The Pinchuk Art Centre presents a solo by South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape, winner of the 2017 Future Generation Art Prize, and an exhibition of the shortlisted artists for the PinchukArtCentrePrize 2018.
Art Radar looks at the two exhibitions and the works on show.
PinchukArtCentre Prize 2018: shortlisted artists exhibition
On view until 13 May 2018 in Kyiv, the PinchukArtCentre is presenting an exhibition of 20 shortlisted artists for the fifth edition of the PinchukArtCentre Prize, a biannual prize awarded to the best Ukrainian artists younger than 35, launched in 2008. Funded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, the prize is aimed at fostering, supporting and developing a new generation of Ukrainian artists. The show focuses on the presentation of new commissions, produced with the support of the PinchukArtCentre.
The exhibition, curated by Tatiana Kochubinska, the Research Platform curator at Pinchuk Art Centre, brings together a group of artists from an unprecedented variety of regions across Ukraine, as well as artists of Ukrainian origin living abroad. The range of subjects in the exhibition is also as varying, with some dealing with the socio-political narratives of Ukraine as a country in conflict, and the potential future positions and utopian constructions that might emerge from the politically unstable present. Others focus on the structural possibilities of medium specificity and self-exploration of form.
Of this iteration of the prize, Bjorn Geldhof, Artistic Director of the PinchukArtCentre, said:
With the 5th edition, we celebrate 10 years of the PinchukArtCentre Prize supporting and enabling a new generation of Ukrainian artists. After so many years, having welcomed so many artists, I can only be proud to observe a radically new generation of artists coming to the art scene. Their concerns, language, and subjects are different; they announce a new way of thinking and a new way of showing what Ukrainian art could be for the future.
The 20 nominees for the PinchukArtCentre Prize 2018 were shortlisted by an independent selection committee from more than 650 applicants. The 20 shortlisted artists are: Iuliana Golub, Taras Kamennoi, Vitalii Kokhan, Sasha Kurmaz, Larion Lozovyi, Roman Mikhaylov, Oleg Perkowsky, Sergii Radkevych, Yevgen Samborsky, Dmytro Starusiev, Ivan Svitlychnyi, Kateryna Yermolaeva.
5th Edition of the PinchukArtCentre Prize’s winners
The winners of the Prize were announced at the recent award ceremony in April 2018. The distinguished international jury consisted of Bjorn Geldhof, the artist Zhanna Karydrova, Alicia Knock, curator of the Centre Pompidou, Viktor Musiano, curator and editor-in-chief of Artistic magazine and Daniel Muzyczuk, curator of the Museum Sztuki.
Anna Zvyagintseva is the winner of the Main Prize of UAH250,00 (approx. USD10,000), as well as a one-month residency in the studio of an internationally renowned artist. Additionally, Zvyagintseva is automatically included in the shortlist for the Future Generation Art Prize 2019 – the international art prize for young artists, established by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 2009. As the jury said of her winning works,
Anna Zvyagintseva captured the attention of the jury through a well-refined and precise formal language. In a very discreet way, her poetics unravel an understated political dimension to the viewer. She defines drawing as a form of open writing that expands into sculpture and space. Her methods record the movement of bodies and draws from the everyday, both personal and collective. We recognise her consistent practice and thoughtful artistic potential.
Zvyagintseva’s winning presentation features three works united by the idea of automatic writing. The artist used the white walls of the gallery as a base for a voluminous graphite drawing that is erased and muddied over time, with direct input from the viewers. This drawing, produced by unconscious actions over time (traces of hands touching the handrails, cigarettes snuffed out on the wall, etc.), captivates the artist both as a collective artwork and as an expressive utterance. Drawing occupies the central position in Zvyagintseva’s art practice, undergoing transformations through the introduction of various materials, as well as the movement from two-dimensional surface into spatial object.
Mykola Karabinovych is the winner of the First Special Prize, whose work The Voice of the Thin Silence (2018) particularly resonated with the jury. As they commented,
We recognise its minimal and simple formulation that contradicts the complexity of a historical yet intimate narrative. It is a dedicated performative gesture turned into a humble transient monument occupying the memory of the repressed, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality.
In the work, Karabinovych addresses the tragic history of repressions, deportations, sadness, mourning and sacrifices through the lens of his family history. The artist’s great-grandfather, an ethnic Greek, was arrested and deported to Kazakhstan in 1949, where he died five years later.
