Imaginary Archive: Kyiv

Curated by Gregory Sholette and Olga Kopenkina
Co-curated/coordinated by Larissa Babij (Kyiv)
Co-Archivist Matt Greco

With invited and established collaborators (see below)
Les Kurbas National Theatre Arts Center
Kyiv, Ukraine
April 23 – May 18, 2014

Dear Imaginary Archivists, Friends, and Supporters:

Our participatory exhibition opened as planned yesterday evening here in Kyiv thanks to a portable generator and some gasoline that artist Vladimir Kuznetsov biked in from protestors on Maidan Square. (fyi Kuznetsov’s politically critical mural was censored last summer by the Mystetskyi Arsenal art museum in Kyiv: CLICK). Before the lights came back on Larisa Babji, Olga Kopenkina, me and several of the artists completed the installation in the dark using small flashlights and a dose of adrenaline. Ultimately we had a large turnout with many visitors actively reading and discussing materials in Imaginary Archive for several hours before the gas ran low.

Notably most of the Ukrainian artists who we have met here are linked to a largely informal circle of cultural thinkers and practitioners that by one estimate is less than seventy individuals. Few are connected to the commercial art scene, which is primarily oriented towards galleries in Moscow, but envision their work as experimental. And several of those who have contributed documents to IA Kyiv are also active in a group called Art Workers’ Self-defense Initiative: In October of 2012, about a year before the massive Maidan Square protests, these artists worked in coordination with staff at the National Art Museum of Ukraine to open-up and make more transparent the selection process and exhibition procedures. They also helped to steer the institution into hiring a more artist-friendly director. Not unlike Art Workers’ Coalition from NY in the late 1960s/early 70s or Occupy Museums today these artists engage in direct action, the wellspring of “institutional critique.” Art Workers Self-defense Initiate’s manifesto reads in part:

“In a country that declares democracy the preferred mode of interaction, we, as art workers, must impact the formation of new cultural policy principles and how they are put into practice.”

Imaginary Archive Ukraine remains on view at the Les Kurbas Center for another couple of weeks. Thanks to CECArtslink, and to everyone who has contributed imaginary documents over the years, as well as all of you who assisted in our fundraising campaign.

Established Collaborators: Aaron Burr Society, Agata Craftlove, Alan Hughes, Alexandr Wolodarskij, Alien Abduction Collective: (Todd Ayoung, Heather Davis, Kim Asbury, Ulla Hvejsel, and Phoebe Bachman), Andrea Aversa, Anna Zvyagintseva, Austin Ivers, Azra Aksamija, Babis Venetopoulos + John Voyatzopoulos, Ben Geoghegan, Brian Hand, Bryce Galloway & Students, Chris Esposito, Closed Engagement, Dave Callen, Denis Pankratov. Doris Jauk-Hinz, Edda Strobl, Ellen Rothenberg, Eva Taxacher & Karin Ondas, Eva Ursprung, fabian dankl/johannes schrettle/christina lederhaas, Glen Goldberg, Grant Corbishley, Gregory Sholette, Helmut Kaplan, Jeffrey Skoller, Jenny Polak, Jeremy Booth, Johannes/zweite Liga für kunst und Kultur, John Hulsey & City Life/Vida Urbana, Josef Fürpaß, Karl Lorac, Leah Oats, Lee Harrop, Lada Nakonechn,Lesya Khomenko,  Malcolm Doidge, Matthew Friday, Matthew F. Greco, Maureen Connor, Markus Wetzel, Maryam Mohammadi , Miroslav Kulchitsky, Murray Hewitt, Mykola Ridnyi , Naeem Mohaiemen, Nanette Yannuzzi, Nayari Castillo, Niall Moore, Nikita Kadan, Oleksandr Burlaka, Oleksiy Radynskyi, Oliver Ressler, Paul Lamarre & Melisa Wolf: Eida House, Paul Maye, Patrik Aarnivaara, Pedro Lasch, REPOhistory, R.E.P. Group, Roger O’Shea, Sarah Farahat, Sasha Dedos, Simon Fleming, Suchness, Tender & endangered Cow/Horse of Dimness, TanzLaboratorium, Tiarnán McDonough, “t.j.”, Thom Donovan, Trust Art, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Yevgeniya Belorusets, Yevgeniy Fiks, and Zoe Beloff.

New Works by: Oleksiy Radynskyi & Oleksandr Burlaka, Sasha Dedos, Nikita Kadan, Miroslav Kulchitsky, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Lesya Khomenko, Lada Nakonechna, Denis Pankratov, Mykola Ridnyi, Anna Zvyagintseva, Yevgeniya P Belorusets, Alexandr Wolodarskij, TanzLaboratorium, and the R.E.P. group, (Ukraine); Mark Boswell, Leah Oats, Jenny Polak, Chris Esposito (USA); Andrea Aversa (Italy/France); Lee Harop (New Zealand/Australia); Christina Lederhaas (Austria).

Enter the Archive here to view the individual works

Check out Greg’s essay and pictures from IA Kyiv on Hyperallergic

Greg Sholette’s essay “On Maidan and Imaginary Archive Kyiv, Spring 2014

“Worth visiting because the project raises the question, which is urgent today, of society’s uncertainty toward various testimonies of its own historic and cultural past and collective memory of this past.

This new edition in Kyiv is among those exhibitions, uncommon in the cultural program of the capital, that is not rich with spectacular objects (though they couldn’t do without an installation of tires), but instead proposes analytical food for thought – in other words, this is an exhibition where you have to think, and not just wallow.

At a time when living impressions and personal memory are no longer a reliable instrument for “digesting” the endless stream of events, the need for an alternative approach to understanding the history, which is unfolding before our eyes, becomes more than relevant.

A very timely and out-of-the-ordinary project.”

Imaginary Archive Kyiv was made possible thanks to the generosity of:

CEC ArtsLink and Those who contributed to our INDIEGOGO IA Kyiv campaign:

Sol Aramendi
Steven Englander
Barrie Cline
Yevgeniy Fiks
Aaron Burr Society
Susan Platt
Zoe Beloff
Kate Fowle
Société Réaliste
Eriola Pira
Paul B. Jaskot
Eidia House
Lydia A. Matthews
Andrew F Hemingway
Ronni Witkin
Sophie Pinkham
Corina Lucia Apostol
John Hulsey
Maureen F Connor
Judith DeLottie
Stephanie Syjuco
Barbara McCloskey
Claire Pentecost
Norene Leddy
Asa Sonjasdotter
Michael Premo
Todd Ayoung
Natalie Babij
Nanette Yannuzzi
Imani Brown
Zackery C Denfeld