirams announced that the time had come to summon the presence of the inhabitants of the Pleiades and whoever felt ready should join in. Somebody switched the music to the Soviet pop sounds of ‘Sweet May.’ Things could not have been more absurd. This was no longer anything resembling a kindergarten; the rigid boundaries of reality had softened. Everyone, hesitantly at first, steadily joined in the fluid movements of the dancers, embracing and exchanging light, lingering caresses. Maia couldn’t watch. She was mortified when Lera silently took off her shoes and joined in the mattress dance. The place was turning into brothel. Maia wanted to run, but stopped herself. She asked herself: why? What’s so shameful? Who made you so uptight? She thought about her mother who fucked her father so timidly that Maia could hear his dissatisfaction through their apartment walls. Her mother; who viewed every boy who showed up at their door as a threat to her daughter’s virtue.
Maia was filled by the rush and the heat of knowing that she was about to cut her mother’s apron strings. She took off her shoes and started to dance. She closed her eyes and began moving in time to the music. At first she was embarrassed by all the hands lightly touching her, but this faded fast and she felt she could join in the touching. She opened her eyes momentarily and panic set in. Her conscious mind was screaming, “What the hell?” She was surrounded: smiling women in their fifties, regressing into their childhood, their flabby forms stuffed into ridiculous-looking silver leotards; cavorting, effeminate men twisting their features and swaying awkwardly in response to the music; teenage boys moving confidently, presumptuously. Maia wanted to run from lila and erase from memory what was happening to her in the kindergarten: this was simply degrading. Instead, she ignored the urge, closed her eyes and kept dancing, her unease slowly ebbing. Iskrirams, dissatisfied, turned off the music. He admonished them all: this was no disco. If you wanted that, then find one somewhere else. Here – in this place – it’s about ‘creating space.’ “Generating the essence of flight!” Maia was clueless, understanding nothing, wondering if anyone did. Little matter as the music came on again and the dancing continued. At some point Maia was enveloped by a sense of peace and calm that she’d not known previously. She saw herself as a toddler, fearing nothing, trusting everyone and everything. She felt like crying. It was heartbreaking to realize how little she trusted the world, how closed she was to new experience, and how hostile to others. Overwhelmed by shame and regret, she lost control and burst out crying. She wept like she had never done, even in childhood. Regret washed over her: for loving herself so little; for obeying so blindly everything her mother told her to do; for suppressing so completely all her own desires. She met full on the fact, the pain, that not only didn’t her mother like her, she had never really seen her as human. Maia’s anguish was so deep she thought she might never stop sobbing. She stood up quickly and went over to Iskrirams. “I hate my mother,” she said, looking into his eyes. “Then repeat this: ‘Lord Vishnu, reveal yourself in my mother,’” he answered her. Maia sat in a corner, chanting the line over and over, her resentment slowly lifting. She continued to sob off and on for a bit, but soon knew only an unusual sense of tranquility. Her inclination to argue boiled up and she began to dispute what she was feeling, had felt, in much the same way she would dispute with her mother. “Nothing but a crazy, hypnotic, sect,” or something like that, went racing through her head. The strength and desire to merge into a single organism with the dancing room had been flushed away. Maia coiled up on a mattress and went to sleep. She woke pre-dawn, frozen and badly needing to pee. Everyone was asleep on the mattresses, covered in wool blankets from the kindergarten storeroom. Lera and Maia were sharing a child-sized blanket that was ridiculously small for the two of them. “Where are you going,” Lera asked, awake now. “Home.” Two days later while walking around town, Maia came across an announcement for qigong classes. They were being held right near her apartment. Maia decided to go with the flow. She started attending, three times a week, instruction in an obscure Chinese system of healing. Interestingly, a man she had noticed at lila was also in her qigong group. After the second class, the man approached her and introduced himself. His name was Anatoly, he was thirty-five, and he worked as a security guard in a supermarket chain. He was unhappy with his life and spent most of his time spiritually searching. He had received enlightenment from the guru Sant Baljit Singh and dreamed of joining the Sevadar Sikhs. He sincerely hoped to join the spiritual community and devote his life to God. Maia and Anatoliy spent the whole evening walking around the neighborhood, chatting. They met twice more and then a third time when, in his apartment, she lost her virginity. His apartment was empty save a mattress and a few books by guru Sant Kirpal Singh lying nearby. Maia concluded she had nothing to fear from a man with three kinds of herbal tea in the cupboard and only vegetables and milk in the fridge. In addition, Anatoly, antithetical to her mother’s claims – undoubtedly the result of his rigorous spiritual discipline – was fastidious in both appearance and habit. He was also kind with her, childlike. So different from how he had appeared to her at the first qigong session where he had seemed so hard, unreachable. By their second meeting he had already begun to behave as if they were the same age. Maia sensed that over the course of their three meetings he had transformed himself into her slave and that by offering him her body, she only increased her authority over him. Her stubbornness ground away at her: the man was so damn nice that she wanted to be nice back. On the other hand, she understood it wasn’t obligatory to be kind; with Anatoly she could do as she pleased. Maia said nothing to her mother and, locking in on a successful personal relationship, moved into Anatoly’s apartment. Though the sex wasn’t great, (she’d read somewhere that only women who give
birth can achieve orgasm and that was persuasive enough for her), her emotional maturity had clearly been bumped up a notch. She felt what is was like to dominate somebody else’s feelings. It wouldn’t be accurate to say Maia had chosen this road. She preferred to think that things had happened on their own. She felt a kind of general, non-descript, yet protective good will toward her friend, though she hardly reckoned what they had as a deep, meaningful relationship. In fact, she rarely showed Anatoly her good will in any way that he could comprehend. On the contrary, whenever his mood was clearly inspired by her closeness or her beauty, she would act almost completely indifferently toward him. She recognized well enough the hell he was going through and she reveled in it; melding her pity for him with her power over him into that sweet elixir of supple, facile control of an inferior. The more she toyed with him, the more convinced he grew that his karma was impure, in need of redoubled spiritual exercise. The more he meditated, the more vulnerable he grew to her manipulations, the more painful her presence became. There was nothing to be done; she was utterly obsessed with the game. She would come home from the Institute, wait until Anatoly had come out of his afternoon meditation – he worked only once every three days – and then begin talking to him about their relationship. Anatoly would wax poetic about his love for her. Maia would respond – relishing every ironic moment, every cruel word – by demonstrating with cold precision the real distance that lay between them. He labored to melt her icy heart and she began to wonder what the point was in torturing a near-saint with childish pranks. In her contrite moments, she felt something like pure love for the man. He was, truly, an exceptionally bright and spiritual creature. That’s when the tears came to her. Anatoly would calm her, caress her and, inevitably, bed her. To Maia the sex felt like riding in a broken elevator; an experience to enjoy even if you didn’t fully grasp where it was headed. Other times the monotony of the act irritated her and Maia just endured, and waited for him to come, at which point she would slip away, and up, off the floor, running to the bathroom. This nearly drove him to tears every time. She could barely contain herself: the chance to play her favorite game twice in the space of a few thoroughlytolerable minutes. During their two months together, Anatoly had visibly begun to waste away and now matter how ponderous the bags under his eyes grew, he never failed to assure Maia that she was, to him, the personification of beauty and his ideal woman. The sex suffered. Just her being around negatively impacted his meditation. Anatoly grew sadder and more frustrated, yet never raised his voice to Maia knowing that the payback, the knife to the heart, would come. With greater frequency he began to recall, if almost in passing, the times when he had been able to meditate for four or five hours a day. His gloominess upset Maia and, in those moments, she would sit on his lap and hug him tightly, to lift his spirits. She herself wavered between free-floating anxiety and self-pity as it registered that her man was becoming semi-resistant to her attempts to comfort him. He had begun to remind her of an abused mutt that will shrink from a stranger’s hand even though it holds a treat. He talked too often about ‘straying from the spiritual path’ only to do an about-face and reach the well-worn conclusion that he would, in the end, devote himself to the full and worthwhile pursuit of life in the community. Maia caught on that his desire for her was waning, a thought that never failed to reduce her to tears. Nor did it fail to elicit affirmations from Anatoly that he loved her with every fiber of his being, and would never leave. Still, shortly after yet another extremely unpleasant episode that Maia was loathe even to recall, Anatoly came home one day holding some papers. He needed her passport, he said, because he wanted to put his apartment in her name. He was putting it in her name, he went on, because he had decided to rededicate himself fully to his secular / spiritual path. Maia didn’t believe a word of it and made a scene after which they both neither slept, nor attempted any step toward reconciliation. Maia held on to her passport, resistant to what she knew were just his empty words and childish impetuosity at work. Two days later, coming home a bit earlier from the institute, she met Anatoly in the doorway with his carry-all packed. Seeing her, he quickly turned to the kitchen where he grabbed his goodbye letter off the fridge. “You’re really leaving?” she asked. “Yes.” Maia was speechless. A sense of guilt – from where? – assaulted her. Anatoly was only doing what he’d planned on doing the whole time. What was there to feel guilty about? From her side, nothing, she rationalized. “Well, see you, I guess,” is what she said. What he said, though he had no strength to debase himself further by waiting for an answer from her, was, “I love you.” And then he left. Maia wanted to shout after him, at him, something, anything. She never saw and never heard from, or about, him again.
The hypertheories of Baudrillard for the Ukrainian artistic environment of the early 2000s have played a role of the peculiar stimulant, which equally with other substances is capable of strengthening the intensity of perception or provoking its fruitful mutations. In this sense Fatal Strategies can be read as an interesting comment to the whole section of Ukrainian contemporary art. Texts by Baudrillard started leaking into the Ukrainian intellectual community not so long ago, approximately from the beginning of 2000. During that time social reality underwent rapid transformations with the advent of market relations and long-awaited capitalism in post-soviet societies. ‘Fashion’, ‘advertising’, ‘pornography’, ‘media’, ‘commodity’ – all these characters of Baudrillard’s intellectual prose acquired their conceptual topicality in the local context more and more aggressively. Therefore no wonder that the theoretical constructs were met with special enthusiasm. But in some way it obscured the understanding that Baudrillard’s comment about reality of the consumer society in this context this reality substantially left behind. ‘Excessiveness’ and ‘satiety’ are some of the key concepts for Baudrillard. He operates them, equating unrestrained discursiveness of the information society with its incessant reproduction of signs and images to the economic superproductivity of modern capitalist economies. Parallelism in the description of economic, social and cultural processes is one of his favourite methods. Obviously, this method is not good enough for the analysis of post-soviet reality. However, as he asserts in his Simulyacra and Simulations, ‘a territory does not go before a map. From now on a map goes before a territory’. His idea of hyperreality, the environment of domination of signs deprived of their reviewers , ‘removed’ the gap between economic, social and cultural processes as no longer current, allowing to submerge in globalized media-space as in a new reality, one that everybody here really strived for. In Fatal Strategies Baudrillard says that the energy of idea is ‘cynical and amoral’: ‘a thinker, who submits only to the logic of concepts, sees not farther than his nose’. However, exactly here he sees the ‘omnipotence of idea as opposed to omnipotence of the real world – amoral energy, which breaks sense, which pierces facts, representations, acquired values and electrifies societies’. This stunning logic of Baudrillard’s concepts, more than his critical fervour, proved to be consonant to experience of his post-soviet readers. Through the prism of his texts a rapid development of ‘wild capitalism’, accompanied by proper media effects, acquired the Photo: cn.com.ua
text: Lesya Kul’chinska
‘amoral’ charm (or ‘seductiveness’, according to his terminology) of a fascinating adventure. Obviously, the attractiveness of ‘hypertheory’ of Baudrillard for the Ukrainian artistic community of the beginning of 2000th is explained by this phenomenon. Moreover, in comparison with previous works, this book, first published in 1983, transmits a sufficiently optimistic view of the situation. Here_ the object of his criticism is not public processes, but various theoretical discourses, from metaphysics to Marxism and psycho-analysis. Stating social disintegration or decadence of the political stage, Baudrillard also suggests to see the other sphere of possibilities. “Long before rebellions were political, they were rebellions of groups or individuals, oppressed in their desire, their energy or capabilities. Today there are not such rebellions. In our world, a rebellion became genetic. It is a rebellion of cells in cancer illnesses and metastases: unbridled vitality and undisciplined reproduction.” Of course, it’s rather an exclusively theoretical construction of an alternative prospect, which would allow to find out the space, insubordinate to any manipulations, to open the ‘silent’ or ‘salutatory’ ‘rebellion’ wherein Marxism, for example, states a submission. Certainly, such a prospect is attractive again first and foremost for an art, because it reserves for art a potential to articulate in various ways similar strategies of slipping out, or for art criticism, because it allows it to find out similar strategies exactly in artistic practices. On the whole, it’s more reasonable to examine this work as an invitation for an intellectual adventure or a game, rather than for analysis. Obviously, not by chance its Ukrainian translation is done by Leonid Kononovych, who is a man of letters, but not a philosopher or a cultural scientist. At the same time, while reading this undoubtedly fascinating, full of metaphors text today, it’s impossible not to think about the last events, for example, in Egypt, that is a convincing manifestation of actuality of a political action – impossible in the ‘modern world’ according to Baudrillard. The Egyptian revolution also demonstrates that the ‘modern world’ is not as homogeneous as it appears to be in the concerted theoretical constructions. It seems that the Ukrainian edition of Fatal Strategies appeared just in time. In fact a dissonance, as is generally known, owns an outstanding productive potential. Perhaps the reinterpretation of Baudrillard in the modern context will also open new prospects for the reflection of the Ukrainian situation.
text: Alexandra Kravchenko
t h e T o ta l i t y o f the Artificial Env i r o nm e n t W hile rejecting ‘ object worship ’ , U krainian designer O lga G romova creates perfectly understated , dandyish collec tions . H er main product is not clothes , interiors or events , all of which she does within the G romova D esign brand , but synthetic art performances disguised as fashion shows .
