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)

Pretty accurate is the claim that there is no objective history. Schoolbooks are being corrected and rewritten according to the interests of today’s politics, shedding light on something that had not been important before, or the opposite – erasing some events from the memory. One of the most problematic dates that cause disputes and conflicts in Ukrainian society is the 9 May, known as the Victory Day. The positions of the winners and the defeated are boosted, gaining the speculative turn of today's context. The specificity of Ukrainian sociopolitical situation has spawned two poles that speculate on various historical facts. The current context of Victory Day balances between decorative holiday with parade, fireworks and concerts of pop singers 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 the historical justice, who manifest either with red-black flags of Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or the Ribbon of St. George, on the other. Besides stirring up civil strife, this active binarity tramples on the memory and respect to the perished victims of war, passing from occasionality to a violent ritual picking up steam headily. However, describing the situation only in black and white, good and bad, left and right – is wrong, moreover, it is mendacious. Mendacity is the political theater that mixes up extremely important and poignant concepts: patriotism and fascism, antifascism and imperialism. Ukrainian politicians had been engaged in speculations focused on the events of the past instead of solving current problems, which resulted in jeopardizing the integrity of the state and the society, and transforming former friends, colleagues and neighbors into enemies.

The current Ukrainian situation of permanent protest flares, overwhelmed by the substitution of concepts, is complicating the position of adequate analysis and reflection that would not be tainted by the deceit of the radical binarity. Realpolitik requires constant updating, as well as getting rid of the false and absurd propaganda that makes someone choose only one side, despising the others, and relegates the civic energy in the hopeless direction of hatred, which is expedient to particular groups of political elites. Through research, analysis, feedback and other instruments of art, for understanding the situation it is important to present different points of view, which are fair toward society, as well as particular individuals, who respect the historical memory, but 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: