Opening: 17th August 2016 at 19.00
Place: National Taras Shevchenko Museum, Kyiv
Address: Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, 12.
Working hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (cash desk till 17:30) TUES-SUN
Exhibition runs: 18 August – 4 September 2016
On the 17th of August at 7pm, the opening will take place in the National Taras Shevchenko Museum in Kyiv of the exhibition «Victories of the Defeated» by Ukrainian artist Yevgenia Belorusets.
The exhibition has been co-authored with curator Tatiana Kochubinskaya and the architect Ivan Melnychuk. The exhibition is devoted to post-industrial Ukraine, to work in coal mines on the edge of the war zone, to contemporary forms of labour in a period of military conflict in Donbas. Besides social questions, the exhibition is concerned with the meaning and role of a document in art and media as a whole.
“Victories of the Defeated” is a cycle of photographs and texts created by Yevgenia Belorusets during the war in Donbas in the towns of Debaltseve, Lysychansk, Vuhlehirsk, Dmitrov 1☭ , Krasnoarmeysk 2☭ , Pryvillia, Novodruzhevsk and Popasna. The artist has been working on the project since 2014, in close collaboration with trade unions, volunteers and human rights groups.
The “Victories of the Defeated” project is the result of the artist’s personal investigations. It speaks about communities which continue to exist in eastern Ukraine on the very edge of military conflict in spite of the legitimised violence of war.
The goal of the project is to focus attention on people and communities, the very existence of which has at times served as an invincible barrier to the spreading of further military violence.
They say that history is written by the victorious. But might it be possible to read or listen to a history written by the defeated? How can we hear the unwritten stories of those, who for one reason or another are not ready to speak? Ludwig Wittgenstein finished his Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus, the ideas for which arose in the trenches of the First World War, with the thesis: “The unspeakable is that about which we must remain silent.” Silence is inherent in a document which presents a reality, yet does not interpret it.
In conditions of the global and localised violence of war, and the divisiveness of any information, it is essential that we find a way back to the demands of the legal and ethical inviolability of human beings. Precisely thanks to a document, we can begin to see connections between authenticity and responsibility. The importance of these connections was written about by philosophers whose work is key to this exhibition – Hannah Arendt and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Excerpts from this series of photographs, taken in the so-called “liberated towns” of eastern Ukraine during 2015-16, have been shown at the memorial to the Berlin wall in Berlin, at the Federal Exhibition Hall in Bonn, and at the Ukrainian National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
The exhibition in Kyiv will be accompanied by unique photographs from the archive of Ukrainian independent trade unions.
A further important element will be a series of public discussions to include participation by the philosopher Boris Buden (Berlin), the art historian Elena Vogman (Berlin), the sociologist and philosopher Olga Shparaga (Minsk), Mikhail Minakov (Kyiv), Kyrylo Tkachenko (Kyiv/Münich), artists Lada Nakonechna, Nikita Kadan, Ivan Melnychuk and others.
Information about Yevgenia Belorusets: Yevgenia Belorusets is an Ukrainian photographer, artist and writer who lives and works in Berlin (Germany) and in Kiev (Ukraine). She is the founder of the journal for literature and art “Prostory” and a member of the curatorial group “Hudrada”. She works with video, photography, installation, on the intersection of art, literature and social activism.
Information about Tatiana Kochubinskaya: Tatiana Kochubinska (born in 1985 in Kyiv) is a Ukrainian art historian, researcher and curator. Graduated from the Art History Department of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture. Worked at the Kiev National Museum of Russian Art in the department of exhibition work (2006–2011). Got an internship in the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (2010) as the scholarship program of the Institute of International Relations (IFA), Stuttgart. Participated in the Curatorial Platform study programme of the PinchukArtCentre, where she works since 2014.
Information about Ivan Melnychuk: Ivan Melnychuk was born 1982 in Lutsk, Ukraine, currently lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine. Architect, artist, member of Melnychuk-Burlaka group, Grupa predmetiv group, Art Workers’ Self-defense Initiative. He specializes in documenting and studying of urban transformations.
☭ Dmitrov and Krasnoarmeysk were renamed respectively Myrnohrad and Pokrovsk in May 2016 as part of Ukraine’s decommunization laws.