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PERMANENT REVOLUTION: BLACK SIBERIA by Mykyta Shalenniy

02 April 2018

PERMANENT REVOLUTION, an exhibition of Ukrainian contemporary art, opens in Ludwig Museum in Budapest. This is the first wide-scale museum presentation of Ukrainian contemporary art to the European audience.

Curator Alisa Lozhkina about work BLACK SIBERIA (Installation, 2016) by Mykyta Shalenniy:

The installation brings into the foreground a whole range of complicated questions and controversies in the past and present of Siberia. The author aims to convey power and original, though sometimes terrifying beauty of the Northern region. When learning about Siberia, you cannot resist its scale, openness, freedom, calmness, and wilderness of its untouched nature.

Mykyta Shalenniy, Black Siberia

There is a belief that the name itself originates from Siberian-Tatar phrase “Syb Ir” meaning “the land that sleeps.” This sleeping beauty is now part of Russia and makes up 77 percent of its territory. The conquest of Siberian territory dates back to the 16th century. At that time groups of Cossacks entered those lands, and the Russian army started conquering the region and building forts, moving further and further east. Until the mid-17th century, the territories controlled by Russia have expanded to the Pacific Ocean, which then led to mass migration of Russians and Ukrainians to Siberia. In the early 20th century, the USSR established powerful infrastructure for exploiting local resources; asymmetrical, parasite relationship between the empire and the colony reached its peak. Taking all the best from Siberia, Russia sent its “unwanted” people there in large numbers. Siberia is a territory symbolizing human suffering. Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners from the Stalin times, their slave work and deaths maimed Siberia’s reputation forever as the most depressive and deserted part of the world. Even today, the mind of any post-Soviet country resident associates deportation to Siberia with the most horrible punishment.

Mykyta Shalenniy, Black Siberia