Lviv. Ya Gallery
11.01.2020 – 16.02.2020
Anthropologists routinely lacked of appropriate graphics. Travel notes, records of local rituals, ceremonies, melismata, fairy tales, concepts of the universe, descriptions of own desolation that accompany the ethnographer in his field excursion, all this was reflected in the texts. Some scholars dreamed of translating research into images, even photographic and cinematic ones.
Andrii Khir assumed the role of an artist who works with ethnographic materials, even in the projects “Khir who is the beast from the mountains" (2011) and “Paroemias" (2013). In 2015, he began the “Superstitious beliefs" cyclus, in which, among other things, he answered the unrealized project of folklore specialist Volodymyr Hnatiuk. He planned to create a book of materials about the Hutsulshchyna region together with the artist Olena Kulchytska. One hundred years later, Khir, in his own manner, implemented this project in his book “Superstitious beliefs".
In the “Chtonic chronic" Khir belabors the topic, tangentially it was stated in previous projects, the topic of the coexistence of the archaic and futuristic. In the cyclus “Superstitions beliefs" there have already been stories in which bicycles or universal electrification systems belonged to the phenomena of dark magic and were understood as inventions of extramundane forces. As the matter stands, he is moving away from the stories written by scientists, fixing the synthesis of old and new in the world around him and is working on creating a “fictitious anthropology". The artist takes the place of an ethnographic researcher who observes and records in graphic drawings, sculptures, masks and videos. As in ethnographic work, the final product does not have a clear genre affiliation, all the works are supposedly shrouded in an atmosphere of science and at the same time extremely free in form and content.
In preceding times, ethnographers traveled to distant colonies of foreign communities that were exotic in their opinion. This increasingly pointed to the “exotic" and originality of their own society. Khir shows something similar when he is silent about exactly where he saw one or another storyline. Due to the fact that he saw them in our contemporary world.
The present-day world has not closed the question of the postexistence. In the art of the XX-XXI centuries, technological progress and the identification of the “modern" with the rejection of the “archaic" often led to completely opposite artistic practices. Masks, the artist's rhapsodical behavior in the workshop and beyond, television receivers and radio sets that speak on behalf of spirits, or the figure of a shaman artist in itself are all achievements of a long conflict of two interpenetrative worlds. New media that allow a more documentary chronicle and new mediums that testify the presence of chthonic.