Natalia Wiernik / Anastasiia Nekypila
Elena Subach / Maria Matiashova
Ala Savashevich / Karolina Gembara
hoW ARe you?
Verknappte Bilder wegen schlechter Verbindung, Papierflugzeuge, verlassene Decken: Sechs junge Künstlerinnen legen Zeugnis von ihrem Alltag in den Kriegsgebieten und an den Grenzen der Ukraine mit Bildern, Videos und Texten ab. Sie schaffen eine Ästhetik des Schmerzes, bieten aber auch Strategien der Solidarität an.
Wie würdet ihr eure künstlerische Praxis definieren?
How would you define your artistic practice?
My art practice is basically life. I do not separate it / it is part of me. I believe that art is something very close, like a feeling or intuition that we all have, but not everyone can hear it as clearly or allow themselves to listen to it. In my artistic practice I move around different areas, the medium I use plays a second role, it’s relative to the idea I want to talk about (or the idea is revealed through artistic work). In art, I love its freedom, lack of frames, indeterminacy, lack of definition - and at the same time – very often with a painfully clear message that awakens, makes awarness and brings changes.
I can describe my artistic practice as visual anthropological research. My tools now are painting, digital art, and photography. The style in which I do it can be radically different. But everything is united by the research of processes in the surrounding world and the inner world. I am constantly in the process of analyzing what I see and feel.
In painting and digital art, I focus on exploring the basic child nature of drawing. I paint in a naive style and experiment with different materials and techniques. Also, an important part of my research is Ukrainian folk art. I often get inspired by it and want to combine it more with my personal vision. In this practice, it is important for me to get as close as possible to my own inner child and allow it absolutely everything.
Before the full-scale russia invasion a main topic in my artistic practices were: life in province, religion, connection between mythology and identity, my private relations with the world and my own country, with life and death. And I was inspired by sacred art and sought depth and significance in the usual things.
Now everything has changed.
Art is about time, and solely about the present, not the past or the future. After the 24th of February, the time was split into Before and After. And there was the inability to use the language that existed before the war. Now my approach in photography is a documentary. I document the present, because history in its concentrated form is unfolding here and now.
A friend of mine, the curator Asia Tsisar, once described my artistic practice as the “aesthetics of small gestures in everyday life”. Today, this description still seems to be among the most accurate.
I often jokingly call my art “lazy art”. Many of my works are not as much about craft as about insight and inventive application of it. My artistic practice in general resembles a game. But I always play very responsibly.
Simple gestures with deep meanings are my standard which I constantly strive for. I like art which is all about minimal change that makes everything totally different, redefines everything.
The medium is not crucial to me. It is always a derivative of the idea.
Through my artistic practice, I pass on the experience of a daughter, a student, a woman who grew up and was brought up in the post-Soviet times. Times of strong ideology, faith in unity and strength, and at the same time the loss of this faith, traumatic disappointment accompanying entire generations.
Was bedeutet es, heute und in der Vergangenheit Künstler*in zu sein?
What does it mean to be an artist today and in the past?
"Language is political, so art as a way of speaking is also political" - quote by Ukrainian artist Vlada Ralko.
Today, the artist has become a player not only in the arts but also in the political scene. He can speak in the most universal, subtle, sharp language that will be understandable to people with different experiences. This language can touch even those who do not want to speak because it seeps into a person at the level of sensations. So the modern artist now has a weapon in his hands, and "not to be silent about events in the world" is his job and responsibility.
I used to be attached to art as a form that was supposed to serve specific purposes. Art was supposed to pursue goals. Fulfill the tasks. A bit like activism or community service. Today I understand the essence of art differently. It is a place that (probably the only one) we can free from all obligations and definitions. Let you feel things that have not been named and specified. Which cannot be classified. Maybe that is why art is so often perceived as dangerous, causing anxiety and censorship?
Many artists in Ukraine now feel primarily as propagandists, responsible for letting the world know about our country. I am one of them. Art now is an opportunity to reach those who would like to close their eyes and stay in their comfort zone. It is an appeal for empathy and understanding. Art cannot now be outside of politics.
A few days ago, a friend of mine jokingly and with a bit of defiance asked me, “So where is your paint brush?” Now I can answer that I don’t have it without feeling like an impostor. Because since conceptualism, an artist is first and foremost someone who deals with meanings.
Classic and modern art needs a tool, conceptualism needs an idea, and contemporary art needs an audience.
In contemporary artworks, the artist creates a frame, and the audience has the freedom to endow the artwork with meanings. The viewer essentially co-creates the artwork.
On the one hand, it’s very democratic, but on the other hand, this ambiguity comes with a great potential for manipulation.
I still feel anxious about giving up the author’s monopoly on interpretation, about sharing the responsibility and leaving “the fate” of the artwork in the hands of the audience. But I’m on that path.
Always working on yourself, both in life and in artistic practice.
I often appear in my work as a female worker, sitting at the sewing machine, shaping the shape and form of my work. I reflect on the invisible work of women, their working conditions, exploitation and precariousness.
Was ist für euch das feministische Kapital?
What is the feminist capital for you?
It’s women’s solidarity in action.
It's very clear - the basis, the capital of feminism for me is equality, regardless of gender.
Equal rights and justice for all people regardless of gender, age, economic status (class), national origin, sexuality, health, region of origin, etc.
It is important to have women around you whom you admire because I change our world for the better for others who inspire you. It is important to respect other people, equality that does not depend on gender, orientation, challenge or skin color.
Werke, Kunstkästen und Künstlerinnen
from the series: „Wake up, the war has begun” / "Aufwachen, der Krieg hat begonnen"
„FEAR & HATRED”, 2022
… i remember dividing two boiled eggs into 15 pieces. everyone was so happy…. / … ich erinnere mich, wie ich zwei gekochte Eier in 15 Stücke teilte. alle waren so glücklich…., video, 2022
hoW ARe you?, grafik, 2022
Brief herunterladen, ausdrucken und Übung durchführen.
Chairs on the border / Stühle an der Grenze, 2022
HIDDEN - Evakuierung der Abrahamsfigur (März 2022)
SILK FABRICS FROM ISLAMIC COUNTRIES /
SEIDENSTOFFE AUS ISLAMISCHEN LÄNDERN, 2022
Tomatoes / Tomaten, 2022
Bow: Exercises in Hospitality, 2022
Pose. Position. Way., Video-Still, 2019