This fall, Kaunas will host a triennial of contemporary Ukrainian art — Ukrainian Cross-Section 2022. UKRAINE! UNMUTED presents the works of contemporary artists. Other parts of the project include discussions and a book of essays.
Ukrainian Cross-Section, a triennial of contemporary Ukrainian art, started as an attempt to expose what Ukrainian art has been with art telling for itself. The idea of Ukrainian Cross-Section is to present contemporary Ukrainian art to the new audiences outside of Ukraine.
The Fifth Ukrainian Cross-Section UKRAINE! UNMUTED will take place in fall 2022 in Kaunas (Lithuania). The project presents the works of Ukrainian artists. The curators are Vlodko Kaufman, Serhiy Petlyuk and Oksana Forostyna; Lida Savchenko-Duda, the manager of the triennial.
«Ukrainian voices became better heard when people noticed the explosions and turned on the sound. The war is the price Ukraine paid to be in the spotlight not only of reporters from around the world but also of cultural institutions and educated classes, of people who shape the artistic canon, create and destroy hierarchies, and declare cultural phenomena interesting and valuable or doomed to oblivion. Ukrainian artists have their scale of dividing times into good and bad: the periods of prosperity were usually the pauses between wars and repressions. And they fruitfully used that time, especially during the last 30 years. Though organically woven into the overall canvas of European culture despite all the obstacles, this art remained in the so-called blind zone, always present yet invisible. Ukrainian Cross-Section is an overview of what could not be heard behind transparent walls and seen behind optical illusions, a survey of what brings understanding closer», says the curators’ text for UKRAINE! UNMUTED.
Ukrainian Cross-Section 2022 has several components. The creative-cultural space «CulturEUkraine» the former Kaunas Central Post Office, hosts the exhibition. The theme UKRAINE! UNMUTED will be explored during a series of discussions with speakers from Ukraine and abroad, as well as in a bilingual Ukrainian-English collection of texts by Ukrainian art critics, philosophers, and writers. The particular focus is the context of colonialism, and the reinterpretation and actualization of some special Ukrainian artistic phenomena of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The idea came up more than ten year ago in Lviv, in the milieu of Dzyga Art Association, one of the iconic cultural institutions in the city and Ukraine, and it was developed in cooperation with partners from Lublin, the Trans Kultura Foundation. It started with an ambition to grasp and to outline the «Ukrainianness» in contemporary art, to provide a meeting point for those authors considering Ukraine not just a territory, but «their important territory», the territory for interacting, experiencing, and changing themselves.
The Cross-Section is a curatorial project. Now Ukrainian NGO Institute of Actual Art and the Cultural Strategy Institute, the municipal institution, are evolving the idea of Ukrainian Cross-Section.
Back in 2010, the first triennial in Lublin was an attempt to grasp the identity of Ukrainian contemporary art. Then in 2013 the self-analysis was paramount with the Lyman project in Lublin. And the next triennial reCREATION was a part of the European Capital of Culture 2016 program, the Lviv Month in Wroclaw: an exhibition, a retrospective of Ukrainian media art, and performances. It reflected on the state of the art in Ukraine while facing war and changes. In 2019 the Ukrainian Cross-section as a part of Culture Congress in Lviv was a chance for a critical revision of how Ukrainian art could interest global audiences.
Every triennial welcomed artists from different cities of Ukraine. The reference point is the transformational processes of Ukrainian art in media, topics, discourses, interpretations, names, (im)mutability of traditions, and experimentation. Since 2010, Ukrainian Cross-Section has presented 172 art projects as well as works of 123 authors and art groups from Lviv, Kyiv, Kherson, Uzhhorod, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Irpin, Sudova Vyshnya, Drohobych, Dnipro, Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Cherkasy, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Vinnytsia, Sumy, and Poninka.
More about the UKRAINE! UNMUTED concept, discussion program, participants of the exhibition soon. Stay tuned!