The search for information and his father’s memories about his grandfather reminded Karabinovych of “rebetiko”, a Greek music genre that emerged in Athens in the 1930s and is strongly associated with persons who have immigrated from Asia Minor. In The Voice of the Thin Silence, Karabinovych asked the musician Yuriy Gurzhy to create a rebetiko song, and travelled to the town of Shelek (formerly Chilik) in Kazakhstan to install a symbolic monument to victims of repressions. The monument is a loudspeaker that broadcasts a piercing mourning song over the silent Kazakh steppe.
The collaborative duo of Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey are the winners of the Second Special Prize for the film work To Whom Have Thou Abandoned Us, Our Father? (2018), which takes its title from a line spoken by the people’s choral in the first scene of the prologue to the 1873 opera Boris Godunov, written by Modest Mussorgsky. The jury stated:
We recognise the seductive professional visual language of the film by Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey. It captures real people in a daily situation with a particular eye for detail, slowly enticing the viewers into a surprising experience with an unexpected twist that takes them from reality to the threshold of the sublime.
The image of “the people” is central to the film, which features choristers from the Chernihiv District Philharmonic orchestra, documenting their day-to-day work life and the time before recitals. The camera follows them, singling out quotidian scenes evocative of monotonous factory work. The impression of song defined as scripted labour is further underscored by a bell that punctuates the plot’s unfolding. In the final scene of the film, the protagonists sing the choral part of the Mussorgsky’s opera, but with a genuinely personal inflection. The lines of the opera, which appeal to “the lessons of the past”, draw parallels with present-day political realities, demonstrating “the scenery” that Russia has found itself in. The film offers a critical perspective on the antiquated image of the once-imperial nation.
Alina Kleitman is the winner of the Public Choice Prize, for her work Ask A Mom (2017-2018), which addresses childhood fears, phobias and experiences. The artist plunges the viewers into suspense, forcing them to wander the labyrinth of various feelings, from fear to reproach. In multiple video projections, Kleitman monumentalises body parts, and underscores gestures that are demonstrative, mentorly or oppressive in nature, inviting the viewers to reflect on childhood fears and memories.
Other shortlisted artists
Yulia Krivich (age 29, from Dnipro) has presented works from her ongoing series Daring Youth (2015-). The title refers to a gang known as the Daring Youth, whom the artist met a few years ago and has photographed repeatedly. The young people in the photographs are hoodlums, war veterans and right-wing political activists, and yet belong to the globalised and homogenised forms of youth culture: they travel, party, ride their bikes, and curate and promote their self-image on social networks, particularly Instagram.
In Krivich’s presentation, the series of photographs is shown with an art book created by the artist, inspired by library records found in the Ilyich Palace of Culture in Dnipro – the artist’s hometown – which document Leninist propaganda among youth. Using the library records as her starting point, Krivixh has created an art book that unites her own photographs, snapshots from her protagonists’ Instagram accounts, and political slogans from the library records, juxtaposing Soviet and present-day instruments of propaganda.
Mykhailo Alekseienko (age 27, from Kyiv) bases his creative practice on the principles of relational aesthetics: for him, the viewers’ direct participation is an integral part of an artwork. Startup Troeschyna is his long-term project geared primarily towards fundraising for cultural initiatives. Its goals include the development of the Apartment 14 independent art space, a self-sustaining artist collective founded by Alekseinko in 2016, in a two-bedroom apartment in the run-down Kyiv suburb of Troeschyna that formerly belonged to his grandmother.
Startup Troeschyna actively fundraises to support developing cultural projects in Kviv’s residential district, by selling artworks and limited editions by the artist, based on a tiered form of membership that rewards financial support with artistic exclusivity.
Pavlo Khailo (29, from Lugansk/Kyiv) presents Revision of Rules, a participatory work inspired by economic game theory. Performers acting as white-collar workers dictate the rules of the games to the viewers, and invite the viewers to discuss them – but without changing them. At the same time, their actions in space are defined by the social interactions they have established for one another.
In Revision of Rules, the participants engage in a daring experiment: they play themselves, albeit alienated by the exhibition space. The very term “performance” here gains an economic dimension, referring to productivity and efficiency rather than spectacle. The work sees consensus in play as a metaphor for political consensus, and the critical diffusion of knowledge and discussion as potential agents for radical change. Agreement to follow the rules is the basic precondition of any game’s success. In the artist’s view, game simulation blurs the line between games and not-games, transforming playing from a liberating practice into an instrument of economic subjugation that maintains the status quo.
Revkovskiy and Rachinski
In their art, the collaborative duo of Daniil Revkovskiy (age 24, from Kharkiv) and Andrij Rachinskiy (age 27, from Kharkiv) engage with social problems and introduce the strategies associated with investigative journalism. Their works reimagine found and collected footage provided by the urban environment and social networks.
