Kyiv . Ya Gallery Art Center

Democracy and Luxury

Rostyslav Koterlin

01.07.2015 – 03.08.2015

Rostyslav Koterlin

Understanding concepts of democracy and luxury is as important for our country, as it is for the whole world. In his new project, Rostyslav Koterlin explores these notions through the language of art.

Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center

“…people cannot understand that what doesn't exist can influence what does exist», –John Fowles once said.

Do we know a lot?

The reality is such, that everyone, well almost everyone lies. Everyone lies, even when they are being sincere. The truth reveals itself much later, when it can reach and touch us. When it is a fait accompli.

Each of us has repeatedly heard about democracy as much as about luxury. Both concepts refer to the field, which is impossible to cover entirely, that is, to the vitality, life. Life that flows, mimicries and hides.

Today “Democracy" is a cradled Greek word that involves any meaning of any representative of any country that belongs to the so-called “Western world". As many people - as many democracies. For example, statements about the corruption of democracy can be heard not only from dictators, but also from representatives of traditional democratic countries.

“Luxury" – is it an object or an action? Does it mean accumulation of wealth or free luxuriating in freedom? Eastern and Western, Northern and Southern luxury, and not submissive to us luxury of Nature and Universe.

Luxury of having and luxury of being. Mystics used to say: who owns nothing, reaches eternity. If you want to restrain yourself, seize on something to have it!

Democracy and luxury always stand side by side, like Eros and Thanatos. Something that gives freedom to love, which can kill.

When authoritarianism meets luxury, it result in a decorated with jewelry alliance of Thanatos and Plutus or Mammon*.

Almost everyone knows that we live in a not truly democratic country. But when young people write on any surface “PTN PNKh" (ПТН ПНХ) or “Putin – khuylo" (Путін хуйло), they show off and understand it. Submerging in truth, they realize that fences of Mezhyhirya and Kremlin hide not luxury, but disease. It is the dark side of human desires. So skinflint, it requires a separate “Pastoral".

Pastoral message to the skinflint oligarchs and thousands and thousands of other cheapskates “in power", that bulge their wallets with public money of millions of citizens.

Can the cheapskate just say to himself, “Stop! You have so much, way too much. So much that there is no more you. Enough! Enough of having - just be."

Can the cheapskate take his coded head with calculators instead of eyes out into the morning forest air? Can he forget about counting his bank accounts while bending to stare at the brown chump of forest land?

He obviously cannot, but he should be forced.

“Forcing to be instead of to have" is the main problem, not only for the post-Soviet space. What is the changing force, if even the death of hundreds and thousands of soldiers has not changed this? But it will happen. Maydan and then “khuylo" have started this process. This will definitely happen when majority of people will value “to be" over “to have".

This war is inside of everyone. The one who knows, that what does not exist is just around the corner, is the winner.

Rostyslav Koterlin

* Gods in ancient mythologies: Thanatos personifies death, Plutus – wealth, Mammon – wealth and lucre.


Born in 1966. Lives and works in Ivano-Frankivsk.

1998 graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, department of journalism.

Koterlin is a researcher and an analyst of processes that take place in contemporary art; he is also an author of essays and articles about artists of Ivano-Frankivsk. Since 1990 he's an organizer and a participant of almost all contemporary art programs and projects in his city.

Since 1999 he edits and publishes an almanac of contemporary visual art "Kinez Kinzem".

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