Gromova complicates the plain genre of the fashion show by adding light objects, video installations and performance. Her unique approach is significant not only for Ukraine: we know prêt-à-porter fashion, we know fashion-as-art, but what Gromova does is art-as-fashion. The contemporary art of ideas and concepts, not artefacts. What does your concept of ‘neo-design’ stand for? Neo-design is a total artificial environment that came to replace the natural environment, which does not exist anymore. I call this environment artificial or manmade, however it is a creation of not only hands, but also of brains and new technologies. Everything around us, all our material culture, is created by designers. Not only fashion designers, but also architects, engineers, and biotechnologists design the modern world. We all live surrounded by neo-design. However, the current global trend in design is organics. This ecological boom, this whole ecodesign is completely conceptual and just as
well artificial. All organic products, textiles and other objects that symbolize ecology are very costly and are difficult to produce in post-industrial society. Today they are the result of special design efforts and not something natural Can fashion and art be considered equal in this ultimate artificialness? The discussions on whether fashion can be equal to art have been there for a long time. My point is that fashion is not art and has nothing to do with it. However they both share the same source, which is inspiration and creativity. But very different things grow from this root, as fashion should be functional and comprehensible for consumers. There is no such requirement for art. Utility is a fundamental quality of fashion: a skirt must cover your bottom, a coat must keep you warm. Apart from that, the cyclic nature of fashion, its dynamics and pace make it go on sale every half a year and suggest new solutions, while art calls upon eternity. Still history of fashion and art share some very intimate points of contact. John Galliano,
who creates not fashion, but fairy tales; Hussein Chalayan with his conceptual and technologic masterpieces like dresses, which turn into trees or flowers right on the catwalk; Rei Kawakubo, who destroyed the female silhouette for art’s sake – these are people who have the right to ignore the canons of fashion. But on the other hand, when fashion comes that close to art, it stops being fashion by definition, contradicting itself. Then what is the origin of this overly seductive nature of fashion? There is a theory of the fashion matrix. The fashion industry is a brilliant conspiracy. The structure that forms our desires is manageable: we are being skilfully disturbed until a very strong desire to possess something engulfs us. I don’t know of any other industry to use this kind of mechanism of seduction. There’s no piece of art that is as much desired as a new Prada purse. Apart from that, the desire to own these artefacts of fashion obsesses countless people, maybe millions. This machine was created in the 1950s by clever Americans and has now evolved into a network of trend agencies
Olga Gromova. Miracle (Spring / Summercollection 2008 / 2009). 2008
For me fashion is a very suicidal desire to perish
peculiar organism, obsessed by a at the height of its glory
Olga Gromova. The Space of Symbols (Autumn / Winter collection 2009/2010)
that compute long-term projections and programme future trends. They estimate our wishes for five or even ten years in advance and with the help of mass media infect our collective consciousness with these ‘sweets of desire’. Way in advance we are trained not just to want something, but to become obsessed with it. This mechanism, which was originally built sixty years ago to stimulate the economy, has now become the metaphysics of fashion. In contemporary art there is such a thing as a ‘total installation’. In a similar way your fashion shows are ‘total performances’, where it seems that the clothes are not the stars of the show, but are subjected to the whole rhetoric of act. What exactly does fashion mean to you? For me fashion is a very peculiar organism, obsessed by a suicidal desire to perish at the height of its glory. And this is the very essence of fashion. Trapped in this incredibly limited six-month cycle, the organism of fashion is doomed to die and be reborn endlessly. I am trying to base my fashion performances according to this insight, each time creating a new story, which always has its origin in what has happened in the world and in my mind during the previous six months of the ‘fashion cycle’.
I am not interested in fashion as it is, in the sense of ‘rags’. I am interested in design, an ultimate fluid substance, which combines experiments, pursuits and the insolence of visual expression. In the context of design the construction of a dress can inherit the principles of architecture, while decorative cloth textures can be recreated in concrete or plaster in interiors. Each collection is preceded by a concept, the shaping of a new story, in which the clothes play an equally important role as the soundtrack, the director’s vision and the stage design. In October 11, in Kyiv, we will see a project you are doing with curator Kostyantyn Doroshenko. It is called Fatal Strategies and is dedicated to the first Ukrainian translation of an eponymous text by Jean Baudrillard. Where did the idea to combine fashion, art and a classic text of by a French philosopher come from? For both of us the translation of one of the key works by Baudrillard into Ukrainian is an important social and cultural precedent. This must be recognized by society because when the national dialogue discourse gets this sort of injection of contemporary ideas, which articulate modernity, it keeps it fresh and up to date. Naturally, this book was written in 1983, so it won’t become a discovery for intellectuals. However, we
must celebrate when ideas, which are basic in the global cultural context, penetrate society through national language. This is a significant occasion. By the way, this text by Baudrillard has not yet been translated into Russian. Which of Baudrillard’s ideas inspire you as a fashion designer? One of Baudrillard’s main subjects is sexuality being exclusively inherent in what is mortal. He talks of two paradigms: the sexual is born, is engaged in sexual interaction and dies, as opposed to the asexual clone, metastasis, network – all of which is selfreproductive and immortal in its nature. This has a lot in common with many phenomena in contemporary art. Particularly, Damien Hirst, who restores the idea of death as an indispensable constituent of life and sexuality in European consciousness. This is what our project is about in the first place. The modern crisis of art is that it’s being turned into a semblance of fashion – the product of cloning the narrow, politically correct and comfortable sense. Doroshenko and me, we want to show that art, despite the dominance of these engineered trends, can burst out to life-asserting destruction, to the very existence. And we want to do it by means of fashion, which seems to be a perfect bearer of the cloning paradigm.
Olga Gromova. 271 (Autumn/Winter collection 2008 / 2009). 2008
the modern crisis of art is that it’s being turned into a semblance of fashion – the product of cloning the narrow, politically correct and comfortable sense
Fashion designers often dedicate their collections to literary characters, icons of cinema or famous dandies, but you, as far as I know, are the first designer who is about to create a collection inspired by a postmodern philosopher. What will the first ever Baudrillard-inspired collection be like? The collection will only become a single phrase in a complex artistic statement. It is by no means illustrative. Regarding the level of design solutions, stylistic approaches and selected fabrics and textures, this collection will be in line with the traditions of the Gromova Design brand. The very dedication to the idea of fatal strategies will be revealed during the show. According to this idea, neither the probability theory nor the event determination theory works in this world. Only fatal things remain and become phenomena in fashion, art and certainly in life. Invasion into the territory of contemporary art is a significant aspect of your creative style. Making a fashion show you used to collaborate with artists, particularly media-artist Ivan Tsyupka. In contemporary culture, you cannot create something outside the engagements with the realm of art. Together with Ivan Tsyupka we have worked on three shows. Since McQueen’s fashion performances, using video at fashion shows has stopped being revolutionary, but he himself was inspired by modern opera stage design, particularly in Covent Garden. The medium in and of itself is not important, what is important is the effect. Not the influence of images by some artists, but new imagery, which constitutes this influence. Of course, if any new imagery is created. Surreal video installations showing mushrooms with neon lips, reciting texts in English [editor’s note: stage design for Gromova’s Spring / Summer 2009 show] turned out to be very technically difficult to execute in Ukraine, and only Tsyupka could manage to get the job done. Another joint project was inspired by the works of Swiss horror artist Rudolf Giger, who gave birth to the monster in the Alien movie.
