The Ukrainian national pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, presents a group exhibition entitled “Hope!” featuring a young generation of Ukrainian artists, including Yevgenia Belorusets, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Mykola Ridnyi & Serhiy Zhadan, Artem Volokitin, Anna Zvyagintseva and Open Group.
The project is organized by the PinchukArtCentre with the support of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine commissioned the work.
Björn Geldhof, curator of the Pavilion of Ukraine, talking about the artists says:
“The works presented in this exhibition create, in combination with the glass pavilion, a contradictory space. They offer a critical narrative that resists the ideals or the hopes expressed in the architecture of the pavilion. They reveal a critical and non-partisan attitude to the conflict while being marked by a deep personal commitment and solidarity with Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian national pavilion, located in a specially designed temporary glass structure on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, on the main waterfront route from Arsenale to Giardini, stands as a model for a new transparent Ukraine reaching out to the world. With this exhibition a young generation of artists voices hopes for Ukraine’s future while confronting the current conflict and the countries recent history.
Victor Pinchuk, Ukrainian businessman, philanthropist and founder of the PinchukArtCentre says
“The young generation of artists we have been supporting for many years, started the future Ukraine already long ago – independent, uncompromising, critically reflective. Today they are new Ukraine’s ambassadors. I am proud that we can make a small but important contribution to the international communication of my country by organizing the Ukrainian national pavilion and bringing young artists to Venice.”
Cage (2010) by Anna Zvyagintseva embodies the contradictions between freedom and imprisonment, rule of law and lawlessness and strength and fragility. Blind Spot by Ridnyi and Zhadan focusses on the price of violence but resists the narrow narratives that provoke radicalisation of thought. Artem Volokitin reduces in his painting the reality of life to a violent act that moves between hope and fear, between death and the sublime. And Zhanna Kadyrova shows Ukraine as a part of the world, using the recent past to glimpse a future.
Open Group and Yevgenia Belorusets emphasize in opposite ways personal commitment and responsibility of individuals in an armed conflict. Their works reveal the different civil attitudes within society. Open Group deals with young men drafted into the army and their families waiting for their return. Belorusets portrays invisible miners who chose to live and work within the zone of conflict but refuse to take part in the war, trying to “save” their future by daily working in the mines.
Just outside the pavilion, the public sculpture of Nikita Kadan refers to the past and confronts the present situation of war. He deals with questions related to the historification of a conflict and confronts this with Ukraine’s Soviet past.
(featured image Mykola Ridnyi & Serhiy Zhadan)