Weekend Exhibition 2022: One Can Keep Screaming – Culture

Image in typical Norbert Pesci colors. Fresh, modern and cheerful – you might think. Had it not been for the screaming and angry face of Pascal. The trauma is still profound after eight weeks. The horror of the Russian war against Ukraine is growing day by day. “Pascal” sounds like a picture of the world situation, as the title refers to the physical stress named after Blaise Pascal.

“The image depicts the emotional anger and helplessness we face,” Pesci says. “You can scream nonstop like Oscar Matzrath!” He also remembers his childhood. At the time, Putin was stationed in East Germany as an agent of the KGB. Had he been in power, the tanks would have been rolling.” When asked about his commitment to refugees from Syria in 2015, the artist noted that Putin had supported the Assad regime at the time. There appears to have been a lack of awareness in politics over the past twenty years. The annexation of Crimea the previous year.

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In light of the humanitarian tragedy in Ukraine, all attention is now focused on helping those affected. Donate, donate, donate! Pesky says. Take the first step with “Pascal”. Within 72 hours, the copy brought 229,500 euros, which went equally to Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin and Save the Children.

The war did not have much effect on business

His exhibition designer Johann König orchestrated the sale and is now on his way back from the Biennale: “We all face great challenges. This leads to a huge commitment. What we see in European politics can also be seen in the art scene.” As a major exhibition, Koenig feels the effects of increasing energy costs, but he says the war has not had a significant impact on business. The current exhibition with Zhanna Kadynova was planned long before the war.

Ukrainian shows Koenig’s drawings and installation “Balyanitsia”. She impressively and at the same time humorously indicates the current situation in the country, as well as the culture of her homeland. Russians cannot correctly pronounce the word palianytsia, which is the word that refers to the traditional round wheat bread. Since the occupation of Donbass and Luhansk, it has become a symbol of resistance.

Art East Gallery draws attention to artists from Ukraine

“During the first two weeks of the war, art seemed like a dream to me,” the artist, born in 1981, wrote in the statement accompanying the exhibition. “Now I am convinced that every artistic gesture is necessary to make us visible and to make our voices heard.”

Cornelia Schmidmayer and Ivana Bogdanova-Bertrand are trying to do just that with the Oriental Art Gallery in Berlin-Kyiv by paying more attention to the country’s art. That is why they founded the Peace for Art Foundation, with the help of which Schmidmayer opened an exhibition of current photography from Ukraine in Paris. Peace for Art connects artists with institutions, offers residencies and helps with travel. For example, she allowed the artist duo Etching Room to escape to Berlin.

The truck was already loaded with art from Kyiv

From May 10, the two Ukrainians will be exhibiting their drawings at the Art East Gallery. At the same time, there is a charity campaign by photographer Dmitriy Bogachuk, to whom the French Institute dedicates an exhibition from April 29. His pictures were already packed and loaded when the truck carrying the pictures could not leave Kyiv because of the war. Reprinted and framed by Peace for Art. In addition, two museums in Ukraine received financial support and Ukrainian publications were translated into German and English. Schmidmayer is convinced that “without culture, there is no future for Ukraine.” According to UNESCO, more than 50 cultural sites were damaged or destroyed on 1 April. Appeals “We mustn’t wait until it’s too late again!”

In fact, Ukraine has so far been a blind spot in the local art scene. The lack of knowledge about this is a consequence of the geopolitical colonialism of the Soviet era and now of Putin’s dictatorship. Volker Diehl also felt this when he presented the artist group “Alliance 22” in 2016, which has Ukrainian origins from Malevich, Tatlin and Alexandra Exeter.

In her series of works “Palianytsia”, the Ukrainian artist Zhanna Kadyrova refers to a Ukrainian word meaning bread, which …Photo: Ivan Sotkin; Zhanna Kadyrova, Balianitsia, 2022, Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua

“At that time no one was interested in Ukrainian art,” recalls Diehl, who was also a merchant in Moscow for a long time.

On the other hand, curiosity about his latest exhibition “Out of Depth” was suddenly great. However, due to Diehl’s connections in Russia, his Ukrainian artists were pressured to cancel the exhibition. That would surely have consequences for him. Diehl fears, because the absence of their collectors will severely affect his exhibition.

Grisebach organized the auction “Artists of Ukraine”

For Thomas Schulte, on the other hand, things went well in the first quarter. “However, the trade fairs we attended from February to March were weakened by the war,” he says. Wealthy Russian clients are mainly based in London or Switzerland. The middle sphere usually buys art from their own culture, says Michaela Kapitsky von Griesbach – eg Faberge eggs or Ilga Reppen.

“For this reason alone, we could have handled these clients,” says the managing director of the Berlin auction house. “We also comply with the money laundering law,” she adds. She adds: “There are sanction lists and the auction house operates on the principle of KYC, but we feel that people are concerned and that we are focused on the real assets.”

The auction house organized the so-called sale of the white glove “Artists of Ukraine”, which brought in 190 thousand euros. “Grisebach is traditionally committed to the city and the community,” explains Diandra Doneker, the company’s youngest managing director. The commitment of curator Juliette Koth and the participating artists was overwhelming. Supported “Be An Angel”, a regional project. At the same time, artists were able to direct their donations in a purposeful way. 3,000 euros for a picture of Tamina Amadear went to People of Color.

Jonas Burgert makes his studio for art from Ukraine

“Be An Angel” directly supports Ukrainians on their journey, but also supports other initiatives such as those of Vasily Grogol, an art-loving Kyiv hotelier, and artist Kristina Skripka. Through them, photos, drawings and photographs of Masha Riva and Ivan Grabko came to Berlin. More precisely: to Jonas Burgert, who makes his studio in Weißensee available during Gallery Weekend (see information box). For Bourget, it is especially important that the artists help each other.

The strength of the solidarity of Ukrainian artists was recently demonstrated at an event for the online magazine “Berlin Art Link”. “We don’t see ourselves as victims,” ​​Anna Potyomkina explained right away, she is the curator on “Asortymentna Kimnata”, an initiative of painter Lesya Khomenko, which makes studios available for refugee artists.

And the sculptor Katya Buchatska added: “Even if it is not so popular in artistic circles, I am very proud of my country now!” However, artists do not want you to be inspired by politics.

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