how cultural people survive in non-profit environments
zhanna kadyrova: uniting commercial and non-profit art initiatives
all you need to know about contemporary arts in Ukraine
NO MONEY for artists
s our financial systems go through roller coaster gyrations, so too does the monetary health of museums, galleries, auction houses, as well as the prices of individual painting and sculptures. Contemporary art trends then, as described in the press and blogs, are increasingly related to the economy - rather than to the validity, authenticity or originality of the artworks. In some galleries that cater to the newly-rich, you might say, artistic integrity be damned. When a piece of art costs a lot, it becomes a status symbol, so it must be great art. Therefore, one new trend might be: Costly Art equals Great art and vice versa. First issue of ClIQUE is about those humans who donâ€™t make a lot of money making arts and art-related activities. Art-critic Yuliya Volfovska explored contemporary art stage of Odessa and you can check all the trends and new fresh names. Yulia says the scene is next to no diverse â€“ almost 90% of artistic institutions are represented by the commercial galleries which make money by selling pieces referencing the Southern Russian artistic manner, occasionally the original pieces themselves. American young art expert Roman Petrunyak shows the solutions for young artists who want to start their own projects together with Garage Gang and artist Zhanna Kadyrova shows how to unite commercial art activities together with crazy and creative initiatives as Lab Garage. Enjoy the first issue of CLIQUE and have a great New Year! Natalia Marianchyk
is an inclusive group of people who share interests, views, purposes, patterns of behavior, or ethnicity. Membership in a clique is typically exclusive, and qualifications for membership may be social or essential to the nature of the clique. The term 'clique' may be used pejoratively.A clique can be both positive and negative.
COVER STORY Non-profit life, or how cultural people survive in non-profit environments p. 6-9
ART EXPLORER The Art for Art Sake. Short chronicle of ZZ1 festival p. 10-11 Dead or Alive? – Art of the Young in Odessa p. 12-17
CALENDAR Your January guide for galleries in Ukraine p. 18-23 ART DEVICES Special devices to smoke the weed p. 24-25
„Manhattan” of plastic – Kharkiv native residing in Odessa graphical artist Albina Yaloza is in possession of unique linocut printmaking technique – there is no linocut school in Odessa
ART DEVELOPMENT Smart solutions for participatory cultural policies. Ideas for Ukraine by American art expert Roman Petrunyak p. 26-35 ART CROWD Zhanna Kadyrova: Uniting commercial and non-profit art initiatives p.36-39 Lab Garage: to be continued p. 40-41 ART STORY Story about poor Kyiv artist Vlad with no money and many ideas p. 42-43
or how cultural people survive in non-profit environments
on Profit employees, who are involved in creative and artistic activities, generally do not receive compensation for their work. This is most common in entry level positions. As time goes by, and experience is gained, these employees are often recognized for their contributions, and achievements. This scenario is often consistent with artists, musicians, poets, and critical writers. An investment of countless hours and intellectual effort is required to produce creative work. Prior to starting a creative project, one must prepare mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. Proper planning measures must be taken to avoid hardships, and obstacles that could hinder you from achieving your goals. Thatâ€™s why when you think about non-money for travelling
commercial project, you think not only about its actuality and content, you also think about your own infrastructure that gives you the freedom to complete this project.
Do what you feel ! So is it really worth it, to begin a project that will never become profitable? If yes, then why? I asked Marysya Nikityuk, creator and editor-in-chief of Internet resource teatre.com.ua, why she decided to create a website, invest her time, money and energy, knowing that there is no opportunity for monetary gain. First of all, there are not many options for employment within Ukrainian job market for Marysya. She has acquired two degrees â€“ one in journalism and another one in theatre critics.
7 Vacancies that can be found today in Kyiv require additional experience (in marketing, law etc) or Marysya has to work hard for a very small salary in bad conditions. For example, it took her half of a day to get to work in “24” newspaper and in “Top 10” magazine it was really hard to explain why she wants to write something non-commercial for the director of the company. Today Marysya is kind of luxurious employee being a theatre critic in Ukraine. Marysya’s website gives her opportunities to share her ideas, and provide knowledge of creative writing techniques. Marysya website is focused primarily on Theater. She is never depressed and she never asks herself what to do. She becomes more professional and she becomes famous in artistic circles, and sometimes she can be offered an article for Moskow theatre website, but for money. This money, for sure, is not enough for living. “My parents help me, - says Marysya, - they believe I am a good art critic, journalist and future drama writer. They support my initiatives. My friends who know my situation can invite me to the café or restaurant and pay for me. I am a professional ushu player and I provide ushu lessons for children. Even with all of extra duties, I don’t earn enough. I also learned Japanese and sometimes I organize tours for Japanese tourists. This work is more situational and less permanent”. Marysya doesn’t have a financially stable life but she is happy there are also photographers and editors
who contribute for her project for free. “I am not sure about tomorrow, but I am more than sure that all that energy I put into this website will come back to me - if with the money, then with something else. People are grateful while working with me, I have a lot of new fresh emotions, I can attend interesting events and I feel that I like what I do. My website saves me from depression”. Such kinds of activities help people in self-identification, give status, fame and it’s a good excuse for someone’s professional interests. Non-commercial cultural blogs and websites are some kind of alibi and you don’t feel you are doing nothing. The same time it’s an instrument for self-determination, for the research of the right way. For Ukrainian realities it is generally like that because we are only starting to learn how to get grants for non-commercial initiatives and how to create successful grant projects. Art critic and blogger from Warsaw Agata Pyzik wants to have freedom for writing the articles and being together with her boyfriend who lives in London: “I try to save the money on clothes and furniture and stuff like that. I don’t buy the books because I get them for free. I use all the advantages of Internet – I read googlebooks. I spend most of my money for travelling and I always look for the best money-saving solutions. I must have money for tickets to London (where my boyfriend Owen lives) and still pay my rent in Poland. I don’t even think about consuming. I can’t imagine my life being as-
cover story sociated with what I want to buy. The main source of my income is freelance writing. Still this work is very difficult – it is really hard for a freelancer to apply for contributions”.
