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«Newspeak» is an exhibition of Ukrainian artists curated by Mykola Ridniy in Art Arsenal gallery, Kyiv, 2011

Participants: Uliana Bychenkova, Sasha Kurmaz, Lada Nakonechna, Nikita Kadan, Taras Kamennoy, Volodymyr Kyznetsov, Serhiy Popov, Alexey Salmanov


The title for the exhibition has been borrowed from George Orwell's concept of dystopia. «Newspeak» is his name for the language of totalitarianism and fascism, disfigured by bureaucratic lexical phrases in which words lose their original meaning and, as a result, come to mean their opposite.

The signs of Newspeak are not so difficult to find in modern capitalist society, which claims to oppose totalitarian regimes. The language of political propaganda, imposed globally through mass media, is also designed to disguise or hide critical situations. Concepts are replaced by their opposite: for example, mass civil riots can be ignored by criminalizing them, and targeted killings disguised as an attack by some crazed individual. The spectacle of contemporary culture and entertainment demands amnesia and blindness to social problems, thus serving contemporary political elites. Entertainment and leisure activities are not created with the intention of meeting people’s needs, but for the opposite effect: as a form of enslavement. Newspeak, invented within the concept of dystopia, has now become a reality – an information noise that surrounds and destroys.

In this context, an artist attempts to found a language of confrontation. Art is the opposite of mass media, which seeks to destroy the senses — in essence, art attempts to produce sensory detail. An artist goes to the very core problem: the abuse of power, the manipulation of religion, the worship of capital; all that is imposed upon society by the omission of visual labels.


A transparency of meanings confronts layers of fiction. New language opposes Newspeak. 

Taras Kamennoy «State machine»,  

acryl on canvas, 2011  

Uliana Bychenkova «Unprotected shell»,

acryl on canvas, 2011     

Nikita Kadan «Serial samples (for Kyiv)»,

acryl on the wall, acryl on canvas, 2011

Lada Nakonechna «Idyll», video, 2011     

Sasha Kurmaz «100% quality»,  

engraving on glass, c-print, 2011

Volodymyr Kyznetsov «Verbs», print, 2011

Mykola Ridnyi «Weight of papers», marble, 2011

Serhiy Popov «Black titles», acryl on canvas, 2011     

Alexey Salmanov «Kievan», mixed media, 2011

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