For the work presented at Pinchuk, the tram tragedy of 1996 in the city of Dniprodzerzhynsk (now Kamianske) was their starting point. A KTM-5 tram suffered a braking system failure, resulting in the deaths of 34 people and in injuries to more than 100. The story inspired the artists to conduct an investigation into the tragedy that uncovered deeper systemic issues of regulatory conformism and administrative neglect.
Dineo Seshee Bopape: winner of Future Generation Art Prize 2017
Concurrently, the PinchukArtCentre presents a solo exhibition by Dineo Seshee Bopape, who was awarded the Main Prize of the fourth edition of the Future Generation Art Prize in 2017, for an earth sculpture made of rich black local Ukrainian soil that acted as a platform for objects, organic forms and geological fragments that represent actions and symbols.
The show is the first solo exhibition in Eastern Europe for Bopape – a South African multimedia artist who was born in 1981. Where the Pinchuk Art Prize focuses on emerging Ukrainian artists, the Future Generation Art Prize is open to artists of all nationalities and similarly enables the production of new work.
Bopape’s work was presented as part of “The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2017” exhibition – an official collateral event of the 57th Venice Biennale organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the PinchukArtCentre. Bjorn Geldhof, who curated Bopape’s exhibition in Kyiv as well the Ukrainian pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, said:
We continue a beautiful tradition of presenting the winner of the Future Generation Art Prize with a solo exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre. Dineo Seshee Bopape has expanded the workgroup for which she was awarded the prize in Kyiv in 2017 with a new monumental earthwork. Her use of Ukrainian soil enables the viewers to experience soil in a completely different way. Not only is it a political narrative, but it also manifests as a source of energy and feeling.
Bopape’s practice uses experimental video montages, sound, found objects, photographs and dense sculptural installations to engage with powerful socio-political notions of memory, narration and representation. She was born in Polokwane, South Africa, and studied painting and sculpture at the Durban Institute of Technology, and graduated from De Ateliers in Amsterdam in 2007. In 2010 she completed an MFA at Columbia University in New York.
The show at Pinchuk includes a major soil installation produced especially for the space, drawing on the artist’s iterative practice of works in soil. The new monumental earth piece is inspired in form by ancient spiritual places and draws upon traditional fertility iconography. Ukrainian soil is used to evoke ideas of belonging, nationhood and identity. Using local soil is a tool for the artist to ground her work within its location, whilst still maintaining its connection to African tradition. As she said of a soil work exhibited at the São Paulo Biennial in 2017:
The work is similar, with the same ground and base ideas or starting point. The soil is different. The soil treatment is different. The space is different. The team is different. The place is similar but different. People’s relationship to land and soil, and to Afro-diasporic aesthetics, and the angle through which one perceives Land art… In New York, there is [Walter De Maria’s] The New York Earth Room; in São Paulo, there are Mayan temples. When first conceiving the work, I was thinking of the South/Southern African context in particular: the histories of indigenous African women’s bodies, African spiritual and cultural practices, particular rituals and games. I was not thinking much of the audience, but more of the asymmetries of context.
On top of the layers of compacted Ukrainian soil, Bopape plays with compositions of herbs, crystals, clay and gold leaf, as well as samples of earth collected from spiritual places around the world. Her work becomes a host for synergies of signs, beliefs and energies, transforming the earthly materials by reclaiming and re-discovering lost traditions that privilege ritualistic spirituality over western rationalism.
Both exhibitions are on view from 24 February to 13 May 2018 at Pinchuk Art Centre, 1/3-2, “А” Block, Velyka Vasylkivska / Baseyna str., Kyiv, Ukraine 01004.
- South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape wins Future Generation Art Prize 2017 – interview – April 2018 – Art Radar talks to South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape about her work and winning the Future Generation Art Prize 2017
- “Sealed Time”: Nadia Kaabi-Linke on historical memory and the legacy of colonialism – interview – January 2018 – Art Radar talked to Nadia Kaabi-Linke about her latest retrospective exhibition “Sealed Time”
- “Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism”: Russian artist Anton Vidokle on Utopia – October 2017 – Art Radar looks at the ideas behind “Immortality for All” by Anton Vidokle
- Future Generation Art Prize 2017 announces shortlisted artists – November 2016 – young artists from Asia and Africa dominate the Future Generation Art Prize 2017 shortlist
- FT/Oppenheimer Emerging Voices Award 2016 visual art winner and runner-ups – October 2016 – Art Radar takes a look at the winner of the art category of the 2016 Emerging Voices Awards and speaks to runners-up
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