I spend most of my money for travelling and I always look for the best moneysaving solutions Agata says that she was living with her parents until the age of 24 and she didn’t have to pay rent at that time. When she started living on her own she had to reshape everything to provide more money for herself: “At the beginning when I started to write I was 21 and it was a completely different profit and I was just extremely happy to have anything published. I felt appreciated and it was part of my studies. I had privileges - free education program in Warsaw and time to invest only into intellectual development”. Now Agata is 27. She doesn’t have a permanent job with a medical insurance, but she has a lot of friends and ideas, good contacts on the personal and official levels. Most of the heroes for articles she finds via Internet thanks to blogs and then meets with characters. Her life is an unexpected one: “I am not the one who wants my life to look like this and this and this. I am completely opened”.
Agata met her boyfriend also thanks to Internet: “I started writing for an internet publication in London which is in English. There I met my boyfriend. But I don’t want to move to London because I feel responsible for the situation in Poland. It is very dynamic and there are so many things I want to participate in. I still see my career in a Polish atmosphere. We use the Internet as an infrastructure for ourselves. We try to support each other as best as we can. For instance, I managed to show his work (because he is a successful architect writer) to the Polish institutions and they started to invite him and vice versa”. When you are young, you have a lot of energy and no family life responsibilities. You join trendy parties, have crazy endless night talks about sense of life, you make your brave ideas true. But when you want to make a family, you often have to make the choice – get a stable serious job, make your art a commercial craft or go on with your creative things without any security. Berlin artist Martin Kaltwasser suggests the alternative solution. His life example shows life out of social structures and motivators. His wife, Folke Koeberling, is also an artist and they have two children. “We started our family life with almost no money. But we never stopped being artists, never stopped being creative. We put all our energy into our life as artists – and our children have been included completely in our artistic life. From the very beginning, we took active part in
9 independent artists’ networks. In our studio, in the independent, interdisciplinary Berlin art scene. As artists, we are always “working”: getting the input, relaxing, leisure time, time to clean the brain, transformation of the input, getting ideas, making artworks. Life is artwork. In order to live as a family only from making art we have to focus. Especially that our art is not produced for the art market and commercial galleries. We know that we can only survive if we put 100% of our effort, power and concentration into the making of art. But this includes leisure time, family time and social time as well”.
We started our family life with almost no money. But we never stopped being artists Kaltwasser and Koeberling pragmatically minimized their expenses – no car, no new furniture, almost no holidays, no TV, no consumer electronics, no pets, no new interior designing, no dining in restaurants, no fashion, no expensive art material, extreme controlling of all budgets was necessary to survive. They practice do-it-yourself on all levels. All their furniture is self-built – no design; but it fulfills all the functional needs. They buy the best tools and the best food for home-cooking. They have a rich, vivid social life. This family works in an independent art sphere, they do
what they like and they like what they do, like Joseph Beues liked to say. “Our neighborhood consists of architects, designers and computer specialists. They live more the life of car driving, seasonal holidays, commuting-work-commuting, fashion consumption, possession. Without the car and holidays, but with open doors for everybody and our kitchen as a halfcommon space, we are the living embodiment of the anti-thesis to their way of life” - says Martin. For Martin his work is not a punishment, it is an occupation. His activity is an enriching and productive one; a funny thing, resembling laziness and sex, or playing music. He, together with his wife Folke, organize their time in such a way so that they could be close to children all the time. They meet friends and have leisure time whenever they want and need it. In the modern world, work is still the means of exploitation, and labor is alienated. But cultural workers are figuring out how a self-determined, selfcontrolled, rich work-life balance can look like and many of them are already successful. You just need to know when to say “no” and how much freedom this “no” will bring to you Natalia Marianchyk Sources: www.koebberlingkaltwasser.de www.teatre.com.ua http://www.wuw2009.pl
Doing Bar place from nothing using scotch and old trashy wall
The art for art sake?
here’s a tendency which is observed over the last couple of years – Ukrainian art became too trashy. Young Ukrainian artists are lazy, considering the Process of Creating the art itself. It’s not that important what they’re doing, as they are doing at least something. The best way to get rid of trash – throw it away. But here, in Ukraine one can see a lot of such “art” in famous local galleries. Besides there’re several art festivals meant to be the festivals of contemporary art, though in fact are trash art festivals. Still, sometimes trashy art can be funny. If it (at least) entertains – it’s not that bad. If not – it’s bad at all.
