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Poptrans (a popular transformation) is an artistic group founded in Uzhhorod in 1996 by artists Pavlo Kovach, Vadim Harabaruk, Andriy Stegura, Robert Saller and Petro Penzel. Today the group also includes Natasha Shevchenko and Viktor Pokydanets, while Petro Penzel left the team.

United by a common ideological and aesthetic programme the group members keep individual authorships and follow their own practices, while the Poptrans naming is a shared title for their joint exhibitions, texts, samvydav (self-publishing) publications and magazines.

The distinctive features of the collective’s practice, according to their own words, are based on “everything that is fancy in Transcarpathian-style: familiar uniqueness and digital tradition, unlimited multiculturalism and auto-xenophobia, silly snicker and deep philosophical studies, friendly comfort and solemn pathos." However, besides the actual spirit of Carpathians, the programme of Poptrans is marked with an outspoken interest in popular culture, from glossy magazines and Mexican soap operas of 1990’s to punk rock, vinyl records and the genuine American pop art traditions of the 1960’s.


Andriy Stegura, Por Amor
video (fragment)
Natasha Shevchenko, People. Fat.
diptych, acrylic on canvas,120x100 cm each part
Marsel Onysko, Stamps of Never Existing Super Countries
triptych, acrylic on canvas, 100x120 cm each piece
Andriy Stegura, Untitled
video, 1'12''
The End: TV-screen blacks out and is gradually filled up with cast list and other credits while the final song starts playing... In his short video "Untitled" Andriy Stegura exploits the standard method of movie culture - to "finish" the spectator after the film drama with cold technical information and emotional music theme. In the artist's video the final credits have no movie to refer to, yet it must have been about Ukraine if it ever existed (the folk song and the trident disguised as japanese character make a hint). The unmade movie (which can be read as the absence of cultural memory) results in corresponding consequences - unreadable text and a song styled as folk, yet performed with a over foreign accent. Ukrainian identity is revealed here as "alien" not only for export, where it is bound to the status of exotics, but first and foremost in the internal circulation leaving the trident and the pseudo-folk tune as the only posiible clues...
Marsel Onysko, Carpathian Album (together with Robert Saller)

Artists' text about the project:


Are you living somewhere you do not want to? Perhaps you should prepare for a good trip. Find your favorite armchair… electric fire… wrap yourself up in a flannel blanket… it's rainy outside… wild is the wind… last trams leaving to depot... You are closing your eyes or lingering on patterns of your old wallpaper and all of a sudden you hear sounds from your childhood: a seething waterfall… a deer carefully approaching a creek while under the quiet watch of a bear.  The fragrances of herbs and spicy smells of mushrooms — everything is so real that you are already part of this picture. Then you sit down on the trolley of mountain narrow-gauge railway and meditate on the music appropriate for this scene. You thoughts are flowing… your mind is going through your entire record collection and when it couldn't find something just right, it produces a new one especially for this case.

Close your eyes and imagine this music. Then open them and look at the Carpathian Album.


Vadym Kharabaruk, The End of Films
poliptyh, oil on canvas, mixed media, 30x40 cm each part
various years