16 November 2017

Curator Viktoria Burlaka tells about the new project of Contemporary Art School students, which will be exhibited in Zenko Foundation art center till January 10, 2018.

textArt Ukraine

On October 28, Zenko Foundation art space (Tatariv, Koruna hotel complex) opened an exhibition of Contemporary Art School Flash of Today; the exhibition will function until early February. Speaking about the flash of reality, we wanted to discuss the phenomenon of being blinded with one day. It is not the Buddhist sense of completeness in the feeling of here-and-now, as Alisa Grishanova, my colleague and one of the project curators, has pointed out. Instead, it is something opposite –an ephemeral presence in the false reality of the information flow, flashes of quick newsbreaks which are more real than the reality itself, though most often worthless.

Flash of Today, fragment of the exposition

A hit of the exhibition are photos by Anna Legenka (Kyiv) – they catch your eye first because their message is loud and clear. It is believed that contemporary art is impossible to understand without a comment; that’s why it has now become fashionable to accompany one’s works with a complicated textual explanation. It is great to see there are still exceptions to this rule; as they say, if the idea is visible and witty enough, it needs no comment. The tank tops with the highest-echelon politicians mixed up in sex scandals are grotesquely deformed on a woman’s big bosom. This is a witty female reply to male sexism.

Yulia Kisel (Kyiv) continues productively working on her “childhood trauma”: she buys “kewpie dolls,” as she calls them, at flea markets and encases them in concrete. The work is gut-wrenching in its frankness; many women will surely react to it. Dirty, untidy, but still touching kewpies drowning in concrete, with their arms and legs flailing, cause a sharp feeling of pity. This is a scary and deep metaphor – somebody’s never-born children and those doomed to live in poverty or abandoned by their parents. In a too obvious way, the dolls dying before our eyes reflect the human’s inner feelings in the society of total insecurity…

Anna Kostyuk Sea of Opportunities, Ocean of Desires

The installation by Anna Kostyuk (Kyiv) is similar to the statement by Yulia Kisel. The former speaks about a million lost opportunities, about a choice without choice for a contemporary woman. The human embryo is attached to the inner wall of a huge glass of wine associated with the womb, or the uterus. What does an emancipated woman get instead of motherhood? Does career deserve the sacrifices brought for the sake of it? An existential work by Viktoria Likholyot (Kharkiv) rudely destroys the comfortable illusion of permanent present and makes us think about the inevitable end. The “boring” Derzhprom building video is projected at the frame of an old mattress from the dump. This “skeleton,” which has become a blind spot in the field of vision, and the monotonous but still beautiful meditative sight reminds us of the event which is the real reverse starting point of each life. The magic reality turned inside out until no longer recognizable is documented by Vasiliy Ravlyuk’s works: he continues his “thermal vision” project based on shots made by thermal camera. The photos by Elena Lukyanova are also beautiful: the “life sketches” portraying mischievous boys splashing in the fountain on a hot summer day, not aware yet of such scary words as “time management,” remind us that childhood is a paradise we’ve all lost…

Personally, I was delighted to see the sophisticated works by Lviv graduates of the school. The intelligent habitation of the suburbs is portrayed in a conceptual work by Natalia Mysak; The City Ends in the South. In their everyday life, artists are most often in contact with faceless suburbs than with the pompous and recognizable city center, so they try to make the facelessness, blurriness, and wideness of this almost rural horizon as aesthetic as possible. Nazar Mostovyi, just like Anna Legenka, passes the audience a crystal clear and extremely ironic message, mocking at the libido nature of current narcissistic selfie culture. Bunches of selfie sticks are inserted into vaginas from sex shop – and here it is, the most popular hybrid “object of desire” nowadays…

Yana Aftanaziv, Alisa Grishanova, Zenko Aftanaziv, Viktoria Burlaka

Yana Aftanaziv, Alisa Grishanova, Zenko Aftanaziv and Viktoria Burlaka

No matter how it may be, in spite of inner conflicts arising because of much too direct and traumatizing contact with the nerve of the present (and possibly thanks to this) the exhibition became memorable. Talented artists had a good start and an opportunity to show what they are capable of. As a representative of Contemporary Art School, I would express once again my gratitude to Zenko Foundation. Thanks to the resources invested by this institution, our mutual promises to socialize budding artists are not just empty words. All of us received moral compensation from the show, from memorable, provocative and profound, entrancing works. As well as from realizing the value of our mission – if you invest in forming artists, this always brings fruit. Their creative growth also contains your merit.

Viktoria Burlaka

More about the project