This exhibition tells about a striking attribute of the present day: the ability to forget what's already forgotten.
One could say it's an exhibition about the current historical policy in Ukraine, or an exhibition about decommunisation, or a showcase of accumulating destructions before the very eyes of Benjamin's Angel of History – these descriptions of the author's intent will all be correct, though fragmentary and overambitious at the same time. One of the aims of the exhibition is to come up with the precise articulation of the intent behind it.
The author attempts to establish ways of looking into the former times without retreating into self-pity, the feeling people get when they regard themselves as carriers of the past, as flesh and blood museums or archives, mass graves or textbooks in human form.
What does immediately spring to mind? The following algorithm:
Break what is broken, forget all that's forgotten. The farce is to be repeated in the form of a sham.
Lies are to be passed on. The name ought to be abducted and denounced; old crimes are to be legalised under a new name. Accompany this by conspiracy ornaments, silent mutual understanding, and augur's smile.
Perform something akin to another execution of the Executed Renaissance. Punish for communism those who have been killed for nationalism. Or dismember them, those killed and later exhumed, on wrong and useful parts. (Then you'll hear counterarguments like “artworks aren't at fault" and “there was something good there, no need to get rid of it". There will be attempts to depoliticise a work of art instead of changing the politics through which you see it. They will also seek, above all else, not to acknowledge the historical poison the world is soaked with nowadays, instead of learning how to make it into a remedy.)
Give a fresh start to ideology. Of course, it will be changed to a new one, more able and competitive, but there will be no tries to demolish its base.
Themes, characters and plots
1. The artists of Boychuk school and their characters are exposed to the wind of history. The messages of the Executed Renaissance are addressed for today and explore the reasons why they would never be read.
Boychuk artists painted faces (of the Ukrainian people during the times of communist “localization policy") on the leaves of the plants grown in the soviet office rooms.
2. Renewal of stylite movement in Ukraine after “decommunization". The lonely ascetics would be praying on the deserted plinths of the soviet monuments. The figures for visualization are inspired by the frescos of Theophanes the Greek at the Novgorod Church of Transfiguration of Savior (1378).
3. In 1934 Oleksandr Rodchenko created the album 10 Years of Uzbekistan. Some top government officials of the Soviet Uzbekistan were repressed during 1937-1938. Rodchenko brushed the faces of the political prisoners with ink in his author's copy of the album.Storing the portraits of “public enemies" may have resulted in arrest. I affirm that black stains on the commissioners' faces are faces of spirits of history, spirits of audience.History (i.e. augmentation of ruins) is made under their intense stare.