In which way does contemporary art influence your work? Contemporary art permanently influences my creative process and it is sometimes impossible to trace in which way an idea is echoed in a collection. One of the latest impressions have been the works of Marsha Smilack from a project entitled Aut: Neurodiversity shown in Kyiv and curated by Koan Jeff Baysa from New York. Marsha was able to convey the Weltanschauung of a synaesthete, i.e. a person who ‘sees’ the colours of sounds. For me the ability to grasp the moment in a static picture leaving it with a breath of life is outstanding. Because usually visual art turns a moment into a herbarium or a monument – something dead, however beautiful. In general, contemporary art images and sounds are the building blocks of my world, my comfort zone. My collections are probably quite heavy because my approach is very academic. Before creating a product I delve deep into a subject. Today in fashion everything is light and superficial – not a kiss, but merely a touch. For me fashion will always remain a kiss, a French kiss. One of the landmark phenomena of modern culture, which Baudrillard just had not time to speak about, is glamour. Baudrillard wrote in Fatal Strategies that modern society is entirely hyperbolized, excessive and pornographic: pornographic politics, media and sexuality. Glamour is pornography of fashion and style. Style passes through phases of conception, development and degradation. Glamour is a symptom of style’s degradation, its last stage before decline, when it reaches hyperintensity. Here we can recall another creator of the postmodernist conceptual framework, Achille Bonito Oliva, who spoke of mannerism not just as a phenomenon in Italian art of the last days of the Renaissance, but also as being inherent to cultural cycles. Our mannerism emerged in the 1980s, but has reached its culmination now, in the concept of glamour. For me glamour is also a sign that a new, pure style is about to be born. I can’t wait for that to happen.
T he S Y N group is a U krainian art duo , which combines the creative potentials of J ulia K ovalevskaja and E vgenie T chernyshev. T he artists work with new media and see themselves as ‘ artists of the future ’ , because they are engaged in synthesis of modern art and experimental q uests .
The etymology of the name SYN (from the ancient Greek word ‘synthesis’) reminds us that the occurrence of something new in this world presupposes a combination of already existing ideas/phenomena/objects. The group was established in 2008 and since then it has already carried out a number of peculiar projects in Ukraine and abroad. In 2009, their project Photosynthesis was among the twenty best Ukrainian projects, which were nominated for the premium for the PinchukArtCenter Prize for young artists. Photos of mirror reflected-plants, which were given symmetry peculiar to all creatures, brought spectators into an almost meditative state and sent them to those sources of perception of the world, when people spiritualized the nature and were able to communicate with it at an intuitive level. Using new technologies, SYN searches the way of transformation of existing art categories correspond to time and space. In their opinion, art is still the way of search of harmony with objective reality in the modern world. Their next project, Flamma Intus (2009, Kiev, Bolshaja Zhitomirskaja street), represented an architectural composition of white pyramids against the background of the natural landscape of the Ancient Kiev reserve. The perfectly shaped art objects, which uttered snoring and sounds of wild animals, became Photo: SYN
a symbol of modern civilization, being in the state of dreaming. It is no coincidence that the project took place in the Ancient Kiev reserve. It is a symbolical territory with a view of the three historical mountains named in honour of the founders of the Ukrainian capital, Kiy, Shchek and Khoryv. Striking experiments with light were shown in the project Enlightenment (2009, Kyiv, PinchukArtCenter). By means of a laser beam dynamic three-dimensional images were projected in full darkness in front of the viewers, which were meant to wake the intui-tive perception of modern audiences overloaded by virtual experience of communication with the world. In the project Files of Time (2010, Kyiv, Art Arsenal) artists used anthracite, one of the ancient coal formations, in which trees and grass found new life, growing on the territory of Ukraine 300-400 million years ago. In Biological Evolution (2010, Kyiv, Institute of Contemporary Art) SYN used ‘art of action’ by punching foamboard, visualizing ‘imprints’ of human energy. In 2011, the group plan to carry out a number of new projects on unexpected art grounds of Ukraine and abroad. Follow the information on www.everysyn.com.
The project focuses on the slag heap, the typical symbol of the Donetsk landscape
Donetsk Slag Heap
text: Liya Guguchiya
D onetsk cultural centre I Z O LY A T S I A was created a year ago on the basis of a failed soviet plant manufacturing insulation materials [ editor ’ s note : the U krainian / R ussian word ‘ izolyatsia ’ means both ‘ isolation ’ and ‘ insulation ’ ] . T his project envisages the formation of a contemporary art centre , a territory of modern art, constant creative contact and discussions .
