16 October 2017

Festivities Are Cancelled!: an exhibition at the Kyiv Biennial 2017

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On October 20 and 25, within the framework of The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 – will be the openings of the two platforms of the exhibition “Festivities Are Cancelled!” by the curatorial collective Hudrada: at the “UFO” at metro Lybidska (Ukrainian Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information) and the Pavlo Tychyna Literary Memorial Museum in Kyiv.    

Festivities are canceled!: the lights are out, decorations have been torn down and a padlock hangs on the door to the banquet hall. The story has been quarantined for cleaning and those who came to see it will find no traces.

The past is crosschecked with the present and must be adapted to new conditions and goals.

Soviet censorship – authoritarian, restrictive and deadly – took the place of revolutionary ideas, using as cover the mission to protect them against counterrevolution. Its expansion into all areas of public life meant an end to paradoxical foresight, attempts to freely design a new society.

The exhibition Festivities are Cancelled! is dedicated to the memory of revolution and the phenomenon of censorship. This exhibition was necessitated not so much by the date – a century since the revolutionary events of 1917 – as by the relevance of a conversation about revolutionary impulses, writing of history, formation of collective memory, censorship and self-censorship.    

An important date can become challenging when it ends up in historical emptiness, when its undefined meaning and all the contexts associated it drift toward the irrelevant. It seems to be rejected by government, by society, by mechanisms of knowledge – science and art. So what is the meaning behind the collective gesture to reject a date, an “anniversary”, a former “holiday”? How and at what price does the “present” become a historical event?

Among the wide spectrum of phenomena related to revolution and the formation of memory, the Hudrada curatorial group focuses on the topic of censorship. During times of crisis, in a society living through war, censorship and self-censorship can seem like the only natural defense mechanism against the aggressor. While a revolutionary gesture asserts the potential for collective polyphonic social creativity, censorship seeks an unambiguous picture of the world, as if created by a single authoritarian entity.    

A democratic revolution allows the most diverse, and sometimes contradictory, ideas and interpretations of the past and present to enter the public space. Censorship – street-level, grassroots and state-sponsored – destroys the public space, making discussion pointless. After all, its goal is not only to eliminate undesirable opinions, but to embed self-censorship as a pre-emptive practice.

The exhibition at the “UFO”, the Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information in Kyiv near the Lybidska metro station, opens first and will be filled with artistic statements about the crisis of political imagination that distances our era from a revolutionary state, while the revolutionary power of despair and negativity brings us closer.

The exhibition at the “UFO” will be the last chance to see the modernist interior of the institute the way it was designed by architects Florian Yuriev and Lev Novikov in 1964; after the exhibition the building will undergo a complete renovation.

The exhibition at the Pavlo Tychyna Literary Memorial Museum will continue what was said in the first platform with a conversation about Soviet censorship and its footprint on modern social practices. During the exhibition there will be a discussion about censorship of art and instances of such censorship in the history of independent Ukraine.  

20 October 2017, 19:00 – opening of The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 and the exhibition Festivities Are Canceled! at the Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information (180 Antonovycha St., metro Lybidska).

25 October 2017, 18:00 – opening of the second platform of the exhibition Festivities Are Canceled! at the Pavlo Tychyna Literary Memorial Museum (5 Tereshchenkivska St., #1-3)

Participants of the exhibition:

Emanuel Almborg (Sweden), Yana Bachynska, Babi Badalov (France), Yevgenia Belorusets, David Chichkan, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Lesia Khomenko, Pavel Khailo, Vasyl Lozynski, Larion Lozovoy, Yuri Leiderman, Lada Nakonechna, Deimantas Narkevičius (Lithuania), Vlada Ralko,  Oleksandr Ranchukov, Р.Е.П. Andriy Sagaydakovsky, Sergey Shabokhin (Belarus), Olia Sosnovskaya, Alexander Ugay (Kazakhstan), Leonid Voytsehov, Yana Volkova, (Belarus), Elena Vogman (Germany), Clemens von Wedemeyer (Germany), Anna Zvyagintseva

Hudrada in an interdisciplinary curatorial group. Hudrada doesn’t sanction, but rather exposes and strengthens the contradictions that arise in curatorial work.

Members of the group that worked on the exhibition Festivities Are Canceled!: Yevgenia Belorusets, Kateryna Badianova, Nikita Kadan, Dana Kosmina, Vasyl Lozynski, Lada Nakonechna, Lesia Khomenko

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More about the program of Kyiv Biennial 2017 – The Kyiv International: http://vcrc.org.ua/international/

Press Release RU