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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Hope, fear, hope

The first exhibit of contemporary art after the revolution opens in PinchukArtCentre
21 May, 2014 - 17:27

To be more precise, there are two expositions. “Fear and Hope” is a joint vernissage of the winners of the PinchukArtCentre Award, Artem Volokitin, Mykyta Kadan, and Zhanna Kadyrova. The artist of the same generation, Alevtyna Kakhidze, shows her solo project, “TV Studios / Rooms without doors” in a special hall, PAC-UA.

“Item. Undivided” by Kadan (2014) is a huge glass cube, filled with ash. Nearby there is “Working materials. Guilt of pictures” under glass, a collection of avant-garde buildings and sculptures from Soviet and Polish publications of the Communist time combined with underground Soviet pornography, gathered by Mykyta; the most powerful image is the faded photo of nude man and woman – the woman is looking directly in the lens, and this disturbed look, which is very far from alleged lust, speaks of the time and circumstances much more than even the propaganda booklets placed close to it.

Kadyrova has cut a map of Ukraine out of a burnt brick wall: its front side is smoked, whereas the rear side is covered with old Soviet wallpapers; a similarly black fragment, with its contours resembling the Crimea, is lying nearby.

Finally, Volokitin’s video Sisters (created in 2006 and edited in 2014) shows four women in funeral clothes, who are mourning the loss of their mother, – without sound or subtitles.

The list of the exhibited works is not limited to these, but actually the abovementioned compositions, where everything is clear without words or wordy press releases, are best remembered. The rest of the works, which under different circumstances would seem interesting or original, look like unneeded coquetry of style, using the worn-out cliche methods.

But this is not someone’s individual problem. For example, there is an exhibit of contemporary art underway in Mystetsky Arsenal as well; it is quite large-scale, involving the authors of the last quarter of century. So, most of the opuses by both veterans, and the youth simply fade in the background of a small collection of photos from the Maidan hanging at the entrance. This is not a very pleasant situation for art which poses itself as actual.

The revolution has thrown down a challenge to the entire society, and this challenge has touched the artists the most. It is not their fault that they, by rare exceptions, have failed to give a worthy response. Maybe, a time distance is needed. Or new talents.

But something must change for sure, because we cannot pretend anymore that nothing has happened and continue to entertain ourselves with comfortable games whose result is known in advance.

By Dmytro DESIATERYK, The Day
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