until 17.12. | #3678ARTatBerlin | Kuckei + Kuckei presents from 21 October 2022 the exhibition Anonymous. The Right To Remember by the artist Vlad Yurashko. It is the fourth solo exhibition by the artist with the Berlin gallery.
The Ukrainian painter, born in Poltava in 1970, has already repeatedly referred to military structures and related actions in earlier works. In particular, he has dealt intensively with his own time as a conscript, still in the days of the Soviet Union. His current works, which are shown in our exhibition “Anonymous. Right to Memory”, are influenced by the current war events in his home country. With his pictures, Vlad Yurashko tries to claim and preserve the right of every person to their individual history and memory.
Woman under Cypress, 2022, oil on canvas, each 50 x 40 cm (Diptych)
Vlad Yurashko on his current works:
Photographs from a family album on road maps from Google Maps, from Poltava to Banska Bystrica, where my mother and sister travelled within seven days of the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, served as the impetus for the creation of this exhibition. I superimposed photographs on the silhouettes and curves of the roads from Poltava to Banska Bystrica, recognising that this was the route that saved their lives. As an artist, I created this work as a metaphor for the modern, globalised world, where you can save a human life with Google Maps or destroy or annihilate it with precise geo-coordinates.
Against the background of the war situation, I understand the representation and transfer of at least a small story of an ordinary Ukrainian family onto the canvas and into the exhibition space as an act of decolonisation, liberation from the Russian empire and its new colonial plans for Ukraine. My task as an artist is to preserve the image of individual history against the backdrop of public history for the future and to convey the idea that truth and the right to history and memory belong to everyone and not just to one tyrant.
Decolonisation brings optimism and hope for the freedom and independence longed for centuries, but at the same time it also threatens destruction, not only of people with weapons fighting for this independence, but also of documentary evidence of the existence of an ordinary person or his family. When my mother and sister reached Slovakia safely, I remembered the photos that remained in my mother’s flat in Poltava, where a cruise missile, a shell or a bomb could hit at any time. And if all the family photos disappear due to the destruction of the house, the documents and evidence of my family’s real existence will also disappear.
In a documentary film, Gerhard Richter says that the photo we see is an optical trap. We don’t know or even have a clue what was to the left or right of the edge of the image we see in the photo. Our family album contains photos that Vitaly Litovka, my stepfather, took in 1976 during our trip to Crimea. In most cases, they are paired shots of a tourist trip, a young woman under a cypress tree, boys on a boat, the same woman against a backdrop of mountains, sea or beach. But all these photos are pairs of images. In the first picture, the action seems to be in preparation, the figures are often in motion. In the second picture, the figures sometimes look more boring than in the first picture; it is now a banal souvenir photo in which all the figures are in static poses.
But if you put the two pictures side by side, you see the expanded possibilities of the optical trap Richter was talking about. Because we can observe not only the movement of time between the shots, but also the figures and the photographer, we see additional details on the periphery of the action. Art historian Jerry Saltz says that paintings have time enclosed in their surface. The past, the present and the future are enclosed in the paired images and are suspended in front of the viewer. And when we speak of time, it moves much more slowly here than between other recorded events, at a speed that the viewer determines.
When we are faced with the existential decision of what place to take in a radically changed world, our relatives in our family album help us. They look at us decades later and tell us not to be afraid to make that choice. Good or bad, there is a way. And the opportunity to form a judgement is given to us as viewers of their history.
Vernissage: Friday, 21 October 6.00 pm
Exhibition dates: Friday, 21 October – Saturday, 17 December 2022to the gallery
Cover photo: Uncle Kolya’s Album, 2022, oil on canvas, 50 x 55 cm
Exhibition Vlad Yurashko – Kuckei + Kuckei | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin