Facing the Wall
2018 - ongoing
Black and white print with chewing gum, 30 x 40 cm / posters in public space
Chewing gum is the perfect symbol for youth culture in its associations with carefree lifestyles, an unwillingness to assume responsibility for one’s actions, and cultural or ideological immaturity. Ridnyi’s work shows that chewing gum eventually hardens into a fairly durable substance. Similar things can occur with ideology, as long as it isn’t questioned.
Facing the Wall series related to the problem of emerging rightwing radicalism in Europe. Printed symbols used by number of neo-Nazi and post-Fascist organizations and groups obscured the chewing gum. Alongside with European parliamentary right-wing parties like French National Front or Hungarian Jobbik there are many radical groups caused violence on streets towards LGBTQ+ activists, migrants and other minorities.
Both Ukrainian and Russian radical nationalists went at the frontline when the war outbreak in the eastern regions of Ukraine in 2014. Since the time their controversial symbolic referring to Nazi symbols, particularly in the case of Azov movement, were largely discussed in the Western media and cased a shadow to the image of Ukrainian army. The significant change in perception of right-wing symbols happened in 2022 with appearance of letter Z which is largely used by Russian army and its supporters. It doesn’t refer to any historical fascist visuality but even the opposite: letter Z usually formed out of St. Georgian ribbon associated with Soviet veterans of the WWII. This way Russian state undercovers own hybrid fascist ideology in order to appropriate symbols and historical events significant for the political left.
“Extremely Normal”, Fotograf festival, Prague, 2022. Photo: Mykola Ridnyi
Mediateca del Mediterraneo, Cagliari, 2022. Photo: Mykola Ridnyi
Centrocelle district, Rome, 2022. Photo: Mykola Ridnyi