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Berlin art gallery to host exhibition exploring effects of war on Ukrainian artists’ work

Berlin art gallery to host exhibition exploring effects of war on Ukrainian artists’ work

The ZIMMER48 art gallery in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin is set to host media arts exhibition from November 10-15 titled “Fragile Frontier” that will take a deep dive into how the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has profoundly affected Ukrainian artists and irreversibly altered their creative work.

Organized by the Ukrainian arts project Temporarily Replaced Art, the exhibition aims to conduct an incisive artistic study analyzing the changes in Ukrainian artists’ output, perspectives, emotions, and practices since Russia launched its full-fledged invasion on February 24, 2022 – a date that cleaved Ukrainian life into a stark before and after. Through displaying a multi-genre collection of works by both prominent and emerging Ukrainian artists now based in Ukraine and abroad, the show seeks to illuminate how the devastating war has transformed the country’s vibrant arts scene.

The exhibition boasts an array of Ukrainian artists working in varied media such as video, photography, digital art, animation, painting, and collage. Video artist Olga Kashimbeckova, who has exhibited at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, will present two video installations reflecting on the war’s impact. Digital media artist Oksana Chepelyk, winner of numerous international new media arts awards, will show a video and photo series. Painter and illustrator Maryna Hromenko, whose illustrations are collected by the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum in Berlin, will display a series of collages created during the war.

Other exhibiting artists include photographer and video artist Maryna Shkarupa, mixed media painters Ksenia Hnylytskaya and Dmytro Dulfan, collage artist Olga Yarovaya, photographer Svitlana Yatsenko, animator Daria Terekhova, and artistic duo Ivan Tsupka and Elena Sidorenko. Together, they represent a cross-section of Ukraine’s vibrant contemporary arts scene now shattered by Russia’s aggression.

The artist duo of Ivan Tsupka and Elena Sidorenko will present their project “Little Gang of Angels,” which highlights their efforts supporting Ukraine’s armed forces. They have been producing camouflage nets, ghillie suits, thermal blankets and pillows for Ukrainian soldiers. Since one of their team members is a professional model, they decided to stage a fashion photoshoot featuring her modeling ghillie suits they made, with the suits styled as angel wings. Through this unique photoshoot, they hope to draw attention to their work outfitting Ukraine’s troops in an unconventional way that may be slightly controversial. Ultimately, they aim to increase awareness and generate more material donations for their project helping Ukraine’s military.

Through juxtaposing works by artists still active in Ukraine and those who have relocated abroad, the exhibition tackles salient questions about the war’s impact. It asks how artists’ emotions, identities, choices of subject matter, resources, and access to global artistic conversations have been altered by the war.

In keeping with its artistic study premise, the show ultimately leaves these questions of war’s transformative artistic impact open to the interpretation of the viewers. Visitors are invited to absorb the works on display and draw their own conclusions about how Ukraine’s artists are processing and responding to the war through their art.

The Temporarily Replaced Art project behind the exhibition is supported by the Goethe-Institut’s Projektfonds Ukraine initiative, which is sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office to provide aid and cultural opportunities to Ukraine’s arts community. The show is presented in collaboration with The Institute of Unstable Thoughts arts organization.

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