IZOLYATSIA is location is truly ‘isolated’. It is situated on the industrial outskirts of Donetsk, in an area called particularly depressed. The centre operates on the basis of the international charity foundation IZOLYATSIA. A Platform for Cultural Initiatives headed by Liubov Mykhailova, a collector of Donetsk industrial art and daughter of the plant’s former chief engineer, Ivan Mykhailov. The institution works in three directions: art projects formed in dialogue with the IZOLYATSIA space and the Donetsk region, educational programmes and cultural projects aimed at working with the public. The first project of the art centre was the art residency programme IZOLYATSIA 2.0 in October 2010, which was represented by the Berlin curator Adam Nankervis, a member of the Biennale in Los Angeles (2001) and Liverpool (2004), already known in Ukraine for the exhibition Albatross Nest at the Art Arsenal (2009). As part of the art project were presented the visions of the present of those, who had been working for several weeks in the factory art department. Among them were already well-known young Ukrainian artists such as David Chichkan, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Yuri Pikul, Apl315 and Hamlet Zinkovskyi. The exhibition was based on the interaction of installation, street art and painting, connected into one piece with the industrial architecture and the environment. In April, IZOLYATSIA became the first Ukrainian initiative to join the Trans Europe Halles network, which unites more than 50 independent European cultural centres. One of the first steps of the project is to give a new lease of life to the deserted building and the area close to its territory, which recently has been more appropriately determined as a ‘dump’. The work of British architects Krists Ernstsons and Rick Rowbotham focuses on the slag heap, the typical symbol of the Donetsk landscape. These formations, which resemble a volcano, are composed of waste coal products. They can begin burning suddenly, the temperature on the inside can exceed 1000 C°, and most of them were flooded for security measures. As an artefact filled with historic and symbolic meaning the slag heap is a perfect platform for artistic initiatives. Rick Rowbotham, landscape architect and designer of urban spaces with more than 30 years of experience, is one of the founders of FoRM Associates, an architectural studio, the work of which has been selected as one of the eight best improvement projects for the central area of Kyiv for Euro 2012. For Krists Ernstsons, still quite a young architect, IZOLYATSIA is the first large-scale project.
According to the design of architects, the inconspicuous dead area around the grey concrete box (former cinder block shop with huge piles) will become a green oasis with the art gallery forming a recreation area for the residents of the city. Landscaping, planting, water drainage and enrichment of the flora will make this area a place where people feel comfortable and can engage in art activities. The reconstruction is supposed to be completed by midsummer 2011. At the opening of the new IZOLYATSIA, the organizers plan to show Donetsk inhabitants a digital short film and present a music project. Also, the foundation plans to invite famous Russian land-artist Nikolay Polisky who will convert the slag heap into Mount Olympus. Then the art centre will show the exhibition of the French video art group AntiVJ, the South African photographer Robin Rod and a large exposition of paintings and photos devoted to industrial sites. In summer, the IZOLYATSIA foundation will hold an Artists in Residence programme entitled Partly Cloudy, in which eight photographers from different countries will take part. They will have to trace the history of the urban environment and give it a definition by their photos. According to the organizers’ vision, the art ground IZOLYATSIA should be not only an exhibition centre, but also a venue for creative meetings, workshops, lectures and international conferences. The very first conference, Cultural Conversion: A New Life of the Industrial Past, was held in September 2010. The conference programme consisted of few, but thorough reports by practitioners of European cultural conversion programmes. It was attended by Dieter Gorny, director of the project European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010; Ulrich Borsdorf, head of the Zeche Zollverein museum (Germany), which used to be the mining and ore-dressing ‘Zollverein’ and now has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Eric Baker, the head of Trans Europe Halles; and also the curator of ‘the First Ural Industrial Biennale’, the famous art critic, expert of Ukrainian art, and supervisor of the exhibition of young Ukrainian artists Yakshcho [If] in Perm (Russia) Ekaterina Degot. Although it is not the first time for a former factory to be converted into an art space in Ukraine (e.g., the Art Arsenal), this time the scale is larger. The scope of the project comprises landscape work, planting of the slag heap, and commissioning of foreign architects. This project should absorb the best experience of the Western contemporary art centres.
text: Denis Bortnikov
Ukrainian cultural and art centres on the basis of historical monuments usually have the format of an open-air museum. Most of these complexes leave only a feeling of dead, conserved history. The visitor remains just a visitor. Or he becomes a listener of the museum monologue. Recently on the initiative of researchers and sponsors, complexes have been created that are able to hold a conversation with a guest. These ethnographic and cultural centres demonstrate their history through preparing dishes traditional for the region, conducting ceremonies, and providing workshops on age-old handicrafts.
the first floor there is a cafe, where you can treat yourself to delicious coffee and where coffee wedding ceremonies are held. The second floor serves as a small history museum of the Crimean Tatars. Here you can take a look at the unique model of the medieval Kezlev, which at the time of its prosperity had all the prerequisites to become the capital of the Crimean Khanate. After signing the treaty between the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 15th century the large fortress was built. It had five gates with central gate considered to be the Odun Bazaar Qapusi.