Festival of art of positive thinking There’s annual art festival called ZZ1 – ZixZixOne which is held on 4,5,6 of December. This festival can be called experimental – there’re no definite place and program. What is more it has a unique absurd spirit. Festival’s concept is a possibility to participate in any kind of art activity and express yourself. Orginizers are called an Honorable Members of ZZ1’s
Order and have self-proclaimed titles: Baron Von Boden, Herzog Der Maksen and Earl Der Pashen. Last festival ZZ1 2011 was held in bomb shelter which now serves as gym for boxers. The experiment was to organize the art festival in 10 days. For such short time organizers were supposed to find the place, the artists, musicians – all the people who want to create or participate. Of course, 10 days is very short term for organizing any average art festival. Nevertheless, they did it. This year there weren’t any new names or works. But it was a good looking trashy happening, like a very private party. On a contrary, two years ago the Festival was held in hippy-looking Lavra Gallery: an open air territory with couple of garages and a duplex-type house. There were a lot of art performances, exhibitions, concerts like Dakha Brakha and Perkalaba (which both are true friends of the ZZ1 festival). What is the art value of such festivals, are there any? That’s the most controvercial question about ZZ1 and other similar art events. Generally, it’s trash or partial trash with glimpses of something already recognized. On the other hand there’re a few of people who consider such art fresh or futuristic Viktoria Vasilchenko
Dead or Alive? â€“ Art of the Young in Odessa Handing over the baton: Sergey Anufriyev (right), key figure of the underground movement of the 70s with curator and artist Oleg Oleynik (left) at an artistic happening organized by Oleynik and his team
dessa has earned its reputation on the local art scene due to the underground artistic movement of the 70s having opposed the official Soviet ideology. Admirers of modern art appreciate its distinctive visual manner of the South-Russian school of painting originating in the late XIX century and further developed through the XX century. Featuring such distinctive heritage, Odessa should have had all preconditions to become one of the brightest art hubs of the country today. Surprisingly it’s not. CLIQUE is looking at the reasons why. Back in the 70s in contrast to the generally quiet artistic situation in the country Odessa used to be a busy centre for non-conformist art which opposed the official regime. A series of underground exhibitions were regularly held both at private apartments and artistic studios, and therefore called „flat” exhibitions, there’s even a daring case of a show held in public space in 1967 – on a wooden fence by the Opera House. Odessa also appeared to be a cradle for many conceptual artists of the 70s and 80s. Many of Odessa-born conceptualists later moved to Moscow and are often being referred to as key conceptual Russian artists of the time. Quite a distinctive brand in itself stands the so-called Southern-Russian school of painting associated with Odessa modern art and is easily recognized by bright colours and impressionist manner of oilpainting. Another artistic contribution came from Odessa in late 90s – early 2000s when Ukraine’s contemporary art scene experienced interventions of Odessites Oleksandr Roitburd, Vladimir Kozhuhar, Igor Gusev, Dmitriy Dulfan, Vadim Bondarenko. To those familiar with Odessa’s artistic track it seems logical to expect the new generation of Odessa artists to make its daring appearance on Ukraine’s art scene today. „Odessa art” is expected to be a brand standing for fresh, conceptual, non-conformist art. It comes as a surprise that in fact it is not.
„In the XXI Kingdom” oneday show at an abandoned skating rink
Piece by Nikolay Lukin „Independence Day” by Oleg Dimov
Both the creative component and the infrastructure of the art scene are lame, together resulting in weak and dispersed artistic process. To begin with, the main thing to get into one’s attention is the lack of exhibition platforms and spaces that would showcase experimental art and art of the young. The scene is next to no diverse – almost 90% of artistic institutions are represented by the commercial galleries which make money by selling pieces referencing the Southern Russian artistic manner, occasionally the original pieces themselves. Young art actors note that under such conditions it’s the galleries which set prices and cooperation schemes for artists. Featuring clientele targeted at traditional art, galleries are not interested in showcasing experimental art of the young being under a threat of loosing their well-predicted profits from traditional product. For experimental artists that would mean that most probably they won’t be able to showcase their art in a traditional gallery locally. However the recent year has seen emerging initiatives that well have the potential to bring Odessa art back to life. Among them is the so-called „Chainaya Fabrika” (Tea Factory) Experimental Art Centre. Opened in late 2009 the space balances between the format of a noncommercial art centre and a commercial gallery promoting art of the young. Founded and created by Dmitriy Bannikov, and located at the former premises of a tea factory, the institution is financially supported from donor money and aims at exhibiting and supporting the art of the young. Young art does not sell well in Odessa if at all, confesses Bannikov. However within a year the centre has managed to attract a row of promising young artists, the most prominent of whom are Albina Yaloza, Olga Lannik, Andrey Babchnisky, Dmitriy Shijan, Utopia project and others. Other galleries showcasing contemporary art include NT-Art, Norma gallery, Art Centre and the newly opened HudPromo. Recent daring and highly promising artistic beginning is the artistic happenings organized and created by Oleg Oleynik and a group of young artists. Autumn 2010 saw two exhibitions of such a format continuing the traditions of Odessa underground artistic movement. Oleynik announced call for works of young artists and organized one-day show outside of traditional art spaces. Exhibition arrangements as well as placement of works oc-
curred right at the spot which made the events highly interactive. First exhibition entitled „In the XXI Kingdom” took place in September 2010 in the Dyukovsky Garden outside Odessa downtown, at an abandoned skating rink. Works as diverse as graphics, paintings, photos, graffiti, collage and objects were placed on the constructions left of the former ice rink.
the main thing to get into one’s attention is the lack of exhibition platforms and spaces that would showcase experimental art and art of the young The show was accompanied by poetry reading and was highly engaging for the visitors. Second project by Oleynik called „In Fashion! Or Collection Autumn-Winter 2010” to have occurred in November 2010 was an event of a larger scale. It took place in the so-called „Gogol House” – house once being home to the famous writer, now privately owned, but heavily destroyed and not suitable for living. Oleynik supported by the team of like-minders arranged for a one-night show of works accompanied by a row of performance acts. The brightest new names include Shamil Ptashenchuk, Nikolay Lukin, Oleg Dimov, Dmitry Yevseev, Sashy, Olga Ivanova, Yaroslav Chernenko and Oleg Oleynik as an artist himself. Oleynik says he aims at stirring the young artistic community of Odessa by creating opportunities for young artists to express their ideas outside of traditional gallery spaces which often do not meet up-to-date artistic needs. Joint efforts are highly welcome as another distinctive feature of Odessa young art is that the artists are highly individualized in their creative activities. They may share a same studio but team up rarely. No distinct group featuring single ideology can be named. Lack of artistic constellations as well as overall absence of the centralized artistic process in Odessa causes creative brain drain towards such established artistic hubs as Kyiv and Moscow.
