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Curated by Eva Kraus and Volo Bevza
September 13 - October 15, 2022
Works by Yevgenia Belorusets, Volo Bevza, Dariia Kuzmych, Victoria Pidust and Artem Volokitin.
As part of the gallery festival "Curated by", Crone Wien presents the exhibition 2022 which is conceived by the director of the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Eva Kraus, and the Ukrainian artist Volo Bevza. On view are 25 paintings, sculptures, video works, installations and photographs by young Ukrainian Artists whose work has changed fundamentally since the Russian invasion of their homeland and who are influenced by the war in various ways.
Kraus and Bevza take this year's Curated-by-theme "Kelet" (East) as an opportunity to focus in particular on a socio-cultural aspect that has long been known around the world, but which is currently gaining a new, brutal dimension in Ukraine - and thus in the conflict between East and West: The overlapping of real atrocities and their simultaneous reflection in social and classic media, in other words the permanent intertwining of actual events and virtual images, of authenticity and simulation, of fact and fake.
Since the escalation of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine at the beginning of this year our reality has shifted, but this was preceded by the ideological conflict between the “Eastern dictatorship and Western democracy,” the coronavirus pandemic, migration flows, conspiracy theories, and the storming of the US capitol (and with it the emblematic tottering of democracy), as well as other shocks that we have followed in the media.
The collective witnessing through simultaneous media coverage makes our reality more unreal, the drama more absurd, than could have been imagined—because it is all playing out live in front of our “digital” eyes. A physical war in 21st-century Europe seems outmoded, almost grotesque on the screen, the propagandistic information war, one might think, completely outdated—yet that appears to be the means of the time.
The various information and misinformation overlap. “As soon as you turn on your cell phone, news comes in and expands your daily reality into hyperreality,” says Volo Bevza, artist, and co-curator of the exhibition. “Directly on site, you can feel the war, but most of all, it is ‘experienced’ digitally. This hybridity of our perception brings with it the idea of a flexible, adaptable, multiform, and cross-platform image that merges with software and digital media—just as information about war does.”
This overlaying and blending of information and images is the subject of the exhibition 2022 as part of Curated by. Only Ukrainian artists were deliberately selected, for whom the clash between real war and the hybrid-virtual perception of war may feel particularly bizarre and disturbing. This raises the question of how such drastic experiences are reflected upon and how the reporting changes artistic scrutiny. Through and with the impressions of the current situation, the multimedia exhibition serves to make individual voices visible. Anticipatory works from previous years and updated works are shown in equal measure. Analog and digital means blur, especially in painting and photography. This is indirectly a testimony to the experiential shift in perspectives through the hybrid perception of a hyperreality that takes shape in a very painful and analog way.
In Victoria Pidust’s works, generated image worlds overlap with analog photography. For this purpose, she uses photogrammetry software and highly magnified snapshots from her iPhone. During the war, in April 2022 in Kiev, she scanned a shattered screen of a shopping mall destroyed by war damage to render “natural” looking landscape images, which she in turn decontextualized with building components from a Berlin construction site. Zoomed-in on and isolated details can be decoded as danger spots and signal alertness. With the associative mixture of hybrid visual material, she demonstrates the readiness of our perception to be manipulated.
The works of Yevgenia Belorusets, on the other hand, seem documentary at first glance. Her war diaries from the spring of 2022 have become famous through their daily broadcast in Spiegel online. Already in the work Please don't take my picture! Or they'll shoot me tomorrow from 2015, the artist addressed media deception by adapting Today’s Paper, a fictional journal, and dealt with the dichotomy of “private-public” and “personal-general.” In her current engagement, she confronts the issue of reception and enlightenment in private life as well as in the public sphere through artistic and also literary means. She subjects everything to a “reality check”, her simultaneous questioning creates new, concurrent realities.
Artem Volokitin translates the anxieties of the digital image into traditional oil paintings—an alliance of believable materiality and flawed artificiality of spectacle. In an almost medieval painting technique, destructive moments are transformed into ecstatic states. In imposing tableaux, beauty and approaching nightmare meet in grand gestures.
In Happiness 100%, Dariia Kuzmych explores the vulnerability of the human body through a digital avatar in the form of a female model. One experiences how the changes, transformations, and metamorphoses of the body that are impossible in a physical world can be represented virtually in a very believable and painful way—and in doing so, the digital space with its own laws and possibilities expands our basic conceptions. Digital “body extensions” do not completely replace the analog medium in Kuzmych's work; recently created delicate watercolors decipher real injuries.
In his painterly-digital approach, Volo Bevza repeatedly deals with destruction: physical destruction overlaps in his work with the translation losses of a digital software, which in turn is transferred alienated into the medium of painting. Here, realities intermingle; superimpositions and the filter of the “soft image” temper dystopian situations, while painterly structures overlay documentary appropriation. His paintings are exaggerated, charged places of a frightening, existing reality.
We would like to thank 4Spaces & ZigZagZurich for their kind support of the exhibition.
Works on View →