Igår öppnade en ny utställning på Dzyga – щось тут не так, vilket betyder något är fel här. Det är en fin utställning, nyfiken och lekfull. Jag tycker bäst om de små teckningarna där Oleg laborerar med datorspråk och uttryck – ett slags analogt svar på vår teknikfixerade tid.
Just nu pågår en mycket fin utställning på galleri Primus i Lviv. Det är Romana Romanyshyn som ställer ut sina fina och underfundiga verk. ЧЕРВОНА КНИГА, Röd bok, som utställningen heter, innehåller illustrationen, etsningar och målningar.
Romanyshyns språk är lekfullt och inte översållat med symbolik, så som mycket konst är här. Hennes teknik är dessutom ofta lika intressant som själva motiven. Hon har bland annat jobbat med samma teknik som man använder för att göra ikoner, men hennes budskap är knappast religiöst utan fantasifullt och egensinnigt.
Sedan min ankomst till Lviv är detta den absolut finaste och intressantaste utställningen jag sett. Romana Romanyshyns stil har tagit steget in i en europeisk kontext, och avståndet mellan Lvivs och ex. Berlins gallerier känns plötsligt inte så lång!
Olga Kwasha, hemmahörande i Lviv, har en separat utställning på Green Sofa. Hennes målningar utgår från Lviv, Karpaterna och livet i västra Ukraina. Hon målar med en utpräglad naivism och tidsangivelsen ligger ofta i en annan metavärld.
Jag är van vid att konst kommunicerar med vår samtid – med kritik, ironi etc. Olga Kwasha gör inte det, vilket känns något förvirrande! För mig är konst inte bara något som ska försköna vår vardag utan även säga något om vår vardag, våra liv, våra öden. En kritisk udd hade enligt min mening höjt Olga Kwashas verk och kanske hade konstrasterna hjälpt till att skapa en narrtivitet, som jag nu känner att de saknar.
Å andra sidan ser jag att det inte är Olga Kwashas önskemål. Hon vill skapa en bild av en värld som inte finns, där drömmar och önskningar uppfylls, och där regn, snö, sol är en inramning till en harmonisk värld.
Last week viewpoint-east.org introduced a new element, a virtual gallery. After Maria Magnusson’s set S:t Petersburg 1995/2010 was published, I thought to myself that it would be nice with a reply, from today’s Petersburg. I started to search and I found Ekaterina Khozatskaya, an Urban Sketcher for S:t Petersburg.
Here is her set cha-cha-changes and below you can read her own thoughts.
I was born in S:t petersburg 23 years ago and lived there for all my life. I was only 9 years in 1995, so I don’t remember much from that time. I remember my school, coffe with buns, women selling “Pribaltic”-sweaters and wool hoods in front of DLT (Leningrad trade house). Illegal, I suppose.
15 years have passed, Life differents much, but it seems that it has always been like that. People moved from kitchens and backstreets to bars and cafes. Sushi restaraunts on every corner, coffe shops, and italian restaraunts, english pubs and swiss bakeries.
Hypermarkets, and shopping centers: “Red triangle” boots replaced by hundreds of foreign companies. It’s not a problem to go abroad any more. In the 90’s it was hard to imagine that computers, internet, mobile phones would exists in almost every house. But today it is a fact!
Of course it’s not for everyone and you can still meet lots of people like on Marias photos, which are not victims of fashion, and lots of shops without food, still.
But a lot of things have changed. As you can see in my sketches.
viewpoint-east.org proudly presents a brand new element – online virtual gallery with a different viewpoint.
First one out is Maria Magnusson.
Maria grow up at a farm at the Swedish country side, in a small village called Norra Björke. She has BA and MA in Photography at The University of Gothenburg, Sweden and a BA of Arts in History and Theory of Art also at The University of Gothenburg.
Maria is working as a photographer and occasionally as DJ and has been engaged on special projects at Stockholm City Museum. In October 2009 she participated in the 12th Annual Antimatter Film Festival, Canada, with the art video Bliss out. She was also a warm-up DJ to Jan St Werner (Mouse on Mars) at Riche, Stockholm, October 2009.
This is Maria’s words about the pictures:
S:t Petersburg 1995/2010
It has been 15 years since I looked at these pictures. They were photographed in spring 1995. It was my first trip to S:t Petersburg, Russia.
I went there with my friend Oleg Bogdanov who is a Sociologist and was
born in the city. He did a work about young people living in S:t Petersburg and I took portraits of the interviewee.