Piece by artist and designer Roman Gromov
Contemporary art is in need of topical themes and characters, claims artist Andrey Babchinsky
Retro-futurist aesthetics sported by Utopia Project artistic trio
This might be both an outcome and a pre-condition for the fact that Odessa remains an extremely closed and low mobile space in terms of information sharing inside and outside the city as well as in terms of interaction with international actors and actors from other localities in the country. Dmitriy Bannikov compares the nature of the current artistic process in Odessa to a bog, to activate which constant targeted efforts are required. Katerina Filyuk, Curator at the newly opened „HudPromo” gallery, expresses the opinion that it would be highly beneficial for local artistic process if local artists took part in international artistic residence programmes and other exchange projects. Bannikov also points on the lack of information available to the artists and institutions on external financing opportunities. The main financial source for Odessa young art remains private money with experimental young art considered not a good choice of investment. An important fact stands the quality of the young art itself. It is often criticized for the lack of daring creative ideas and concepts topical to modern life of Odessa. Additionally, major part of local young artists use traditional media and rarely opt for multi-media art works and projects to express their ideas. Public space is underestimated as working environment. This is both caused and resulted in the lack of audience for whom the actual art is produced. Young art in Odessa unfortunately remains the sphere featuring quite narrow target audience. This is partly due to small scales and dispersed nature of the actual artistic process, multiplied by the badly-structured info sharing. Thus, Odessa being a city of around a million people does not have an informative city guide. The information is mostly spread mouth-to-mouth or through social networks. Thus, getting aware of an artistic event is not an easy task unless you’re part of the community. Odessa’s bright artistic heritage gives all grounds to expect vivid and diverse experimental artistic scene of the young today. However the expectations are not true and the centralized artistic process is still underway. Due to a number of promising initiatives Odessa may well turn into an artistic city and say its word in the making of contemporary Ukrainian art Yuliya Volfovska
Kyiv Gallery 15/5 Instytutska 15/5 Exhibition of works by Pavlo Bedzir Opening 25 December 253-0555.
Exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists Curator Oleksandr Lyapin Until 11 January 492 9203
Karas gallery Andryivsky Uzviz 22a Artists are drawing. A4, Ball pen Exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists December 29-January 17 238 6531
Bottega gallery Mikhailyvska 22 “Clouds” Paintings by Volodymyr Budnikov Till 14 January 279-5353
Ya gallery Khoryva 49b To Kill a Photograph
Volosska 55/57 The school of painting Exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists Curator – Olga Filonenko Until 15 January
„Wave” by Volodymyr Sai in Ya gallery on Volosska Street
calendar M17 Center for Contemporary Arts
Museum of Modern Ukrainian Art
Horkogo 102-104 “Venice for Three” Exhibition of works by Victor Babentsov, Viktor Ryzhykh, Ivan Pylypenko Until 23 January 492-9203
Glybochytska 17 Vlodko Kauffman Paintings, graphics, performance, video,installations by Vlodko Kauffman Until 16 January
“I love you, Life” Art project by Alla Preobrazhenska Until 9 January 201 49 45
Chervonoarmiyska/Baseina 1/3-2 Personal Exhibition of works by Takashi Murakami Until 9 January 2011 590-0858
National Art Museum of Ukraine Hrushevskoho 6 The Return of Master Exhibition of works by Mark Epstein Until 30 January 278 7574
Lesi Ukrainki 21 In Paradise Paintings by Natalia Prodanchuk Until 15 January 235 5665
6 Zhukovskogo Top 10 Contemporary Odessa Artists Until 13 January Group exhibition to include Aleksandr Roitburd, Dmitriy Doulfan, Igor Gousev, Sergey Zarva, Vladimir Kozhuhar, Yekaterina Solovyova, apl315
Museum of Ideas Valova 18a “Christmas PARAlono NORMAL thing” Christmas installation made of foam rubber Until 20 January 546155
Secretly About It 15 January - 16 February group exhibition to include Leonid Voytsekhov, Sergey Zarva, Dmitriy Doulfan, Albina Yaloza, Natalia Marinenko, Roma Gromov, apl315
calendar „Chainaya Fabrika” Experimental Art Centre 21/2 Karantinna Lomography Until 15 January pictures taken with „Lomo” camera
Dnipropetrovsk Ya Gallery Creative intervention into public space: initiative of Dmitriy Bannikov, Curator of the Tea Factory Experimental Art Centre, based on sketches of Olga Lannik to improve dull Sovietstyle house in Illichevsk
Gusenka 17 Enter Exit. Artworks by Oleksander Babak, Dore, Yuriy Pikul, Alexander Roitburd, The Dorrs and others. Curator Pavlo Gudimov. 713 5713
Graphics and street arts by street artist apl315 can be found in Hudpromo in Odessa this January
The Art of Smoking
hen it comes to the process of smoking marijuana (or other stuff), in fact, couple of things are required. Those are weed and device. While some people grow Cannabis plants of various breeds others make the smoking devices of different types and sizes. “Got stuff?” just goes after “Got weed?” and here we go. The guy who definitely can answer the first one is a local artist Egor Ka. He makes smoking devices from bathroom equipment like pipes, taps or screws. Sometimes he ads some absurd details like guitar jacks or L V belt buckle. Egor Ka’s artsy stuff is pretty popular; he has exhibited his works on the different art festivals and sold couple of them to one of Kyiv’s famous galleries. I’ve met with Egor Ka to ask him several questions about his hobby. I got interested in his choice of bathroom equipment as a main material for the devices. As appeared, it was a choice of destiny. Once upon a time the toilet bowl got leaky and Egor Ka had no choice but to fix it because it was a deep night. Unfortunately he couldn’t fix it, though he has found some interesting bathroom equipment and decided to have a smoke… he sais it was the only thing left at that moment. That’s how the choice was made. While creating his devices Egor Ka likes to experiment: he buys a lot of bathroom equipment and plays with it like with constructor. He doesn’t have any kind of scheme in his mind. The result is always a surprise for young artist. With some time Egor Ka gained some special techniques in making smoking devices. He usually makes mouthpieces on all of his pipes of gum, wood, plastic but not of metal. If to speak about metal he uses brass of a maximum high quality. All the taps on Egor Ka’s pipes are functional – they regulate the smoke delivery. Right now he collaborates with his friend, who makes smoking devices from glass. In his plans - a series of “fusion devices” made of metal and glass. Some consider Egor Ka’s devices the work of art. Artist himself is sure that only time will reveal this statement. For now he seems to be having a big fun.
Egor Ka likes to experiment: he buys a lot of bathroom equipment and plays with it like with constructor
Smart Solutions for Participatory Cultural Policies
s an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, I studied the history of art. In the framework of the undergraduate program I was required to study everything from ancient all the way to modern and contemporary art. So, as far as art historical knowledge is concerned, I would say that my background is fairly wide. Towards the end of my undergraduate studies, I began to concentrate more specifically on modern and contemporary artistic practices. Actually, as an undergraduate student I had the opportunity to begin working at a contemporary arts institution in Philadelphia called the Institute of Con-
temporary Art. Here I was given the unique opportunity to sit on the board of directors of this institution. Being only 20 years old at the time, it was quite an eye-opening experience for me. While still studying art history, my work on the board of directors served as an introduction to the practical world of arts management. I was able to gain valuable experience learning about the way decisions are made, how funding is sought, how exhibitions are organized, and how institutions operate from the inside out. So I suppose you could say that from a very young age, I became involved
and interested in working with artâ€™s underlying infrastructures. After finishing my undergraduate education in Philadelphia, I moved to Chicago and began a three-year program to achieve two Masters degrees from the School of the Art Institute. One program was in modern and contemporary art history, theory and art criticism, and the other was specifically focused on arts administration and cultural policy. The dual nature of this program provided me with an opportunity to study both theory and practice at the same time.
Arts involving Humans I think that a historical reexamination of conceptual art practices can be a very useful lens through which to view the recent developments of contemporary social and public practices. In postwar Europe, for example, there arose groups like CoBrA and the Situationists. In soviet Russia, there also arose a movement known as Moscow Conceptualism (e.g. Groups like Medical Hermeneutics). Many interesting examples of postwar
artistic collectivities have been documented in the book: Collectivism after Modernism. Yet besides examples from Europe or the former Soviet states, in the context of the United States, by the mid 1960s, many conceptual artists (for example Hans Haacke and Robert Morris) began to involve more socially and politically engaged themes into their work. Interested in precisely such development, I wrote my Masers thesis about a group called the The Artworkers Coalition (AWC) which was active in New York City from 1969-1971 and consisted of over 300 artists and activists. Besides my thesis, the art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson has also recently published an excellent book dealing with the same subject: Art Workers. The activities of the AWC were very much inspired by the politically active spirit of the counter-cultural generation and New Left movement. One of the most important things to remember about the AWC was that it was not merely an artistsâ€™ collective, instead the group also included many other types of creative individuals: students, professors, museum workers, etc.
art development In this sense, the environment generated by the AWC was focused on critically re-thinking the institutionalization of culture from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Although certainly chaotic, I think that as a type of platform for cultural initiatives, the AWC had a strong influence on sharpening the critiques of many conceptual artists – here the work of Hans Haake is a great example. On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, while researching the history of socially and politically engaged forms of contemporary art in Chicago, I was also studying in a program of arts administration and cultural policy. From within the more practical framework of this program, it soon became my goal to try and create a unique type of place for supporting creative initiatives. Yet my hope was to create viable infrastructure that would be critically informed by my historical research of the 60s and 70s. Because what I really did not want was to start a program that would merely be more of the same - historical repetition and thereby also regression.
So, together with a few of my colleagues who were also studying in the arts administration program, we created a platform for ourselves. This was an alternative platform that existed on the periphery of Chicago’s major art institutions. Such creation was also like a form of experimentation for us. Having become frustrated with the overly affirmative nature of learning arts administration as an academic discipline, we wanted a place wherein we would be more free to think and develop in ways that the school’s bureaucratic structure would not allow. So we rented a small store-front space in Chicago and started an alternative cultural center called InCUBATE. Acting as a type of creative-think tank, curatorial collective and artists residency program, this InCUBATE framework allowed us to do a number of projects interrogating economic relationships and financial sustainability – especially in terms of their relation to more everyday or informal modes of creativity.
Competition When we started InCUBATE, I wouldn’t say that we faced a lot of competition. In fact, as a business, our organizational model was highly precarious. Very rarely did we ever generate an actual profit. In this sense, it would not have been very difficult to compete with us! Yet on the other hand, over time, our model did allow us to generate substantial amounts of creative and/or social capital. Part of the reason we were successful in this regard goes back again to the element of history. In terms of commercialization, the contemporary art world in the United States is most developed in New York and Los Angeles. Here Chicago represents an interesting type of middle ground. Of course Chicago is still home to several examples of highly professionalized and expensive contemporary art venues, yet proportionally, in comparison to the scenes in NYC and LA, it seems to me that Chicago has a very rich history of alternative organizations. With InCUBATE, my colleagues and I were able to
tap into this history. In so doing, we found friends and collaborators interested in further developing critical and non-commercialized practices. In relation to your question about competition, I think that one of the main motivations for us to create the InCUBATE space was precisely to come up with an alternative system that would circumvent the inbuilt and oftentimes quite harsh brand of competition characteristic of the contemporary art market. Actually, one of our good friends, Marc Fischer from the group Temporary Services recently wrote an article called “Against Competition” that articulates some of these principles quite nicely. As opposed to the codified commercial systems of contemporary art, at InCUBATE our motivations and priorities were different. Our thinking is more focused on how to build alliances, how to generate solidarities, how to work together in harmony with others.
Art Education in Ukraine and US It has been quite interesting for me to learn about how alternative cultural initiatives perform in the US vs. Ukraine. For example, in the US, my colleagues and I were already studying in school the history of contemporary art and cultural management practices when we decided to create an alternative center for ourselves. Such creation was a means of enhancing our already existing formalized education. We made the alternative center to ask questions that we weren’t able to ask in framework of the academic institution. Yet here in Ukraine, I find that when I talk to students who study art theory and history in University or Academy, their education stops at a certain historical point – it rarely goes much further than the impressionists or early modernists. In terms of policy studies, as far as I know, there is no formal school for contemporary arts management in Ukraine. So, therefore, in terms of viable alternatives, it seems that in Ukraine we must ask the question, “alternative to what?” In Ukraine, critical spaces for engaging with contemporary art and social change must act not merely as supplementary or peripheral to the formalized institutions or schools - instead these “alternative” spaces act as primary sites of learning and growth.
Post-Soros times One of the ways Iâ€™ve come to analyze the situation of contemporary arts and culture here in Ukraine has been to identify key channels and platforms. How do resources flow, where and how are they worked upon, and finally where do they find space for manifestation / public display? It seems that in Ukraine, there exists a small system of professionalized contemporary art galleries â€“ and of course there is also the Pinchuk Art Centre. Yet other than this, the structures of support for contemporary art (especially non-commercial forms) are much smaller and self-organized in nature. For example there is the Hudrada Curatorial Union, online platforms such as Commons or Spectacular Practices, and even .pdf publications like this one! One very good - and at this point also historical - example of an intermediary contemporary arts institution in Ukraine is the Foundation Center for Contemporary Art (FCCA). I use this word intermediary because it seems to me that the FCCA now operates somewhere between formalized structures of contemporary art and more decentralized / self-organized initiatives. In this sense, perhaps it is usefully to view the FCCA like a connection point or bridge between center and periphery. Home to a resource centre, extensive archive, and host of many forms of educational programming, I certainly believe that the FCCA is doing very important work. Yet, at the same time, it must be recognized not only
33 that the capacities of the FCCA are limited – but also that this limitation has a very particular history. It is widely known that for the first several years of its existence, the Kyiv Center for Contemporary Art was generously supported with funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute. During these early years, funding was available to organize more ambitions programming (like an exhibition of Andy Warhol for example). In this sense, the center was able to function as more than just a resource center. Yet after 2000, when Soros began pulling back his funding from Contemporary Art Centers in the Post-Soviet states, these institutions were forced to find new funding and new means of survival. In the aftermath of Soros’ economic shock therapy, there arose a situation of sink or swim. Yet in reality, many contemporary arts organizations have managed only to float. But here I don’t mean to place too much emphasis on Soros alone, because in reality, his organization remains just one funding source among many. Yet at the same time, I think that a consideration of the “Post-Soros” period can be a useful historical marker for separating two distinct generational impulses. Such a distinction can be made between an earlier generation of Ukrainian artists and cultural workers most active during the 90s vs. a younger generation working today who never quite fully experienced the prosperity of Soros’ foreign aid. The questions I am wrestling with now are: What are the effects of this current lack of resources? How has it influenced the subjectivities of both contemporary artists and cultural workers? What are the possibilities for building new and more appropriate networks of support?
art development Garage Gang It seems to me that now, here in Ukraine, out from within the Post-Soros vacuum there are currently emerging hundreds of young artists and creative individuals ready to start making connections and building something new. A network? A union? A space? A center? Exactly what this something will be remains unclear. Yet at this point, it is most important to simply recognize and continue cultivating such a collective will. If the will to qualitatively transform the nature of society via arts and culture is strong enough; then the actual building of institutional forms will occur in a more organic and sustainable manner. A key factor necessary to both the recognition and cultivation of such a will within the fields of contemporary art and culture is the concept of the participatory. For me, promotion of the participatory, especially in terms of how it relates to cultural policy is the most important aspect of Garage Gang’s activities. Here it is useful to consider the terms: user-generated culture and participatory cultural policy. Rather than exercising a one-sided form of administration from above, Garage Gang instead works to develop tools designed to help participants think-about and work-upon the space around them as they see fit. Garage Gang then travels to many different locations allowing a variety of people to experiment with such tools. This act of traveling is conducted in such a way as to result in the creation of a network – a series of channels inhabited by the imaginations of those using cultural tools that are participatory in nature. It is our hope that such a system will be one where people can begin to imagine new structures for themselves; what they would like to see and create. Obviously, to talk about beginning processes of social transformation of this magnitude is to remain in a realm of very big, abstract, generalized, and often impractical ideas. One of the things that I most like about working with Garage Gang is that they have managed to maintain a very interesting relationship to the formalized contemporary art museum-gallery-magazine system here in Ukraine. Of course the Garage Gang has a
relationship with this system. Yet at the same time, the Garage Gang maintains a somewhat playful modus operandi that is difficult to pin down. The Garage Gang is in the art-world but not quite of it … of the artworld but not quite in it … I very much like working in this way.
