At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013-2019/ La línea del frente. El arte ucraniano, 2013-2019

Curated by Svitlana Biedarieva and Hanna Deikun

At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013-2019 explored how visual artists and contemporary filmmakers interpret and influence the turbulent political and cultural situation in Ukraine of the last six years: from the civic protests in Kyiv (2013-2014) to the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the military conflict with Russia in the east of the country (2014-today). Our purpose was not only to show Ukrainian contemporary art but also to organize documentary screenings and debates, giving word to artists, filmmakers, and historians. It was the first project in Mexico that focused on contemporary Ukrainian art and documentary. It featured also the first large-scale exhibition of prominent Ukrainian artists in Latin America. We aimed at establishing an intercontinental connection and the development of new artistic and academic collaborations between the regions. The project took place between September 2019 and February 2020 in Mexico City. It involved three important cultural venues: the National Museum of Cultures, the Museum of Memory and Tolerance, and the National Cineteca (with the support of the International “Renaissance” Foundation, Mironova Foundation, Samsung Mexico, and Goethe-Institut Mexiko). Further, the exhibition was shown at the Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural Center in Winnipeg, Canada (with the support of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies).

Yevgenia Belorusets, Victories of the Defeated, 2014-2018. Image courtesy Norbert K. Iwan.

Roman Minin. Plan of Escape from the Donetsk Region, 2011. Image courtesy Victor Farías.
4. Zhanna Kadyrova, Detrás de la Cerca, 2014

Zhanna Kadyrova, Behind the Fence, 2014, Image courtesy Victor Farías. 

The National Museum of Cultures hosted an exhibition of leading Ukrainian artists from 25 September to 2 February. The participants included Yevgen Nikiforov, Piotr Armianovski, Olia Mykhailiuk, Roman Minin, Yevgenia Belorusets, Kristina Norman, Lada Nakonechna, Mykola Ridnyi, Yuri Koval, Anton Popernyak, Roman Mikhailov, Svitlana Biedarieva, and the documentation of works from the “Izolyatsia” Platform for Cultural Initiatives (Daniel Buren, Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Leandro Erlich).

The Museum of Memory and Tolerance provided the space for both Ukrainian and Mexican academics and artists who in four roundtables discussed the recent political and cultural situation in Ukraine. These discussions took place 5, 12, 19, and 26 October 2019.

On 8-14 November 2019, 10 documentaries by Ukrainian and international filmmakers were presented at the National Cineteca. The participating filmmakers were Serhii Loznytsia, Tania Khodakivska, Kateryna Gornostai, Maria Stoianova, Piotr Armianovski, Oleksandr Techinskyi, Sashko Protyah, Olena Gorlova, and Mykola Ridnyi.

Exhibitions reviews

Jessica Zychowicz. A Dans Macabre in the Times of the Pandemic. Imaginations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies. 29 January 2021.

Myroslav Shkandrij. Front Line Art. An Exhibition on Ukraine’s Six Years of Conflict, 2013-2019. New Pathway. 20 May 2020.

Ricardo Macías Cardoso. Compartiendo la patria con el enemigo. La Tempestad. 19 de noviembre de 2021.

Curatorial text

Світлана Бєдарєва. Лінія фронту: між Мексикою та Канадою. Prostory. 13 вересня 2020.

3. Svitlana Biedarieva, Morfología de la Guerra, 2017

Svitlana Biedarieva, The Morphology of War, 2017. Image courtesy Victor Farías

Context

Our goal is to foster an intercultural dialogue about the place and possibilities of contemporary art in the context of the turbulent political, economic, and cultural situation. This exhibition aimed at helping establish stronger connections between the two countries, Mexico and Ukraine, and exploring how art can demonstrate similar social concerns in different cultural conditions.

Mexican, Ukrainian, and international artists and academics had the possibility to discuss how artists reflected on civic protests and local and international conflicts, as well as how the turbulent times encouraged art production at the front line. To achieve this goal, we gathered a team of Ukrainian artists, many of whom are well-known in Ukraine and internationally.

Olia Mykhailiuk, Just Went Away, 2015.

2. Lada Nakonecha. Los Tal Llamados, 2015.jpg

Lada Nakonechna, The So-Called, 2015. Image courtesy Victor Farías

Virtual tour of the exhibition “At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013-2019”. “Oseredok” Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre, Winnipeg, Canada.

The exhibition featured performances by two Mexican artists, César Martínez Silva and Paola Paz Yee, responding to the topics of trauma, armed violence, and economic inequality on the geopolitical map.

César Martínez Silva. War Snacks with Struggle and Spice. Performance. 26 September 2019. National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City.
César Martínez Silva. War Snacks with Struggle and Spice. Performance. 26 September 2019. National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City.
Paola Paz Yee. We are Americans Too. Performance. 6 January 2020, National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City.
Paola Paz Yee. We are Americans Too. Performance. 6 January 2020, National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City.
Presentation of the exhibition catalog At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013-2019, editors Svitlana Biedarieva and Hanna Deikun. National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City, 2020.

For further information about the project, please visit its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lalineadelfrente2019/ 

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