The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 has taken place in Kyiv



The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 took place on October 20–November 26 at five locations in Kyiv. Its program featured more than 40 events. Over 20,000 people visited The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017.

The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 took place in the format of an international forum for art and knowledge. A series of exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures and discussions led by well-known historians, philosophers and cultural activists addressed the political, social, economic, and historical circumstances in Ukraine and Europe in search of collective answers to today’s most pressing issues.

The main location of The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 was the Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information, or “UFO” (at 180 Antonovycha Street Metro Lybidska), a monument to modernist architecture, which may soon be transformed into a segment of the shopping and entertainment center “Ocean Mall.” Within the format of The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 there was a meeting with Florian Yuriev, the architect of the “UFO,” as well as public discussion concerning a project for its potential renovation. This meeting led to the creation of the #SAVEKYIVMODERNISM initiative. Urbanists, architects and activists are now mobilizing in order to protect the city’s modernist architecture – demanding that City of Kyiv include “UFO” and other buildings into the state register of architectural monuments.

During The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017, there were many film screenings, lectures, performances, book presentations, exhibitions, and concerts.

The Opening Exhibition “The Festivities Are Cancelled!” by the Hudrada curatorial group (Ukraine) took place upon the occasion of the Centennial of the October Revolution. The exhibit was dedicated to the memory of revolution and the phenomenon of censorship in both historical and contemporary contexts; the event proceeded in two parts that took place at the main Biennial location, the “UFO,” and at the Pavlo Tychyna Literary Memorial Museum Apartment. The exhibit at Tychyna Museum was shut down by the administration earlier than planned due to the graphic work “Delegation of Power” by Davyd Chychkan, which was banned from the exhibit by the Museum collective due to fear of attack from far-right groups. Protesting censorship, the exhibition curators made it impossible to view the works without closing the exhibition. For more information about the situation, see the comments from the curators of the exhibit and museum workers.

The exhibition “Market” curated by Hanna Tsyba (Ukraine) was the first contemporary art installation on the premises of Kyiv’s Zhytniy Market. The pieces included in the exhibit each aimed to draw attention to the building that houses the Market, a distinctive example of late modernist architecture that has not been included into the state register of architectural monuments. The work “Market Relations” by the architects and researchers of neo-modernism Oleksandr Burlaka and Oleksiy Bykov depicts the history of planning and construction from 1960-1980 with regard to Ukrainian indoor markets. This particular installation has been donated to Zhytniy Market as a permanent display.

The exhibition “Dead Souls” by Marina Naprushkina (Germany) and Oliver Ressler (Austria) was on display at the Visual Culture Research Center. The installation centered around considerations and reflections of the many critical issues that refugees face today. The works by Marina Naprushkina presented key provisions within EU asylum and migration policy, which often leads to economic and social inequality. Oliver Ressler focused on struggles to obtain citizenship, at the same time questioning the implicitly exclusionary nature of the concept based on the example of occupied factories, in which workers aim to achieve control over the means of production.

The “Dance, Dance, Dance” exhibition in the newly opened BURSA GALLERY runs until December 10! Its curator is Serge Klymko (Ukraine), who, as the founder of the “Nyzhnioyurkivska 31” space, was personally involved in creating the conditions for the current booming rave culture in Kyiv. In his work he problematizes the concept of the “New East” by considering the post-Soviet dance scene as a symptom of social and political processes.

Participants of The Kyiv International included: Mikhail Ryklin (Germany), Hiroshi McDonald Mori (Japan), Phil Collins (Germany), Marina Naprushkina (Germany), Oliver Ressler (Austria), Philip Rizk (Egypt), Oksana Bulgakova (Germany), Noah Fischer (USA), Artur Żmijewski (Poland), Olia Sosnovskaya (Belarus), Valentyna Petrova, Mykola Ridnyi (Ukraine) and many others.

The Kyiv International also included the launch of the experimental music platform “Radio International,” in addition to a new series of events dedicated to the issues of sensory perception and the status of contemporary media. Through interacting with Biennial guests and visitors, participants in the experimental radio workshop explored the possibilities for conjunction between public and private expression. Radio International continues to release voice collages, interviews, and special editions created from the materials gathered during the Biennial. Listen to the Radio International by clicking this link. Be sure to follow updates at their Facebook page.

The Kyiv International closed with the performance “Petition against Death” by the world-renowned French artist ORLAN.

The Kyiv International parallel program took place at various art centers and cultural institutions in Prague, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, and Madrid.

“The Kyiv International Guidebook,” consisting of texts by historians, political philosophers and artists – including Biennial participants – is due to be published soon.

Nearly all of The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017 events were documented. Videos are available on the official VCRC Youtube channel, photos – on Flickr.

The Kyiv International project will continue in Spring 2018, as announced at the closing of the Kyiv Biennial 2017.

Follow further announcements on the Visual Culture Research Center website and in social networks:

Organized by Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine).

Institutional Partners: Avtonomi Akadimia (Athens, Greece), BURSA Gallery (Kyiv, Ukraine), Columbia Global Centers | Paris (France), DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (Berlin, Germany), De Balie (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Depo (Istanbul, Turkey), Depot (Vienna, Austria), documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel, Greece/Germany), European Alternatives (Paris, France), Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin, Germany), Hromadske TV (Kyiv, Ukraine), Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna, Austria), Medusa Books (Kyiv, Ukraine), National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Center (Kyiv, Ukraine), Political Critique (Warsaw, Poland), Shedhalle (Zurich, Switzerland), Studio 14 (Athens, Greece), Transeuropa Festival 2017 (Madrid, Spain), (Prague, Czech Republic).

Partners: British Council / Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, ERSTE Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, International Renaissance Foundation, Robert Bosch Foundation.