In order to say a bit more about these special “tools” we at Garage Gang have developed and are currently using, I need to describe the framework of our most recent project called Celebration Generation. This is actually a multi-year project aimed at beginning a process of social transformation in Ukrainian cities via creative and user-generated strategies. In this sense, one of the main goals of Celebration Generation is to begin a blending of creative capacities amongst various social fields. The Celebration Generation project began in October 2010 with a 5-week tour of 5 different Ukrainian Cities (Uzhgorod, Donetsk, Kherson, Simferopol and Vinnitsa). In each city we utilized a number of tools to engage with local populations. For example, we had 27 large colored wooded cubes for making temporary architectural interventions. We also made available several copies of a specially designed artistic notebook called Ozdobnik wherein people could write about their reactions to the project. Besides the cubes and notebooks, another of our tools was the People’s Atlas of Public Space project, this involved distributing blank city maps and asking people to draw or write about how they perceive the city space around them. After collecting some information via these maps, we also utilized a large weather balloon affixed with hanging digital camera to make aerial maps of places deemed interesting. Yet perhaps the most visible tool developed for the
35 Celebration Generation project was the FURA KULTURA, a mobile communications unit transformed from a recreational camping trailer. The FURA was designed to function as a unique type of platform for cultural initiatives. Yet unlike traditionally static cultural institutions (e.g. galleries, museums, etc) wherein the flow of resources like information, money, and audience is more one-sided, on the other hand, our FURA KULTURA is based on a different set of priorities. The FURA is mobile. It can be here, there, anywhere. It can see things and do things that traditional institutions cannot. It can move and change. For us, creating the FURA KULTURA became an instrument to express a collective desire for something more. Today, not just in Ukraine, but all over the world there is a new generation of emerging creative individuals who, given the recent advancements of communications and social media technologies have the ability to communicate, think and imagine new possibilities like never before in history. But such new imaginative energies need to exist alongside appropriate structures of support in the form of cultural institutions and cultural policies. Today, in Ukraine, cultural struc-
tures do not exist in harmony with new imaginations. So, unfortunately, what happens is that a lot of potential is being lost. One key ingredient to remedy this issue is the development of a new type of cultural institution – complete with a new approach to contemporary culture that is more participatory in nature, flexible, decentralized and mobile. FURA KULTURA responds directly to this need. Basically, Garage Gang is like a platform of platforms. Achieving the full potential of a project like Celebration Generation will not be an easy task. It will be a long process. We realize and hope that our initial project structure will grow beyond us to involve the entire field. An entire generation of people working together and building solidarities – this is the goal. Of course it will take time. No longer simply a matter of “Do-it-yourself”, but now an open question about how we can begin to “Do-it-together”. We must be persistent and see what happens Roman Petrunyak Written by Natalia Marianchyk
Kadyrova’s “Form of the Light” on Art Kyiv festival in Autumn 2010
Successful combine of commercial and non-profitable art activities
hana Kadyrova during the last five years has perfectly united her commercial art initiatives together with nonprofit ones. Her art pieces were staged in Pinchukartcentre and in most of the local contemporary arts galleries. Kadyrova participates in Ukrainian and international art projects. She is one of the artists officially represented by Moscow contemporary art gallery “Regina” with spaces on Vinzavod and in London. Zhanna’s sculptures travelled to France, Sweden, Germany, USA etc. The same time Zhanna can be easily found on “BZH” (outdoor place on Velyka Zhytomyrska street near Historical Museum in Kyiv where young and unknown artists like to meet), she is one of the leading activists in LabGarage non-profitable unity, she is always ready to join new and crazy projects which will never pay her back. CLIQUE asked Zhanna how she manages such vivid artistic life.
“Regina” is not very happy with me because I do a lot of things on my own and never listen to their advices. Sometimes they tell me – participating in this project is not worth it, - but I do what I like and this makes me feel good. I want to have freedom!”- sais Zhanna. “For example, now I am working on the outdoor sculpture in Perm, Russia. This will be a big bright and glossy apple and someone bit a piece of it. The white part of an apple is made of the bricks of destroyed old houses. New modern real estate comes and that’s why old hours have to be taken off. The project is very social but lo-
„Fillings” project couldn’t cross the border on the way to France
cal people don’t really get the idea. That’s why I have to explain them that this is kind of protest to those ones who destroy old houses. Then people start liking it”. cal people don’t really get the idea. That’s why I have to explain them that this is kinda protest to those ones who destroy old hoses. Then people start liking it”. No matter Kadyrova had a lot of chances to move to another country she is a true patriot and believes that Kyiv is an ideal space to work. Zhanna is totally comfortable with her 2-stored house in Kyiv’s private sector which serves as a working space as well. She always uses a bicycle and spends most of her money for art tools and materials, as Zhanna generally creates huge sculptures. “There are definitely many problems in Ukraine in terms of social and political infrastructures. And there is a space for complain and change. At least, it was a space for protest before the new government came. What will happen in future, I don’t know but I hope everything will be good. Especially before Euro 2012 I see that a lot of art initiatives arise. For example, I know that there is a group uniting artists to build landscape sculptures in Kyiv”. Kadyrova got into the landscape arts when she was on the art festival in Shargorod. She made a “Monument to the new Monument” in one of Shargorod’s small parks. And it was interesting to create not only the monument itself, but to make a change in the small park – to make the branches to sit, the alley to walk. There is a lot of work to be done in this sphere in Ukraine and Kadyrova would love to be involved into it.
