Nikita Kadan

Fear and hope in Ukraine at Pinchuk Centre

Open for a few more weeks at the Pinchuk Centre in Kyiv is Fear and Hope, group exhibition including artists Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, and Artem Volokitin. According to this article, the exhibition is "inspired by the dramatic events that have changed Ukraine forever, the show invites guests to reflect on the Maidan protests that resulted in tragedy, violence and political change in Ukraine—and to think about the future."

You can read more about the entire exhibition on the art center's website which summarizes it nicely. It brings up many questions that have passed through my mind: How do artists deal with and react to national and personal tragedy happening around them? Do these works create enough of a distance for the Ukrainian audience to reflect? Is it too soon? Is it therapeutic? How would this work resonate outside of Kyiv, away from the area where the tragedy occurred? 

I especially respond to Kadryrova's pieces using cut out imagery from newspapers:

Zhanna Kadyrova - Crowd, 2012 – 2013, installation: glass, collages of newspapers, co-produced by PinchukArtCentre

Zhanna Kadyrova - Crowd, 2012 – 2013, installation: glass, collages of newspapers, co-produced by PinchukArtCentre

Babij and Kadan on Guernica

Over the past few months the world has been made very aware of the corruption and self-interest that has been the way of life for Ukraine's government, which therefore trickles down to every aspect of society. Though it can be demonstrated in a very tangible way by seeing the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych's, $3.2 billion mansion outside of Kyiv, it has also been affecting the growing contemporary art world in Ukraine. Using the example of censorship of a piece by Volodymyr Kuznetsov’s piece at the Mystetskyi Arsenal (Ukrainian for “Art Arsenal”) this article is recommended reading in order to understand how artists in Ukraine have dealt with and responded to these challenges as they continue to be issues.

The article, a conversation between Larissa Babij and Nikita Kadan (bios below), was published about a month ago and is from a conversation from the start of 2014, but it is still relevant as we all look toward to the future and what will happen with Ukraine's leadership and how artists are responding to the changes in their society. Read it here.

"As art workers, we continue to practice and defend the right and responsibility of each person to think and act for themselves."- Larissa Babij

From Guernica's site

From Guernica's site

Larissa Babij lives in Kyiv and works with Ukrainian contemporary art as a translator, writer, and curator, and often collaborates with artists to organize experimental projects. Together with the performance group TanzLaboratorium, she has been producing the annual PERFORMATIVITY Educational Art Project since 2011. She is a member of the Art Workers’ Self-Defense Initiative (ISTM).

Nikita Kadan is an artist based in Kyiv. In 2007, he graduated from the National Academy of Fine Art (Kyiv). Since 2004 he has been a member of the REP (Revolutionary Experimental Space) artists group. He is also co-founder and a member of HUDRADA, a curatorial and activist group founded in 2008. Since 2012, he is a member of the Art Workers’ Self-Defense Initiative. Kadan often works in interdisciplinary collaboration with architects, human rights watch activists, and sociologists.