Obieg no. 14: Euphoria and Fatigue. Ukrainian Art and Society after 2014
publication date: 30th March 2020
In 2014, the world's attention was focused on Ukraine in view of the revolutionary events of Euromaidan and the subsequent war in the Donbass. Information about the revolution took over the world’s news feeds. The formation of a civil society, its self-organization, and sacrifice in the name of revolution were highly encouraged, while the events of that time were presented with unprecedented euphoria. However, after some time had passed and given the 6-year experience of the ongoing war, the political crisis, and unresolved social problems, the ubiquitous euphoria was replaced by fatigue and was accompanied by frustration and disbelief.
These events could not but affect the art. Many contemporary artists in Ukraine responding to the present day are largely afraid to look into the future. They prefer to try and understand the past historical and political events, revealing at the same time their inability to look at the present, which is not possible to grasp or to record.
This special issue addresses identity and questions any need for identification in the modern world, touching upon the fragility of borders, labor migration, and a shifting political landscape. Additionally we touch on violence and the public field, the nature of compromise, and being uncompromising as a vanishing form of artistic expression.
Kateryna Iakovlenko is a contemporary art researcher, art critic and journalist. She got an MA in journalism and social communication at the Donetsk National University. For six years she has been researching transformation of the heroic narrative of Donbas through new media as a postgraduate thesis at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. For more than seven years she has been writing about art and culture in various Ukrainian and European media. Worked as deputy web editor in The Day newspaper (2013-2014), and curator and program manager in Donbas Studies Research Project at the IZOLYATSIA, platform for cultural initiatives (2014-2015). Her current research interest touches on the subject of art during political transformations and war, and explores women's and gender optics in visual culture. She was the editor of the books Gender Studies by Donbas Studies Research Project (2015) and Why There Are Great Women Artists in Ukrainian Art (2019). Now she works as a researcher and public programme curator at the PinchukArtCentre.
Tatiana Kochubinska is an independent curator, writer and lecturer based in Kyiv. Her main expertise is Ukrainian contemporary art. In 2016–2019 she curated the Research Platform of the PinchukArtCentre, where she was engaged in curating, research and publication programmes. She edited the book PARCOMMUNE. Place. Community. Phenomenon devoted to Kyiv squatting group. In her curatorial practice, Tatiana deals with questions of responsibilities, memory, and trauma, connecting the Soviet past with today’s society. This is reflected in a series of exhibitions such as Guilt (2016), Anonymous Society (2017), and Motherland on Fire (2017). She curated the PinchukArtCentre Prize in 2015 and 2018 and co-curated Future Generation Art Prize in 2019 and the FGAP@Venice as a collateral event of the 58th Venice Biennale. In 2020 she co-curated Almost There online exhibition within the British Council project Museum Without Walls.
Kateryna Badianova, Asia Bazdyrieva, Boris Buden, Ievgeniia Gubkina, Alevtina Kakhidze, Lesia Kulchynska, Larion Lozovyi, Mykola Ridnyi, Hanna Tsyba, Tetiana Zhmurko.