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

Pinchuk Art Centre

If visiting Kyiv you will be sure not to miss the long lines outside of the Pinchuk Art Centre, home to exhibitions by international blue-chip artists as well as local talent. You can visit an ethereal cafe on the top floor overlooking Kyiv's city center and enjoy some hard-to-find vegetarian food options. It's a nice place to visit, but let's get to the point below.

inside the cafe

inside the cafe

View outside the top floor cafe   

View outside the top floor cafe

 

Like with most things I have encountered in Ukraine, the Pinchuk Centre elicits contrasting views and opinions. It was started by Viktor Pinchuk in 2006,  a Ukrainian, oligarch, billionaire, businessman, son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Kuchma, philanthropist and of course, art collector. People line up and wait to see exhibitions and openings here (for free) by artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Olafur Eliasson. Frankly, it's exciting that Ukrainians have access to the global art world, it commands new conversations and it is a cultural cornerstone for the city. However, it also has interpreted that contemporary art in all of it's forms is primarily an international luxury item. It has been described to me as a "small island of wealth" in Ukraine while long-standing art institutions like the Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art in Kyiv are nurturing the country's meaningful art dialog while struggling for funding.

That said, it has been good to see that slowly the Pinchuk Centre is collaborating with Ukrainian artists more and more over the years through exhibitions. Their foundation also offers a yearly competition for the Future Generation Art Prize, a $100k international art prize. In 2012 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye from the UK won,  in 2011 it was Ukrainian artist Mykyta Kadan, and in 2010 the winner was Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle. 

My hope is that their efforts to include more and more Ukrainians and emerging talent within their galleries will help to bridge the gap to that luxury island.