Statement of the Visual Culture Research Center, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kyiv, Ukraine)
On February 10, 2012, the president of NaUKMA (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) Serhiy Kvit banned “ The Ukrainian Body,” an exhibition that explores the problematics of corporality in Ukrainian society, only three days after its opening. The entrance to the gallery [of the Visual Culture Research Center] is now locked. Serhiy Kvit explained his action with the following reasoning: “It’s not an exhibition, it’s shit.”
The consequence of such an action, which we consider to be an unacceptable act of censorship against a public space for dialogue, neglects important social and political problems and suppresses critical reflection. The exhibition, which was slated to close on February 28, presents works by Ukrainian artists Anatoly Belov, Eugenia Belorusets, Oksana Bryukhovetsky, Alexander Volodarsky, Nikita Kadan, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Liubov Malikov, Lada Nakonechna, Mykola Ridnii , and many others.
We can only hope that such a thoughtless act on the part of the university’s administration was the result of a misunderstanding that can be resolved. We are now petitioning to collect signatures to protest against artistic censorship within the walls of NaUKMA. Please, spread this message.
More about the exhibition
The exhibition “The Ukrainian Body” is a view at Ukrainian society as a material, cultural, informative, ideological and aesthetic environment of body’s being, understanding of the corporal experience of existing in it.
Our bodies are being under certain social and material circumstances and are determined by them. Corporal practices are determined by factors considered to be acceptable or desirable. The idea of beauty and norm is implemented in attitudes towards other bodies, sending efforts concerning oneself’s body. Through experts and teachers, family and advertisement, morals and medicine, religion and market we receive instructions on how to utilize our body, we use criteria of its “efficiency” and work out possibilities and modes of an interaction with other bodies.
This complex web of factors of corporal experience and ways of its symbolic cartography has been brought into the focus of art analysis. We suggest to interpret the body, particularly the imaginable, ideal, metaphorical, constructed and caught by participants’ eyes, both as a symptom of its environment and an instrument for its cognition. The participants are transforming the gallery space into a laboratory of experiment carried out on each of the visitors, testing and displaying their cognitive mechanisms, zones of sensitivity and systems of judgement.
Curators: Oksana Briukhovetska, Serge Klymko, Lesya Kulchynska.
Photographs of the exhibition “The Ukrainian Body” via Art Ukraine.
The Visual Culture Research Center will organize a public debate around the banning of the exhibition on Monday, February 13 at 12:00 pm on its premises, Skovoroda St., No. 2, Old Academic Building, 1st floor, Kyiv:
We welcome the president of NaUKMA Serhiy Kvit, and everyone in the Visual Culture Research Center to a discussion about the exhibition “Ukrainian body” with the participants, organizers and leaders of artistic and intellectual fields during the press preview of the exhibition – after which the center will resume its work.
All those who are interested in supporting the exhibition please contact the Press Centre of NaUKMA by phone: 044 425 15 36 / cell: 38 067 784 24 44, email: email@example.com , as well as the office of the President of NaUKMA by phone: 044 417 84 61.
“Ukrainian body” should be open!
Here you can find a growing archive of letters of support for the exhibition to be re-opened to the public: http://vcrc.ukma.kiev.ua/en/events/letters_ub
On Thursday, February 23rd, the Academic Council of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy passed a resolution to bar the activities of Visual Culture Research Center of NaUKMA [in Kyiv, Ukraine] after the end of the exhibition «Ukrainian Body». Read more here.
ArtLeaks will continue to report on this case as it develops.