In the exhibition Disciplined Vision I continue working with the visible as something full of hidden things: gazes, thrills, intentions, motivations, ideas, ideologies.
My works produced in various media (drawings, installations, objects, videos) over a number of years (2015–2021) are united in this exhibition by a statement about art’s inherent capacity for creating an image of contemporaneity. Looking at artifacts of the Socialist Realist tradition from the National Art Museum of Ukraine’s archives, library, and collection as testimony, I propose examining the role of art in shaping judgments about history. For they are the shared aspect of culture that determines the present.
The exhibition begins with the assumption that the method of Socialist Realism established a certain visual regime. The paradox of the visual culture of the Soviet Union lies in the implicit violence in the affirmative, positive images that spring from general humanist values (emancipation, mutual respect, love for one’s native land, etc.). I’ve chosen landscapes, a genre that contemporary Ukrainian art history positions as ideologically harmless, as the protagonist of my show. Yet a similar violence is inherent in landscape images and how they are created, displayed, and function; they participate in the “construction” of a certain type of vision.
In Disciplined Vision, the museum’s galleries, which remember the chronological unfolding of the history of art, as well as the unyielding logic of Soviet museum display, are filled with works that I’ve combined in a different way. Complete images are instilled with fragmentation, and linear vision is turned inside out through allusions to avant-garde visual codes in the representation of present-day events.
So I too resort to violence in my approaches, but it is directed at artistic and documentary material. I change how certain elements function or combine them according to arbitrary, superficial properties (Obvious Connections); I shift my attention to visible facts (Perspective Reduction); I profane images, make them banal or literal (Perspective Reduction, Landscapes in Ivory); I resort to the fictional materialization of the forgotten (Ye. Kholostenko’s Report) or to removing something important from the visual field (Merge Visible). I reduce landscape artworks to abstractions, thus opening the door to countless interpretations of artists’ intentions and curtailing attempts to reconstruct the actual reasons for their creative activity. This intentional game undermines the ideologized reconstruction of historical events.
The exhibition invites viewers to use their own experience to detect how images are constructed and to discern the matrices and traps in which a person’s consciousness, imagination, and even sensation give way.
Ye. Kholostenko’s Report (fragment)
Objects (Metall, graphite on paper, photo, ribbon)
Created with support of CEC ArtsLink, Open Place.
Technical support: Sergii Sabakar