You are here

Avant-garde and Ruins

Panel discussion and film program in the context of the exhibition Nikita Kadan. Project of Ruins

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 to Wednesday, September 11, 2019



Ausstellungsansicht / exhibition view Nikita Kadan. Project of Ruins,  27. Juni bis 6. Oktober 2019 / June 27 to October 6, 2019, mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Photo: Klaus Pichler, © mumok

Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm: Panel discussion

The panel discussion is dedicated to the political paradoxes of Ukrainian art history, especially to the ways to speak about the period of avant-garde and modernist art of the 1910s to ’30s. Today the art history books and museum displays turned into battlefields of “memory wars.” The same monuments can be considered part of the national cultural heritage and, at the same time, “totalitarian symbols” that have to be destroyed or removed from public space according to “decommunization” laws. On the one hand, avant-garde as deeply political art still influences art-historical narration, while on other hand memory about avant-garde practices is influenced by actual politics. 

Nikita Kadan, artist
Oksana Barshynova, art historian, Head of the Department for 20th- and 21st-Century Art at the National Art Museum of Ukraine
Evgeniya Molyar, art critic, member of the DE NE DE initiative
Stanislav Menzelevskyi (tbc), film scholar, Head of the Research Department of the Dovzhenko Film Centre  

Rainer Fuchs, Chief Curator, mumok

Wednesday, September 11, 7 pm: Film programm

mumok and the Dovzhenko Film Centre in Kiev present two historical films by Ivan Kavaleridze:

Perekop, 1930, (40 min), silent movie with English subtitles
Prometheus, 1935, (83 min) sound film with English subtitles.

With an introduction by Stanislav Menzelevskyi, film scholar and director of the research department at the Dovzhenko Film Centre in Kiev. Followed by a conversation with Nikita Kadan.

Perekop was made to mark the tenth anniversary of the victory of the Red Army over the White Army. The title refers to the city of the same name on the land bridge to the Crimea, where the battle took place. This final Red Army victory led to the existence of the Soviet Union being proclaimed. In Russian, the word “perekop” also means ditch or furrow. Kavaleridze plays with the double meaning when he refers in the film to the entrenched history of the early twentieth century: “In the future our life will be one single ‘perekope’ which we must skillfully aim towards and conquer, that is our life” (Kavaleridze). The film is characterized by bold contrasts between static block-like images and dynamic fragments with surprising perspectives.

Prometheus (1935) is a key work in the history of Ukrainian film in the 1930s. Kavaleridze tells the story of his own family. Ivas, a young farm laborer, is enlisted in the war and sent to the Caucasus. The landowner forces Ivas’s girlfriend to enter a brothel. Inspired by the heroic resistance of people from the mountains against the Russian army, Ivas returns to his place of birth and incites a rebellion there. When this film was shown representatives of the Stalinist regime criticized the artist as a formalist falsifying history and prohibited him from continuing his work in film and teaching for the next twenty years.

Ivan Kavaleridze (1887–1978)
1907 to 1909 studies at the Kiev Art Academy, 1909 to 1910 at the Imperial Academy of the arts in Saint Petersburg, 1910 and 1911 studies in the private studio of Naum Aronson in Paris. First work in film 1911. Worked from 1928 to 1941 as an artist, author and film director in film studios in Odessa and Kiev. From 1957 to 1962 film director at the Dovzhenko Film Centre in Kiev. Active in implementing Lenin’s plan for monumental propaganda after the October Revolution and commissioned to make many monuments in Ukraine.


Free admission