One of the few such ‘natural’ complexes is the Crimean Odun Bazaar, a copy of the central gates of Kezlev (modern-day Yevpatoria). After the reconstruction, which lasted four years, in 2007 the monument has got a new lease of life and soon has become one of the major ethno-cultural centres of Crimea.
The gates remained standing for 400 years, and in 1959 they were simply demolished. From the gates in the ‘Wood Market’ only the remnants of walls are left, bricked up in a modern bakery plant.
According to the draft, the copy of the gates has three floors. On the ground floor, in the miraculously saved original wall of the gates you can see unique Crimean pottery, dating from the 15th century. On
The complex is not only an ethnographic and historical centre, it also has an artistic mission. It hosts exhibitions by Crimean and Ukrainian painters and artists. It has already featured work by graphic artist Ramiz Netovkin, black-and-white artist and iconographer Guri Nikitin, and painter Nouri Yakubov. In the cafe you can see the works
C u lt u r a l a n d Ethnographic Centre Odun Bazaar 1 3 A K a r a e v S t. , Y e v pat o r i a , A u t o n o m o u s Republic of Crimea w w w. o d u n - b a z a r . c o m
of Crimean artist Zarema Trasinova and earthenware of ceramist and researcher of Crimean ceramics Rustem Skybin. The complex is also a venue for seminars and presentations. The restaurant is where traditional dishes of the Crimean Tatars are prepared, as well as different rituals and ceremonies are held. The initiators of the reconstruction were representatives of the Crimean Tatar community led by Dilara Yakubova. In 2003, the preparatory work began directed at the restoration of the historical and cultural monument: photos, aerial surveying of 1911 and an expedition of the Crimean branch of the Institute of Archaeology were involved. To create the authentic copy of the gates it was important to use appropriate materials Photoes: Odun Bazaar
from which the entrance had been built four centuries ago. The project participants gathered the remains of the original stone plates in the vicinity and neighbouring villages, because the required type of stone had not been fired for a long time. Moreover, the arches of stone blocks, which were found in the village Tashke, had to carved with a saw from the Historical Museum, because modern ones proved powerless. The restoration of Odun Bazaar by efforts of the Crimean Tatar community demonstrates that this ethnic group keeps its own history and successfully integrates it into contemporary society.
The complex is not only an ethnographic and historical centre, it also has an artistic mission. It hosts exhibitions by Crimean and Ukrainian painters and artists.
V inny R eunov is U krainian artist, who become well - known in the 1 9 8 0 s , when , together with O leg T istol , he wrote an art- manifesto entitled ‘ V olitional V erge of the P ost- national E clecticism ’ , which proclaimed a national discourse as a main topic for artists ’ creative venture and suggested reinvention of art language , art traditions and the very fundamentals of painting . S ince then , R eunov lived and prospered in M oscow and L ondon , working as an artist and curator and conducting numerous artistic projects .
Now Vinny Reunov lives and works in Kyiv, prefers to be called a ‘widely unknown evolutionary artist’, and is currently engaged in an advanced artistic research of a contemporary ‘media universe’. His painting set Culture Recycle is about mixing up media, signs and experimenting with percept-conceptual techniques. In this text, Vinny Reunov talks about his recently invented cultural novelty - cineprintography, mixedmedia-art-project, which was created specially for Cannes Film Festival. Cineprintography Imagine the instant of the move, the shortest movie ever seen, a film poster that’s equivalent to the film. Cineprintography is a still movement manifesto which converts the media of functional representativeness of printing into the decorative hi-tech-display-on-the-wall narrative. The idea is printing the film poster from the image of the oil painting which depicts the magazine cover / film poster primary design version, with all text titles as the subject of an abstract ornamental visual art language. This is a cutting edge of the latest development in the art-representational display tactic, which blends the phantom of mass media with the tradition of an old masters’ oil paintings and perceptconceptual innovations practice. That is a significant act of merging the market of commercial consumption with the exclusive values of art. Photoes: Vinny Reunov
Painting ARTnews Esquire (296 x 204 cm, oil on canvas) blends the primary oppositions of artistic language – the continuity - momentum, the sophistication - simplicity, the still life - movement. It animates the static desire for the creative emotional fulfillment. People are disposed to so-called ‘intelligent perception’ – we are able to see only something we know of already. Cineprintography presents the rated expressive power to the viewer. It delegates the high-art exclusive status to the mass audience. When the viewer sees what looks like a magazine cover, he actually is looking at the conceptual exclusive ‘made only for you’ art-work. Cineprintography project aims to present aesthetic value of multiplied media as the subject of personal choice. Cineprintography employs media brand logos as part of the visual language of the art-work to broadcast commonplace culture on the eternal art-history frequencies. This project and ideas it conveys have a potential of the great influence on the global community, its every day life course. Covers of the magazines, together with the out door adverts and other creative products of a printing and advertising industry gives its code to create a new form of art representation novelty - a cineprintography. Cineprintography project creates an additional exclusive-art approach standards for the common printing production processes. But the potential number of the viewers makes it closer to cinematography, as it is available for everyone.
P hoto project of S ergey S apozhnikov and A lexey S almanov, filmed in M arch 2 0 0 9 in the U krainian town S hargorod , is published for the first time on the pages of â€œ U krainian C ulture â€?
