After the Victory

"After the Victory" is an exhibition and discussion platform curated by Mykola Ridnyi in CCA Yermilov centre in Kharkiv, UA

22.05 – 15.06. 2014

Participants of the exhibition: Anna Witt (DE), Artur Zmijewski (PL), Olga Zhitlina and David Ter-Oganyan (RU), Oleksandr Burlaka and Oleksiy Radynskiy, David Chichkan, Nikita Kadan, Taras Kamennoy, Lesya Khomenko, Sasha Kurmaz, Borys Mykhailov, Mykola Ridnyi and Serhiy Popov, (UA)

Perhaps the only truly accurate claim is that there is no objective history. Schoolbooks are “corrected” and rewritten according to the interests of contemporary politicians, shedding light on aspects of history that had not been important before, or — in the opposite case – erasing certain events from the record in order to expunge them from memory. One of the most problematic dates that has caused wide dispute and conflict in Ukrainian society is May 9th, known as Victory Day. The strategic positions of the winners and the defeated are reinforced through this day, which absorbs the speculative turn of today's context. The specificity of the Ukrainian sociopolitical situation has spawned two poles that speculate on various historical facts. The current context of Victory Day balances between a decorative holiday with parades, fireworks and pop concerts in keeping with the best traditions of the Soviet past on the one hand; and outbreaks of street violence among people defending their point of view on historical justice, manifested either in the red-black flags of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or the Ribbon of St. George, on the other. Apart from stirring up civil strife, this active binary tramples over the memory and respect dedicated to those who perished in the war: ranging from spontaneous action to a violent ritual that quickly escalates. Yet describing the situation in black and white, good and bad, left and right – is not only wrong, but mendacious. Mendacity is the political theater that carelessly blends together extremely important and poignant concepts: patriotism and fascism, antifascism and imperialism. Ukrainian politicians were engaged in speculations focused on the events of the past, instead of solving current issues, which has resulted in jeopardizing the integrity of the state and society, thus transforming former friends, colleagues and neighbors into enemies.

The current Ukrainian situation of permanent protest flares, overwhelmed by a substitution of concepts, is muddying possibilities for adequate analysis and reflection untainted by deceit and radical binaries. Realpolitik requires constant amendment, as well as the removal of false and absurd propaganda that coerces individuals to choose only one side, despising all others, and relegates civic energy in the hopeless direction of hatred, which then becomes expedient to particular groups of political elites. Through research, analysis, feedback and other instruments of art, we can arrive at a deeper understanding the situation; it is of immediate importance to present different points of view, which are fair toward society, as well as particular individuals, who respect historical memory, and are ready to fight for the future. (MR)


            
Lesia Khomenko "Stepan Repin", acrylic on canvas, texts, 2009-2012. Courtesy Mironova gallery


       
Nikita Kadan "Human tools", print on fabric, flagpoles, 2011
Nikita Kadan "Figures on white", watercolor, 2011


       
David Chichkan "Against faith. Against glory. Against honor", mural, 2014


       
Sasha Kurmaz "Money does not smell", color logos, text, 2014


       
Artur Zmijewski "80064", video, 2004. Courtesy Foksal foundation.

              
Anna Witt "In training", video, 2010


Borys Mykhailov "Untitled" 
from "Look at me. I look at water", color photraphy, text, 1999-2004
      
Olga Zhitlina and David Ter-Oganyan "Operation", video, 2012



       
Oleksandr Burlaka and Oleksiy Radynskiy "Jewish Crimean-Tatar Autonomous Republic of Crimea", calendar for 2014, series of postcards, 2014



       
Taras Kamennoy "Measurer of agression", drawing on wood, blood of the artist, video documentation of performance, 2011



       
Mykola Ridnyi and Serhiy Popov "Smithers", found objects (debris of the memorial desk to Uriy Shevelyov, iron cutgel), video, 2013-2014

Photo of the installation views: Sergey Solonskiy


"After the Victory during confrontation"
14.07. 2014
Public discussion with participation of Vasyl Cherepanin (Visual culture research centre, Kyiv), Lesia Khomenko (artist, Kyiv), Iryna Sklokina (historian, Kharkiv National University), Igor Volokhov (political activist, Kharkiv), Mykola Ridnyi (artist, curator of the project "After the Victory", Kharkiv)
Photo: Max Robotov





Gazette "After the Victory" in Ukrainian / Russian with texts of Illia Budraitskis, Aleksandr Volodarskiy, Mykola Ridnyi, Serhiy Zhadan: