What if only flies saw the show,
does it mean that it actually happened?
informal spaces and artistic practices of Western Ukraine
between bodies, studios, conversations, actions and memories
Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German (Kiev, Ukraine)
What if only flies saw the show, does it mean that it actually happened?, wondered the artist and poet Lubomyr Tymkiv, while speaking about a garage gallery that he has run for for approximately two years in the backyard of his house in the outskirts of Lviv.
In the situation of an institutional wasteland, in the non-metropolitan regions of Ukraine this type of artistic thinking has created a number of out-of-system territories or production, representation and circulation of art. Territories that may be mapped through collecting occasionally found things, and giving them a status of an art material or object. Or through living an asocial life marked by artistic presence on the Web or in sending out of paper letters. Or through an everyday living lodging directly in the gallery space, or wearing a webcam with a non-stop on-line broadcast over a period of two months.
These places, stories, moments substitute for a conventional system of art, yet not in the sense of an opposition to it, or an institutional critique. These territories are hardly identifiable but are continuously created in-between the bodies, studios, galleries, conversations, actions and in memory. Permeating the daily life of artists and communities, they seem to seep through history because of its immaterial nature.
The exhibition focuses on artistic practices and self-organized galleries in the Western Ukraine since late 1980s until the present day. Underground spaces and practices have emerged since the 1980s throughout the country mapping the previously non-existing domain of contemporary art. Yet in Kiev these artistic initiatives were gradually replaced by a more or less divaricate art infrastructure, while in places like Lviv or Uzhgorod artistic communities until today have unwillingly maintained the functions of the art system, being producers, distributors, founders, spectators and commentators for their own art practices.
This phenomenon of here-and-nowhere underground spaces resonates with the ephemeral nature of the many artistic practices in Western Ukraine.These practices are not about "producing" complete projects or pieces - but are stretched in time and space, manifesting themselves in continuous observations, storing personal items, images and texts, or simply in a variety of routine everyday work which acquires a sense of an artistic programme.
The exhibition consists of the two complementary parts: a documentary installation of archival materials and artifacts related to the informal spaces of Lviv and Uzhgorod, and a selection of art works. These parts are linked through the spatial installation ‘Open Gallery’ - a new step in the long-term project of the "Open Group" collective.
Being a part of the Open Archive project the exhibition explores how the nature of given, newly created or imagined spaces/territories shapes artistic decisions (and vice versa) today. But also how the unwritten stories of the past are re-interpreted when acquiring new “walls” and “ceilings” around them. The AVS space becomes the first temporary home of this venue-less performative history.
Time is one fuck-up and space is another one.
– saying of unidentified author often quoted
by some young artists of Western Ukraine
Gabriel Buletsa (Uzhgorod)
Open Group (Lviv-Mukachevo-Kiev)
Lubomyr Tymkiv (Lviv)
Yuri Sokolov (Lviv)
Andriy Stegura (Uzhgorod)
Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German (Kiev)
Korydor gallery and Temporary Exhibitions project (Uzhgorod)
Garage of Lubomyr Tymkiv (Lviv)
Garage of Lubomyr Sikach (Lviv)
89 Days of Winter project (Lviv)
Yuriy Sokolov, For My Wife, 1999, mixed media (fragments of scanned book)
an archival album of personal photos, curatorial and artistic projects documentation, texts and DIY-publications. (c) Yuriy Sokolov
OPEN ARCHIVE is an instrument of an ongoing research of artistic practices launched by curators Lizaveta German and Maria Lanko in collaboration with the artists of Open Group. The online platform openarchive.com.ua reveals methodology of its authors’ curatorial approach as well as presents its intermediary result – the artists’ profiles made up of СVs, selected artworks, texts etc. The profiles can be viewed independently or as elements of a social tree in this decentralized growing network.
The geography of the archive is not limited to Western Ukraine.
Open Archive is a living process without any predictable or desirable destination.
Lizaveta German, Maria Lanko
For information please contact Adam Nankervis, +49 (0) 176 38 803 179