Text in Ukrainian / Текст українською мовою: З міста Залізобетону
Text in Russian / Текст на русском языке: Из города Железобетона
Kharkiv and Poznań have a lot in common. We are twin cities and in the long history of our relationship there have been many significant activities, including cultural ones.
The municipal galleries of both cities also have a history of cooperation, which, through various municipal and private initiatives, with the support of partner committees and official diplomacy, has helped both countries to establish contacts and cultural cooperation.
Currently, cooperation is taking place at a difficult time for Kharkiv and Ukraine, the time of war. The initiative of our Polish partners to organise an exhibition of Kharkiv-made new media art in Poznań is particularly valuable.
In addition to achieving important professional goals, it is first and foremost an opportunity for Kharkiv-based artists and galleries to join the pan-European cultural community, to express their active creative and civic stance, and to draw the attention of the European public to the culture and current art of a country at war.
The seven artists from Kharkiv taking part in this exhibition, despite their young age, have already gained international acclaim, have acquired extensive exhibition and design experience, and have extensive expertise in working with new media. They are winners of important international art forums. They are all linked by their studies at the Kharkiv Academy of Art and Design and the fact that they have participated in different years in programmes supporting young artists from Kharkiv Municipal Gallery: from its first projects and youth actions in the early 2000s, through to the NonStopMedia Festival (2003-2021) and the Second Biennale of Young Ukrainian Art (2019). The authors who started with our platform as a kind of springboard continue to work with us after achieving fame, a fact we are proud of. Throughout this difficult year of war, wherever they are, at home in Kharkiv or in temporary evacuation, they all continue to work actively, each in their own medium and direction, each uniquely addressing what is happening in the country and the world.
The artists who visited Poznań in 2008, representing the young art of Kharkiv and the NonStopMedia festival, included Artem Volokitin and Roman Minin, who were then at the very onset of their professional careers. Their beginnings were brilliant and impressive, and today both artists are stars of the Ukrainian art scene.
Roman Minin was one of the first artists in Ukrainian art to start working with VR, Crypto Art, NFT. He uses the latest technologies as a universal tool and as an independent artistic medium, although he continues to work successfully with painting, drawing, photography, and street art.
In the exhibition, Minin presents the video New Maya Challenge (with Anton Litvak).
The artist advocates anti-utopian views on history and modernity and reflects on the fate of the modern proletariat/hegemon. Coming from a family of miners in Donbass, Roman knows well what the hard work of the miners is like. He compares their hazy future and desperate present to the downfalls of ancient civilisations.
Artem Volokitin is one of Ukraine’s most sought-after artists, winner of the NonStopMedia Grand Prix, awarded only once so far. He won first place in the 1st Pinchuk ArtPrize competition. He has completed an internship in London with Anthony Gormley and participated in the main programme of the Venice Biennale (2015).
In this exhibition, Artem is showing the video Combinatorics (2013-2022). Its first version won him one of the awards. The current version was upgraded by the author last year during his residency in Germany.
Man and woman are the edges of a cube outlining a common space; when accelerated, the bodies merge into a single mass without forming a single being. The contingency of interdependent reality and the intricacies of human destinies and relationships, like combinations of figures in a programmed game, evoke philosophical allusions, especially now, in our turbulent time.
Uli Golub is the only author in this exhibition to have received professional training as a video artist. After studying at the University of Kharkiv, she completed Sergey Bratkov’s course at Moscow’s Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia.
The repertoire of her artistic practice includes video, installation, performance, photography, and multimedia collage.
The work Cow is the artist’s passionate reaction to the current war in Ukraine, which dates back to 2014. The work was made after the dramatic events in the Donbass region and remains relevant today. The true story, told by Ula’s grandmother, moves viewers to tears and evokes empathy. In her anti-war series, the artist declares humanism and kindness, which can be manifested even in the cruellest of times.
Vlas Belov’s Russia Attacks Ukraine. Kharkiv responds most bluntly and directly to the tragic events in the country, from 24 February 2022 onwards. It is a multimedia collage consisting of an AR Hold installation, a video shot six months before the war and personal photographs from Kharkiv, showing the most tragic days for our city. Through this work the artist protests against the war and destruction and celebrates the heroism of the country’s defenders. The video includes a QR code; after scanning it, one can play the installation in real time and post it on social media to support the image of Ukraine.
Vlas Belov is a conceptual and digital artist, a virtual performer, who immediately after graduating from the academy focused on working in new and latest media. He was one of the first in Kharkiv and the country to take up 3D, VR and NFT-art programmes. He participates in international digital forums and continues to research and develop this innovative direction in art.
Tatyana Malinovskaya’s video, very intuitive and in many respects visionary, addresses the topic of silence, the nature of sound vs. noise, first of all information noise, which permeates the present-day society, engaging in a world of lies and endless fake news.
For many years, Tatyana Malinovskaya has collaborated with Art Volokitin in a joint creative art laboratory. The artist has participated in the Venice Biennale and various major international projects. She is successful in various contemporary media and as a curator.
Sunflowers are a symbol of a flourishing, free Ukraine. However, the enemy may be lurking in their dense and tall stems, too. An endless field of sunflowers appears in the movie Sunflowers by Olia Fedorova. Several hundred Ukrainian soldiers died in such sunflower fields during the tragic battle for Ilovaysk in 2014.
The landscape of her native land, which the artist has been exploring in her art for several years, becomes a point of reference, a form of reflection on national identity and roots. It is also a space for spiritual exploration.
Olia Fedorova is a conceptual artist working with text, photography, video, and multimedia. She practices actionism and performance and actively participates in artist residencies around the world.
In his NFT series, Alexey Yalovega turns towards what is eternal and sacred, and in a 3D sculpture he has achieved an infinite diversity of the simplest and most complex object on Earth, the egg. In addition to aesthetic explorations, analytical reflections on the stylistics of different periods in art history, parodies and media quotations, we see how the author touches on the topical, painful issues of contemporary Ukraine.
Alexey’s creative career is a perfect example of how authors who have received a traditional art education but have mastered modern digital technologies, turn to experimenting with new and old meanings in the newest media.
 The principal art projects within the framework of cultural cooperation and exchange of exhibitions between Poznań and Kharkiv:
- 2000 – a Piotr Szurek exhibition, Kharkiv Municipal Gallery in collaboration with the General Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Kharkiv;
- 2004 – Kharkiv Photography, Poznań, MG / Photographers of Poznań, Kharkiv, Kharkiv Municipal Gallery;
- 2008 – an exhibition of NonStopMedia artists: Artem Volokitin, Hamlet Zinkovsky, Roman Minin, Taras Kamenny in Poznań, with the support of mayor of twin cities.
curator: Tatyana Tumasyan, Kharkiv Municipal Gallery
The Kharkiv Municipal Gallery is the first municipal gallery in Ukraine. During the 26 years of operation, it has become a famous platform of creative, social and cultural initiatives, contributing to the promotion of contemporary art; it is an educational and communications platform for artists, curators and the art community.
Translation from Russian into Polish and Ukrainian: Yuliya Zalozna