Water Wears Away the Stone

Installation: one-channel video, 07:57 min. / granite sculptures (5 pairs in the series; 50x50x20 cm each)


For his film Dima Ridnyi conducted an interview with a former police officer who at some earlier point had decided to leave the police force and now works as a stonemason. Dima explains how his initial idealism and the idea of working for justice as a policeman gradually slipped away in the face of corruption and arbitrariness within the Ukrainian police apparatus. Filmed partly in the style of a classic worker portrait documenting daily operations at the stonemason’s workshop, including footage of the serial production of tombstones, Ridnyi disrupts the routine of Dima’s workday with a special commission: he asks him to carve a pair of police boots out of granite based on the style of a Soviet monument marking the liberation of the city of Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine from National Socialist troops.

Parallel to the reflections and surprisingly clear statements of his protagonist Dima, Ridnyi incorporates short sequences from the 1964 Soviet cartoon Uncle Styopa the Militsioner, whose main protagonist is a friendly and heroic police officer, and The Adventures of Cippolino from 1961, a children’s fairy tale of political repression and solidarity resistance. The idealized world of animated socialist cartoons glaringly underscores the wide gap between ideal and reality.

The installation, featuring the film and the granite boots Dima produced, is part of a larger series of works titled Constant Dropping Wears Away the Stone, which was shown for the first time in the exhibition of shortlisted artists for the Pinchuk Art Center Prize. It was created in a year of the Maidan Revolution, as if in anticipation of an impending protest movement. (Bettina Klein)

"Dima", stills from video

Exhibition History:

2013 - PinchukArtCentre Prize. Exhibition of the Shortlisted Artists, Kyiv, UA

Photo (c) PAC / Serhiy Illyin

2015 - "Least the Two Seas Meet". Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, PL
2015 - "Grammar of Freedom / Five Lessons". Museum for Contemporary Art Garage. Moscow, RU
2018 - "Restless Monuments", Zilberman gallery, Istanbul, TR

Photo (c) Zilberman gallery

2019 - "The Forbidden Image / Crossing Lines". PinchukArtCentre. Kyiv. UA


Ludwig Museum in Budapest, HU