National Art Museum of Ukraine, Polish Institute in Kyiv and Visual Culture Research Center

Invite to the opening of the

Concept by Pawel Althamer

May 18, 20:00
6 Hrushevskogo St., Kyiv

The Draftsmen’s Congress initiated by the artist Pawel Althamer, will take place from May 18 until June 8, 2013. During this period the premises of the National Art Museum will turn into a platform for free public communication through drawing as a principal means of expressing one’s opinions, passions, and having a discussion.

Draftsmen’s Congress in Kyiv opens on the Museum Night on May 18, 2013 at 20:00. Artist Pawel Althamer, the members of ESC social center (Rome), as well as Ukrainian artistic and political initiatives Hudrada, R.E.P., Direct Action, Feminist Ofenzyva, and everyone interested will participate in the opening of the Congress.


Draftsmen’s Congress is a meeting of people who communicate by images instead of words. Any eager to participate can join the discussion through paint, charcoal, collage or other traditional materials and techniques in order to express themselves on the topics of their concern.

During Draftsmen’s Congress one of the rooms of the Museum will turn into a platform for continuous visual communication. The Museum’s walls and floor will be covered with white surface, which the visitors together with Ukrainian and foreign artists, architects, designers will gradually fill with their drawings. Over the period of three weeks anyone will have a chance to leave their own trace within the walls of the most honored art institution in Ukraine.

Not happy with what other people paint? Use a paintbrush to cover their images or draw your comments next to them. Together with Pawel Althamer we encourage everyone to have an honest talk. Be polite or politically incorrect, delighted or indignant, and fight others in an image battle. Picture your emotions, convictions and demands. Spit out the truth and speak out!
We oppose the hierarchies of qualification and popularity that dominate in the art world with access to public visual communication, which is free and open to all. Politics, religion, economic issues, ideological and aesthetic opinions can become the points of intersection within the discussion unfolding in the Museum. No opinion will be in a privileged position, for anybody can react and transform it beyond recognition or cover it up entirely.

Representatives of different social groups with different interests, views and convictions will be invited to participate in the dialogue and encouraged to communicate in a nonverbal way. Such visual conversation is destined to overcome the barriers that usually occur in an oral discussion.

Parallel program that will accompany the Congress in the Museum will include video screenings, presentations, debates, and workshops with the participation of Ukrainian and foreign artists, curators, activists.

Draftsmen’s Congress was for the first time initiated by the artist Pawel Althamer within the 7th Berlin Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2012 (curated by Artur Zmiewski). One of the nonworking churches in Berlin (Elisabethkirche) was transformed into a platform for common drawing. Its success with the audience of the biennial incited Pawel Althamer to develop the idea and to make such congresses in Rome, Warsaw and Kyiv.

Pawel Althamer is an artist, sculptor, performancist, representative of Polish critical art, winner of the Vincent Van Gogh Award. For many years he is teaching art lessons for the excluded social groups (disabled people, inhabitants of poor districts). His works have been at Documenta X, Manifesta 3, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin) etc.

Special partner:
Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski

Project partners:
Foundation for Development of Ukraine
Stedley Art Foundation

Media partners:
Наш Киев
Political Critique

VIsual Culture Research Center::
Lesia Kulchinska, kulchinska@gmail.com, tel. +38 093 0400548

Polish Institute in Kyiv::
Tetyana Artushevska, tatiana.artuszewska@instytutpolski.org, tel. (044) 288 0304

National Art Museum of Ukraine::
Nataliya Mykhaylova, namumuseum@gmail.com, tel. (044) 278 7454