At first glance, it strikes me that these pictures looks contemporary. Like they could have being taken today. The clothes and hairdos are highly in fashion now. Time aspect is playing a trick. The time spinning around like
a lottery wheel and has stopped at 2010, when nostalgia for the 80’s in fashion, music and ideas are at it’s peak.
Looking at these portraits again I see the innocence of youth ready to
make steps through adolescence.
What are they doing today I wonder?
Read the Swedish version here.
What is avantgarde? I ask myself while sitting with avant-garde sculptor, musician, poet and theatre man Yuriy Zmorovych in his chaotic but very cozy studio in central Kyiv. Books, sculptures, self-made instruments, videotapes, DVDs and vinyl records are stacked in a very wayward regime only known by Yuriy. How should I manage to explain the greatness, humor and the presence of this man’s work, by just using some few words? I ask myself further. For many the term avant-garde have elitistic, pretentious and even obsolete conjections. But Yuriy Zmorovychs avantgarde do not fit into this description. His avantgarde expression is playful, intelligence which feels current and contemporary, without being pretentious. It must be the humor that is key to, I think, for Yuriy has no problem laughing captivating when he talks about his own creations and ideas.
Yuriy Zmorovych has a great production. He began his career as an improviser in early 1970s. And in the early 1980s, he met the Russian musician and avantgardist Sergei Letov. This meeting has led to several collaborations, but in the beginning it was actually mainly film-making and Yuriy made two films together with Letov, improvised on the theme of creation.
In the 1990s he started to work with international artists and one of the more memorable was when he worked with the French group improvisation ARFI. (ARFI stands for Association à la recherche d’un Folklore imaginaire.) In a few weeks in August 1991 they played on a river boat that went from Kiev to Odessa. Between their improvisations, they all sat like glued in front of the radio and listened to the reports on events from Moscow. It was the time when the Soviet Union fell apart.
In constant opposition
For Yuriy, this was symbolic. He went on his river boat and broke new ground, or traveling in new waters, with avantgarde musicians who had similar views on the creation of his own. And in then same time Soviet Union came to an end. For him, avantgarde must constantly stands in opposition to the norm, fighting oppression and those who exercise power.
It was never easy to be improvisational in the Soviet Union, he says, adding that it is of course much easier for young people today to choose that path. Jazz was, for example, prohibited, and he tells emphatically how he, after several years of searching, found “A Drum Is a Woman” by Duke Ellington on a black market in Odessa.
– Duke Ellington had a great spontaneity and it has always been fruitful for my own creativity. But since I came into improvised jazz and avant-garde, I must admit that I abandoned him to others. Along with the Dadaism and Malevich, Ellington are my icons, Yuriy implies.
Yuriy would not want to notify other sources of inspiration, and responds that it could be anything. The rain, a cat jamar, no talking, cars driving along the street, or an internal flow.
The key to the avantgarde expression, according to Yuriy to listen to the spontaneous creative process, to dare to open the doors to the inner voice and not be afraid of what you hear, and the second cornerstone of the avantgarde expression is that always stand in opposition against the norm. This expression is found in the inner voice if you just listen, he says.
His untuned piano was a great beginning
Already in the beginning, in 1970s, his drive was to create a kind of noise generator or stream from the innermost of the soul and the body. He says that he therefor began to play on an untuned piano. An excellent choice, Yuriy implies.
– In my ears it sounded accurate, of course, he laughs.
By then he started to build his own instruments. The material was everything he found around him. Metal, plastic, cloth, paper, combined with a guitar string can make miracles.
– Like this, he says and picks up an old plastic bottle with a round hole in the middle. Through the plastic bottle, he has strained a guitar string. When he plays on the string, while screws on the cap, it sounds actually strangely surreal.
In the 1990s Yuriy had the opportunity to become the creative leader for avantgarde theater Teatr AA. His partner was Olexandr Nesterov (link in Ukrainian), a legendary avantgarde guitarist and composer who dead in 2005. They worked with both amateur and professional actors. Important for the project was to lead the actors to learn to play instruments, and to act spontaneously, to improvise. This was not always easy, since many were trained actors. To release an already learned knowledge of how acting should be is not easy, says Yuriy.
In Memoriam Nesterov – with Kiritchenko, Коtrа, Zagaykevych, Letov, Makarov, Borisov, Yaremchuk, Tovstukha, Khmelyov, Ohrymchuk, Strelnikov, Klymenko, Zmorovych, Smetanin, Rudyi, Putyatin, Khmelyov, Makhno. NOTE! You hear Zmorovych in the second piece (if ou have any problem hearing it here, go to the website, see the link above) and not on the first, that is Yuriy Yaremchuck performing!
Teatr AAA got much attention, not only in former Soviet Union but also in Western Europe and the USA. But during the crisis years of the 1990s the sponsors fled and the theater had to be closed.
“Avantgarde should never be decorative”
Yuriy loves to to work with amateurs. He argues that the most important thing is to be creative and to be self-taught and that does not necessarily mean that you do not know how to create. He argues that many musicians or artists in avantgarde often are overly decorative in their design and not in opposition to the norm. He points a little at his compatriot Yuriy Jaremchych, he also worked with previously. But they have chosen different ways and is therefore not entirely agree on the avantgarde expression. At the same time Yuriy Zmorovych would never allow condemnation against other artists.
I ask him what he thinks about the future and he urge that he believes that a new generations will bring avantgarde further to new dimensions. The forms will of course be different, but the most incentives will stand.
– The human mind is collective, and our knowledge is shared. New influences will of course be added as our lives are changing. These are doors that the avantgardist should open. But how it will be can only the future reveal, he concludes.
And I am really feel enthusiastic by his optimism.
This article was previously published in Swedish.
Ya Gallery is clearly something beyond the ordinary. That stands clear after only a short meeting with its founder Pavlo Gudimov. Pavlo’s ambitions for Ya Gallery is anything but insignificant. He wants to bring large footprint on the Ukrainian art scene, not just here and now but in a very distant future.
But last fall Ya gallery unexpectedly came into the limelight. the gallery was burned down by an angry crowd. There has been a rumor afterwards that there was an exhibition about homosexuality, that caused the attack, but this was not the case. The trigger for the riot was that Ya gallery agreed to host a panel discussion, led by a gay organization, on the situation of homosexuals in today’s Ukraine.
– They had nowhere to have their meeting, so we let them use our gallery for their panel discussion. But apparently it was too delicate issue and many was provoked, says Pavlo. I’m pretty sure that anything like this could never happen in Sweden, right?
The young artist Volokitin Artem, who exhibited at the time of the attack, does not focus on homosexuality, even though his work can be provocative, though hardly by the tangent to a homosexual theme.
Artem Volokitin receives the PinChukArtPrize
Pavlo implies, however, that both Artem and Ya Gallery benefited from the attack. Both received attention and therefore got a new audience. But the gay situation is still difficult, said Pavlo.
Ya Gallery opened three years ago, but Pavlo founded a design workshop, or showroom, already 8 years ago. Ya gallery’s idea is to be able to work with the whole process, from the exhibition to the designing and printing the posters, the catalogs. Pavlo has tied five companies to Gudimov art project. They are publisher, designer or involved in contemporary art. He also implies that a major problem for contemporary art in Ukraine is that there is no infrastructure for art and artists. He hope that he with Gudminov art project can change that sitaution. Pavlo also stresses that the cross-disciplinary idea in Gudminov art project is what makes it strong. It creates a new creative environment and pioneering ideas cant there be created. Gudminov art projects publications is also the main sources of income and helps Ya Gallery to exist.
Ya Gallery with Pavlo Gudminov at the helm, also wants to change, influence and even to some extent determine how the Ukrainian art scene will look like in the future. Pavlo goes round the country to search for artists, young and old. The art he chooses is the one that does not trample already beaten tracks and he would not favor a few artists.
– Many galleries run only around 10 artists, but I want to have a broader base than that, he says.
He is not afraid to exhibit artists that never have had any exhibition. When I visited Ya gallery they exhibited two artists, two men in their 50s, that never had been exhibited before.
– They have an expression that fits our concept, says Pavlo.
– What do you mean by concept? I ask. That it is “Ukrainian” and fits the subtitle of “contemporary Ukrainian art”?
– Well, says Pavlo. The term “contemporary Ukrainian art” is an effort to give Ukrainian art a game room or space. And I want to help creating the content of that space.
– But is not “Ukrainian” just a word in vogue right now? What if it suddenly becomes obsolete, or really lame?
– Yes, I can admit that it is true, and to some extent we are using it as smart marketing. It gives the right sense, so to speak. We of course also sets out international artists. But there is also a huge lack of knowledge about Ukraine’s art scene, both inside and outside its borders. Can we participate in creating a knowledge bridge between artists and their audience I will be satisfied, concludes Pavlo before he hastens off to the next meeting.