Mykola Ridnyi & Volodymyr Vorotniov
AdHoc-Fellowship “Weltoffenes Berlin”
Thanks to the AdHoc-Fellowship “Weltoffenes Berlin” funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme is able to grant the Ukrainian artists Mykola Ridnyi and Volodymyr Vorotniov a fellowship, starting in November 2022.
Mykola Ridnyi (born in Kharkiv, Ukraine) is an artist, filmmaker, and curator. In 2008, he graduated from the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Art. Ridnyi is a founding member of the artist collective SOSka group. In 2022 he curated several screening programs of Ukrainian film and video in MAXXI Rome, Museum Folkwang Essen, National Gallery in Sofia. Ridnyi works across media ranging from site-specific installations and sculpture to photography and experimental films. His works have been shown in exhibitions and film festivals including Survival Kit 13 in Riga (2022), Transmediale at HKW in Berlin (2019), All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and other venues.
The current focus of his artistic research relates to parallels and interconnections between political representation and the human perception of information. How can the visual language of ophthalmology be used to describe social dehumanization? The mechanics of vision, the function of sight, as well as aftervision effects play an important role for the description of contemporary social and political realities in theoretical works of such figures as Polish artist Władysław Strzemiński (1893 – 1952) and American writer Helen Keller (1880 – 1968). Are we ready to sacrifice the aesthetics of violent and emotional imagery to bring back a raw version of reality? How can we talk about violence in the context of the calamity of war, without multiplying it in artistic production? Which alternative vision and/or visuality might be accommodated?
Volodymyr Vorotniov, as many other artists from Ukraine, has been affected by the events on Kyiv Maidan in 2013-2014 and the following occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbas by putinist Russia. The full-scale invasion in 2022 has shifted the focus further on war, emergency and survival. The challenging circumstances force artists to engage in volunteering, cooperation, mobilization and to re-invent their role in the social fabric.
In 2017, Vorotnov took a piece of coal from the mine in his hometown in Western Ukraine and brought it along to Lysytschansk, the historical mining town in Donbas. The artist walked the distance of nearly 1000 km by foot, donating the the coal to the local museum after this month-long journey. This gesture syncretically combined different fields of the artist’s interests, from contemporary ethnography, flaneurism, sports, labour study, to post-ideology and cultural heritage issues. The city of Lysytschansk has been recently occupied by the Russian invaders, but the documentation stand was evacuated in advance. Working with text, image and movement Vorotnov attempts to examine the paths of different artistic practices hurt by the war.