Return to Shargorod
text: Mariya Khrushchak
Forgotten by all gods the Ukrainian town of the 16th century – is the side of the world where time has stopped somewhere in 1960-s, when the native people began to leave Shargorod, mostly the Jews and the Poles. They were moving in the direction of the Soviet megalopolises, and later on – the capitals of other countries. At the time Shargorod was a serious advanced post of the Polish Kingdom and belonged to the Lithuanian princes and Polish magnates. In 1588 the city received Magdeburg Rights. In 17th century the Turks called it Little Istanbul. Today about 6000 people live in Shargorod and few of them are hoping at least once in a lifetime to visit the capital of their country, not speaking about others. We learned about Shargorod when its former resident and the current Moscow scientist and philanthropist Alexander Pogoryelsky decided to make his native town ‘shocked’ – to organize on its territory an international art festival that during 2006 – 2009 had gathered art stars of Ukraine, Russia and not only. The initiative worked very powerful: the first project Art-town: Shargorod was visited by photographers Boris Mikhailov and Sergey Bratkov, artists Oleg Tistol and Mykola Matsenko, Alexander Hnilitsky and Jeanne Kadyrova, Victoria Behalska and Anna Broshe, artists from Uzbekistan, Germany and Belgium. Also philosophers and artists Dmitry Gutov, Anatoly Osmolovsky and Harry Lehmann. The project literally stepped into the age calm of the town. The area of artistic expansion became an old synagogue, school, palace of culture, sugar mill and the streets of Shargorod – the artists drew not only on canvases but also on all vertical surfaces of the town: shops, kiosks, fences. Some works created here were represented at the exhibitions in Kiev, Moscow and Venice. In order to live in this town for 10 days (the time available to the residents) a person needs very strong nerves – the territory long ago swallowed by History, does amazing things with the modern man. There, where there is no usual rhythm and dynamics, the sense of self and the world changes. You find yourself in the area where the past serves as a radiative background. Each project in Shargorod experimented on the residents as well as on artists, for whom such a ‘falling out’ the usual context became a kind of probation of the perception of the world and self-consciousness. Postindustrial society has made ‘mutants’ of us as well as once Chernobyl and Fukushima, exhaust gases, steady stream of advertising and social network. But there are things to which our archetypal memory Photoes: Alexey Salmanov
gives response; that shows simple as doors and transparent as the day things. Return – is the theme of photo project of Sergey Sapozhnikov and Alexey Salmanov – a challenge the spirits of the past and anticipation of the new, the conversation one-on-one about the achievements and something torn away in one’s own life, awareness of loss and finding the meanings of the future is pain and cleaning. Photographing of Sergey Sapozhnikov and Alexey Salmanov lasted for several days on the sugar mill territory and its surroundings with cut down for firewood aged trees. The project is a landmark not only for Ukraine, where the provincial towns became uninhabited and are as empty as Shargorod, but also for the Ukrainian photography that still remains one of the less popular arts in the country. This project created on the territory of contemporary art – is an example of a new vision of photography as the possible synthesis of the new-fashioned picturing, which is now actively developing the similar texture and colorful solutions of the composition reportage mechanisms and author approach to staging (every frame – is a separate state of strain or of a complete tranquillity, worth spacious essay). The main character of the project, in whom Alexey Salmanov transformed – the man who returns home from the big city. (The author of photo- and graffiti-installations and compositions with draperies in the frame – is Sergey Sapozhnikov. Both were born in Rostov-on-Don; A. Salmanov lives and works in Kiev, S. Sapozhnikov – in Rostov-on-Don and Moscow.) The hero finds himself in a world which his memory, it seems, has supplanted long ago. But the return becomes the fatal step that awakens not only the despair of losses, but also finding the roots – home, factory, where our hero worked a certain number of years, forever engraved topography in the memory that arouses those deep memories which reach the times staying in the mother’s womb. And if photography, as Susan Sontag once formulated – is ‘impartiality, going beyond good and nasty’, then this project for the Ukrainian photography– is not just a proof of the existence of beauty where it can no longer exist, but also the prevision of harmony and peace where seemingly long ago death and emptiness reign. Strange, thrilling physicality of Return provokes quite confused feelings – fatality coexists alongside with the hope here and the decline is a step towards coming out on the new horizons of Ego sensation. Having survived and reinterpreted its past in excess of the pain of loss, catharsis is the sun rays present on almost all the photos of Return.
You find yourself in the area where the past serves as a radiative background.
The project is a landmark not only for Ukraine, where the provincial towns became uninhabited and are as empty as Shargorod, but also for the Ukrainian photography that still remains one of the less popular arts in the country.
текст: Автор Авторович
Michael Murphenko 76
May 19 – June 26 Tsekh Gallery, 69 Frunze Str., Kyiv tel.+ 380 44 5911369 www.zeh.com.ua
текст: Автор Авторович
До спецвипуску увійшли: інтерв’ю із зіркою сучасного мистецтва Азії Лі Санданем, який минулого року представляв в Національному художньому м...
Published on Jun 7, 2011
До спецвипуску увійшли: інтерв’ю із зіркою сучасного мистецтва Азії Лі Санданем, який минулого року представляв в Національному художньому м...