HUMAN / international exhibition / Small Gallery, Witches’ Tower, Centre for Creative Activity
an international exhibition
Ola Kozioł & Suavas Lewy
Myro Klochko & Anatoliy Tatarenko
Andriy Rachinskiy & Daniil Revkovskiy
Curators / Edyta Wolska, Oksana Karpovets
Opening and panel discussion with the artists
7.07.2023 / 6 pm / admission free
Centre for Creative Activity in Ustka / ul. Zaruskiego 1a
Panel moderator / Roman Lewandowski
8.07 – 8.10.2023
Small Gallery in Słupsk / Partyzantów 31a
Witches’ Tower in Słupsk / al. F. Nullo 8
Centre for Creative Activity in Ustka / Zaruskiego 1a
The vicious circle of catastrophes provoked and repeated by humans for thousands of years has brought us to a standstill and undermined our faith in humanity and the future. Has the civilisational development of humanism really taken place? Or will primitive human instincts of domination, control and possession not be tamed even in the face of the destruction of mankind and the Earth itself? The works in this exhibition reflect today’s general sense of the proximity of the potential self-destruction of humanity due to the irreversible consequences of environmental degradation, the nuclear threat and the war in Ukraine, which affects the whole world. However, the position of the artists represented in the exhibition is not passive and merely observational. They analyse the intersections of historical memory and the socio-political realities of the present and refuse singular melancholy in favour of multifaceted forms of criticism, resistance and indifference. The exhibition as a whole is devoid of utopian illusions framed by anthropocentric, modern logic, and is instead based on a dystopian perspective and the recognition that the very nature of coexistence is inherently conflictual. How we use this conflictual essence of cohabitation to address the environmental and humanitarian crises we face today will largely determine the future we live in. /Oksana Karpovets/
We live in a world in which our society has been burdened by the uncertainty of tomorrow and a sense of spiritual fragmentation, and our bonds of belonging have been put to the test. In view of the ongoing war in Ukraine, culture has an important function to play in order to constitute all the more firmly our sense of identity in a democratic world. Art, too, carries a weight that cannot be overestimated; like a barometer, it reflects the instability of the world and the process of the emergence, disintegration and re-establishment of values.
The exhibition ‘Human’ aims to integrate the artists’ efforts for a world that gives us a minimum of certainty about tomorrow and mutual solidarity. The ongoing global crises, and in particular the Russian aggression against Ukraine, prove that a person can lose loved ones overnight and the social environment can be shaken to its foundations.
We live in a time when more than two dozen armed conflicts are being waged around the world. However, public opinion has been most shaken by the crimes of genocide in Bucza and other Ukrainian towns. For a people living in a post-Auschwitz and Bucza world, all fundamental narratives have lost their validity. Perhaps the world and man need to be reinvented. “Human” is a project that aims to be a new voice and a new narrative in a still old world.
Shortly after the outbreak of war and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, female refugee artists and their children were invited to the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art and were hosted by our institution for six months. During their stay, in the course of numerous meetings, workshops and conversations, the initial concept of the exhibition “Human” was born, which arose from a natural need to address the subject of the war in Ukraine, the artists directly affected by it and their relatives. The creators of the concept are Oksana Karpovets from Ukraine and Edyta Wolska, director of the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art in Slupsk. The concept of the project goes beyond the immediate circumstances and involves the presentation of works that illustrate the humanistic rupture that affected the world and culture well before Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Modern man lives with the baggage of heavy experiences and as an individual, torn by the winds of history, who must reassemble the world . Therefore, the aim of the exhibition is to attempt to describe and re-tell the world. “Human” is a project to which the curators Oksana Karpovets and Edyta Wolska have invited artists mainly from Poland and Ukraine.
The opening ceremony will feature a panel discussion on the condition of contemporary man with the participation of the curators, artists and artists, as well as invited guests. The panel will be moderated by Dr Roman Lewandowski, who will also collaborate on the entire Human project. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.
Oksana Karpovets is an art historian and curator specializing in contemporary art from Eastern Europe. She was born in Ukraine, grew up in Belarus, and studied in the United States. Since 2020 she was based in Lviv, where she was an invited curator at the Jam Factory Art Center. Because of the war, she settled in Paris, where she is currently working on her doctoral dissertation entitled “Ukrainian Video Art (1980-2020): An Inter-media Instrument for Emancipation, Re-politicization, and Social Change” at Sorbonne Université.
Oksana works on several curatorial projects. At la Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, she is curating the exhibition When the Inconceivable Takes Form, featuring the works of 15 artists in exile from Ukraine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Belarus and Myanmar. At the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art in Poland, she is co-curating the exhibition Human, presenting the works of Ukrainian and Polish artists. In parallel, she is a co-curator of the international exhibition Organic Communities at the Jam Factory Art Center in Lviv, Ukraine, which was scheduled for fall 2022, but was postponed to 2024 due to the war.
Oksana did professional trainings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California. With the support of the Fulbright Scholarship, she received her MA in Museum Studies from New York University in 2018.
Photo / Krzysztof Tomasik
Consul General of Ukraine in Gdańsk Oleksandr Płodysty
Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodship – Mieczysław Struk
Mayor of the City of Słupsk Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewodzka
Mayor of the City of Ustka Jacek Maniszewski