2012 - 2013
Installation. Consist of two one-channel videos (6’13’’ and 3’34’’) and concrete sculptures (6 in the series).
This work consist of three corresponding elements: two short films and a series of sculptures. The main object in the short film Shelter is an undergroundshelter repurposed for a kind of school that delivers pre-service training. Themain character, an elderly teacher, also an archetype of Soviet ideology, doesnot seem to care about the contemporary political situation, instead opting tostay true to his own principles that have been inculcated into him throughmilitary service. His students could care less about the patriotism promoted inthe schoolbooks from their teenage years; instead, they reserve their passionsfor the shooting ranges, inspired by computer games and Hollywood actionmovies. During the Cold war the political propaganda of the USSR and US produced a social phobia connected to the threat of nuclear war and the cult of defense. In modern Ukraine, many fallout shelters from the past have since been sealed. A few have been converted to serve new functions, adapted to different needs through individual creativity, spurred on by an overall lack of facilities.
For the short film Father's story Ridnyi asked his father to make a video tour of the cellar beneath the rural house in which his family used to live. A voiceover features Ridnyi’s father describing objects in the dark cellar such as jars with homemade vegetable preserves, glasses for moonshine, old newspapers with pictures of Lenin and the proletariat, all of which surface old memories about his parents and nostalgia for a Soviet childhood.
Two films are accompanied by aseries of objects: architectural models of hidden spaces constructed asshelters in the Soviet era. In this context, structures from the builtenvironment are transformed into concrete sculptural forms. This complex ofworks made in 2012-2013 featuring shelter as both a relic and a phenomenaacquired new meaning in 2014. Upon the invasion of East Ukraine many shelterswere converted back into their original function; many high-school graduateswere drafted into the army, while others joined volunteer military battalions.
"The Monument to A Monument", National Pavilion of Ukraine at the 55th Venice biennial for Contemporary Art, 2013. Photo: Mykola Ridnyi
"Shelter", Visual Culture Research Center, Kyiv, 2014. Photo: Oleksandr Burlaka
"Politics of Form", GfZK - Museum of Contemporary ArtLeipzig, 2015. Photo: GfZK / Michael Ritzmann
“Transition”, LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Munster, 2022. Photo: LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur