...does it mean that it actually happened?
Informal spaces and artistic practices of Western Ukraine
between bodies, studios, conversations, actions and memories
If only flies saw the show, does it mean that it actually happened?, wondered artist and poet Lubomyr Tymkiv while speaking about the garage gallery that he has been running for around 2 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 stuff and giving them a status of an art material. Or through living an asocial life marked by artistic presence on the Web or in sent-out paper letters. Or through an everyday living lodging directly in the gallery space or wearing webcam with online broadcast nonstop for 2 months.
These places, stories, moments substitute for conventional system of art, yet not in the sense of an opposition to it or institutional critique. These territories are hardly identifiable but are continuously created in-between bodies, studios, galleries, conversations, actions and memories. Permeating the daily life of artists and communities, they seem to seep through history because of their immaterial nature.
The exhibition focuses on artistic practices and self-organized galleries in Western Ukraine since late 1980s up to the present day. Underground spaces have emerged since 1980s throughout the country mapping the previously non-existing domain of contemporary art. Yet in Kyiv these artistic initiatives were gradually replaced by a more or less divaricate art infrastructure, while in places like Lviv or Uzhhorod artistic communities until today have unwillingly maintained the functions of the art system being producers, distributors, spectators and commentators for their own art practices.
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 reinterpreted when acquiring new “walls” and “ceiling” around them. Another Vacant Space becomes the first temporary home of this venue-less performative history.
Perevorot studio (Kyiv)
Artcult foundation (Kyiv)
Foundation for Cultural Initiatives ArtHuss (Kyiv)
Centre for Urban History of East Central Europe (Lviv)
Detenpyla Gallery (Lviv)
Pereoblik project (Lviv)
i3 programme (Kyiv)