39 Kadyrova admits, that there are much more technical and management problems in Ukrainian galleries comparing with Moscow of Berlin. There are not enough tools - installation of exposition is usually her responsibility. For example, when she had her exhibition in Lavra gallery, she needed to bring most of the instruments on her own. Apart from that, there was a corporate party in the hall she needed for her works just the night before exhibition opening. Such thing will never happen somewhere else. “I think that modern artist is not only artist, he is a manager as well. He needs to know not only how to make arts, he has to know how to install everything and also how to negotiate with other people. Those ones, who can do this all, they succeed”. Other problems appear when Zhanna transports her sculptures to other places. When she goes to close countries, she just takes her sculptures with her on train. Once on her way to France, the customer services didn’t allow her pieces “Fillings”to cross the border. The officer thought that Zhanna wants to immigrate to France illegally and that’s why takes all these household devices with her (the installation consists of very old cups, plates, fridge, oven etc) To sum up, Zhanna is very happy that contemporary arts in Ukraine are developing especially within the last decades. She was pleasantly excited with Art Kyiv project when all the commercial and non-commercial arts were separated into two blocks with equal size. She is also very happy with Lab garage activities when they manage to bring very young creative artists from western Europe to Ukraine Natalia Marianchyk
Another Zhanna’s apple will soon appear on one of Perm’s squares
Artur Bilozerov, artist and manager of Lab Garage Project: â€žCurrently we stopped performing and organizing exhibitions in Lab Garage on 38 Velyka Zhytomyrska because its very cold and there is any heating system in garage. We hope to reopen the space in spring. The bigegst asset of Lab Garage Progect is the fact we managed to bring Western European young artists to Ukraine and this was all for free! In was totally nonprofitable initiativeâ€?
Currently Artur stays in Lab Garageâ€™s office on the territory of Lavra gallery
орпорпорart story шу
Vlad playing with a squirrel in the forest
A PORTRAIT OF TEETH
hen you do meth, you’ll have your teeth crumbling in no time. That’s the story behind a young kyivan artist sporting a self-explanatory nickname of TEETH CREAK.
25 year old Vlad (real name), throws wet beer-soaked croutons to a flock of grey pigeons. He bought 1,5 liter of „Oblon Oksamytove” beer for that 20 hryvnas he’d saved in the previous week. Vlad produces digital music when he feels like doing so. „It’s a time of our lives! It sure is!,” - Vlad nods to a dove, - “Should I go to work, I’d think of these days as my pick!”. „I have no money only ideas and deeds. I can only be loved or hated for what I really am – for my thoughts and actions and not for something I am not – like money or show-off .
That’s pretty much what the word “freedom” speaks to me”,- Vlad’s face is all but shaven and he’s wearing a condom-tight jacket. Vlad – has never made a single tune worth paying for. His most successful song is a semi-obscure youtube prank. It went from concept to a complete video in just 20 minutes. „We are the tubes, we ask for no lubes!!” - two topless male characters wearing bizzare paper caps howl this line like crazy, while a moody synthesizer puts Kraftwerk to shame. Back in his parents apartment Vlad shows me this bizzare youtube video. He’s emotionless. “Some Moscow dudes would tell me it was brilliant and how I needed to push it forward”. His parents apartment has recently been renovated. A big plazma TV is there. Vlad’s mom is his source of cash, while he has barely spoken to his father in years. Vlad goes solo on his next vid. „White Moon! Black Train A’rolling! „- Singing this A’capella gave his some sorry 1500 views. While that barely amounts to success, Vlad’s vocal skills are apparent. „There was a time, when I was taking music all too seriously. I was trying too hard, you know. It wasn’t really helpful, I couldn’t write a decent track with that attitude. When one day, I saw this shitty video by “The Two Cocks” band – the guys simply put on-line an a-Capella “song” recorded with a mediocre mobile phone camera in just one single shot. That really clicked with me as the most punky way to deal with music. Really. That was the most proper treatment a practice as “elite” as making music, deserved. Doing my own song like that I really felt I was basically sticking my dick into the ears of however would play it. It wasn’t about creating music as a form of entertainment it was all about subverting the notion of music as some high practice. „I don’t like playing by the rules. Rules are no fun. I will not follow some dumb
socially acceptable scenario . My choice is to avoid everything that can be defined . I am an artist who does not belong to organized and institutionalized groups fond of stroking each other egos. Neither do I purse a critical acclaim. Sometimes I’m a musician. I’m a film director when I fee like – as well.
I have no money only ideas and deeds. I can only be loved or hated for what I really am I’ve shot that movie called „the Sitting” – that’s mainly an hour long still shot of me sitting and talking with 2 friends on the bench. When It was done, I really felt like it belonged to some big-name art festival like Gogol Fest (Kyiv’s main art event. - edit). Fortunately before I could submit it for review, my parents took me out of the city to help the around the garden and stuff. In the long run, I feel like an experience of not doing art is more rewarding than doing it. After all, since art is all about getting chicks I can abstain from it, as I am good-looking enough on my own. I think I’ll get to using art when I look like shit. But, then “Artists get all the chicks”, - that’s probably the formula that I can use when I look like shit. „A friend of mine has like 3 degrees and still earns some meager 2000 hryvnas, while being fucked by hiss boss. And then, there’s that dude – never finished high school - he gets like 5 time that and still gets fucked by his superiors. I don’t have a regular job, so nobody fucks me. I pass through life as a snail, leaving a wet trace in the media space behind. As I live I leave a trace of my media emanations – music and videos are like my excrement. They come out naturally” Oleksiy Kuzmenko
Yuliya Volfovska Art-manager and jopurnalist, lives and works in Odessa
Viktoria Vasilchenko Art-critic and freelance journalist, lives and works in Kyiv
Contributors: Roman Petrunyak, Oleksiy Kuzmenko
Photography: provided by Lab Garage and Artur Bilozerov, Egor Ka, Roman Petrunyak, Zhanna Kadyrova, Anton Cherkashyn, Vladislav Meged
Design: Natalia Marianchyk Technical Support: Kyiv-Mohyla School of Journalism
Kyiv, December 2010
Published on Dec 24, 2010