A “mystical” painting and an art object made of quilting: an exhibition about the war in Ukraine is underway in Germany
In the German city of Oberhausen, the RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition, which was created for the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, is ongoing. Most of the works were created by Ukrainian and foreign artists in 2022 in Ukraine as part of the BIRUCHIY residency. The exhibition is hosted by the kitev organization with the support of Stadt Oberhausen/Büro für Interkultur, embodying in practice the twinning between the cities of Oberhausen and Zaporizhia. You can see the exhibition until March 8. The exhibition includes works created during the invasion and active hostilities: painting, graphics, installations, sculpture, photo and video documentation of events in Irpen, Buch, Gostomel, Vorzel, Borodyanka, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lysychansk and other Ukrainian cities, partially or even completely wiped off the face of the earth. RECORDS OF RESISTANCE also includes some earlier works that miraculously survived the occupation of Buchi, where the residence’s warehouse was located. Thus, the works of artists appear as witnesses and evidence of crimes, as well as evidence of stability and strength. Nataliya Matsenko and Yuri Yefanov became the curators. Read also: The museum, which has the largest collection of Malevich’s works, presented it to a Ukrainian Soon the works are planned to be shown in London, Berlin, Milan and New York. “Records of Resistance is an exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists and their colleagues from Europe and the USA, who united in Ukraine at the first residence of contemporary art BIRUCHIY during the war. Making the decision to organize the project was difficult, taking responsibility for the lives of the artists was scary, and work is difficult. The fourth month since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, June, everyone is depressed and “on adrenaline”, no one understands what can happen tomorrow. Experiencing a great risk, the American Clemens Poole (New York, USA) came to Ukraine, who cooperated with various Ukrainian institutions for a long time, including “Isolation” first in Donetsk, and then in Soledar… Arriving at the residence, we, as always, organized open discussions in a free format and presentations. Everyone shared experience not only artistic, but also the feeling of a real war,” said Olena Speranska, head of the BIRUCHIY contemporary art project. The RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition is ongoing in the city of Oberhausen. Photo: provided by the organizers. One of the art objects was created from the things of Russians. “The commissioner of the project, Gennadiy Kozub, told how from the beginning he left Irpen with his family on the first day of the offensive, and then returned to the bombed-out home and saw the completely destroyed city, how he got to the warehouse in Buchi after the de-occupation, where they hid until the retreat Russian soldiers also “used” art objects. Some works were used to make fires, some were broken, and they left their “cotton” and food of Belarusian production. This “cotton” became the basis for the installation of Clemens Pool, which was already presented in the cultural center of the village of Nizhne Selishche Hust district in Transcarpathia, then in the House of Social Innovation in the center of Warsaw in Poland, and now in Oberhausen. This is a very important and personal work for us. By turning the abandoned soldier’s uniform of the invaders into an art object, Clemens gave it a new meaning. And now this artifact will travel the world and tell this story again and again,” says Olena Speranska. The RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition is ongoing in the city of Oberhausen. Photo: provided by the organizers Yuliya Danilevska (Logachova) clearly could not reach the residence, because at that time the territory of Kherson was under occupation. However, the artist did take part in the exhibition. “Not having paper for drawing, the artist drew on a white tile that remained at her home after the renovation. The author sent photocopies of the works in electronic form, and we, finding the same tile, printed works on it in Poland for the exhibition. From this, the presence of a “printed painting” in the exposition is more valuable than the presence of the originals that we later received,” says Olena. The RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition is ongoing in the city of Oberhausen. Photo: provided by the organizers. The exposition includes a work that has come to be considered “mystical”. “In general, each work in the project has its own unique story and each work can be told separately… Just take the story about the installation by Ilya Isupov (Kyiv), who came to Transcarpathia for a few days and made an installation with a portrait of a boy who shaves before joining the army , as the next day he received a real summons. The Italian Lucretia Dekai (Naples), who arrived a few days after Ilya’s departure to Kyiv, turned out to be an exact copy of the portrait drawn by Isupov. Moreover, both artists never saw each other’s eyes. A real mystic “, says Olena Speranska. The RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition is ongoing in the city of Oberhausen. Photo: provided by the organizers The authors note that Records of Resistance is not a commercial project or a charity auction, but a separate historical and research cultural product consisting of documentation of events, reflections of artists on war crimes, personal stories and works exposing the facts of propaganda on the side of the invading country. Today, the presentation of the project was attended by many guests, special delegations, representatives of local mass media and the city’s state leadership. According to the organizers, now it is more difficult to get interested in the Ukrainian topic – there is a certain “fatigue from the war”. “Regarding war fatigue – yes, everyone feels it. It is clear that Europeans, who are far from hostilities, in their measured and safe lives, look at everything that is happening in Ukraine as a Hollywood horror, which is even scarier because of the understanding of the “reality of events”. They are tired and from the information flow that fills screens, gadgets and the press. Donats at the Armed Forces consider it “not their business”, but invest with charitable intentions in Ukrainian art very cautiously and without enthusiasm. In the USA, where I am now, the situation is the same. To create charitable artistic events are becoming increasingly difficult. Only non-ordinary projects that carry an educational mission and tell true stories are of interest – this always arouses healthy interest,” says Olena Speranska. The RECORDS OF RESISTANCE exhibition is ongoing in the city of Oberhausen. Photo: provided by the organizers About the BIRUCHIY residence The BIRUCHIY residence has been held on the island of Biruchiy in the Zaporizhzhia region on the coast of the Sea of Azov since 2006. Artists from all over Ukraine and abroad regularly participate in the project, which makes it a platform for unique interaction, exchange of experience and information. Since last year, the original location of the residence is in the occupied territory. In the summer of 2022, the residency took place in the Transcarpathian region and united artists in a single creative process that contained sharp contemporary reflections and strategic considerations, gave birth to new collaborations and visions of a common future. In September, an exhibition of these works was shown in Warsaw, and now it has arrived in Oberhausen.
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