Pompei for Ukraine. A Letter from the Front

Pompei for Ukraine. A Letter from the Front
7th October
, 7pm
Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Palestra Grande
Introduces Giulia Colletti, with words by Andrea Viliani

A selection of filmic works and moving images by contemporary artists from Ukraine, conceived by Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino and presented in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, as part of Pompeii Commitment.

The programme “A Letter from the Front” has been originally commissioned and produced by Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rivoli-Torino (member of AMACI-Associazione Musei d’Arte Contemporanea Italiani), following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The programme is curated by NIKITA KADAN (Kiev, 1982; lives and works in Kiev) with GIULIA COLLETTI (Curator of Digital and Public Programs at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea). The screening event will also appear online from 8-15 October 2022 – on pompeiicommitment.org and pompeiisites.org.

The screening at Pompeii is introduced by a recorded conversation between Nikita Kadan and Giulia Colletti, here available in its entirety

Full Programme

Yaroslav Futymsky, Flag is burning, 2019
color, sound, 1:51 min. Courtesy the Artist

Yaroslav Futymsky, Flag is burning, 2019, color, sound, 1:51 min.
Courtesy the artist

Yaroslav Futymsky, Second attempt, 2019
color, sound, 3:28 min. Courtesy the Artist

The videoperformances of Yaroslav Futymsky are often related to the traces of political history hidden in the landscape. At the same time, they take the shape of political manifestations in a postpolitical world: summoning the ghosts of past and present revolutions.

Yaroslav Futymsky, Second attempt, 2019, color, sound, 3:28 min.
Courtesy the artist

Katya Libkind, Where are Your Big Ears Dear Dead Grandma?, 2021
color, sound, 6:44 min. Courtesy the Artist

Libkind’s grandmother died at the age of 86 in Israel, choking on plain water. Reconstruct a nonexistent conversation on her birthday, the artist pays homage to her ancestor.

Katya Libkind, Where are Your Big Ears Dear Dead Grandma?, 2021, color, sound, 6:44 min.
Courtesy the artist

AntiGonna, Enter the War , 2017
color, sound, 3:57 min. Courtesy the Artist

War lives deep under the Earth. People themselves let it in. The war asks to enter.

AntiGonna, Enter the War, 2017, color, sound, 3:57 min.
Courtesy the artist

AntiGonna, Rave on the bones , 2017
color, sound, 6:59 min. Courtesy the Artist

At the same time, when the war continues in Ukraine till today, also the raves continue. Raves on the bones.

AntiGonna, Rave on the bones, 2017, color, sound, 6:59 min.
Courtesy the artist

AntiGonna (in collaboration with Nikita Kadan), Lucid Skin, 2019
color, sound, 16:16 min. Courtesy the Artists

The protagonist is an artist who rethinks his identity. He is into self-harm as a way to punish his ‘masculinity’.

AntiGonna (in collaboration with Nikita Kadan), Lucid Skin, 2019, color, sound, 16:16 min.
Courtesy the artist

Yarema Malashchuk & Roman Himey, Dedicated to the Youth of the World II, 2019
HD video, color, sound, 9 min. Courtesy the Artists

The focus of the film is the techno rave Cxema and the youth, on which the camera is carefully focused the next morning after the event. This is the place and meeting that the youth of Kyiv are waiting for and preparing for — this particular escape from everyday life, rejection of it — evokes strange feelings of modern ritual.

Yarema Malashchuk & Roman Himey, Dedicated to the Youth of the World II, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 9 min.
Courtesy the artists

R.E.P., Yodler, 2011
color, sound, 17:59 min. Courtesy the Artists

Yodler is part of a series of videos documenting site-specific performances that the R.E.P. group has produced in diverse, peripheral contexts, according to local folk traditions and current cultural situations. Each time, the actor-performed piece borrows its title from the language in which it is realized, carrying the tradition of itinerant folk musicians, in this case from Austria, who write and perform religious, historical, and epic songs.

R.E.P., Yodler, 2011, color, sound, 17:59 min.
Courtesy the artists

R.E.P., Smuggling , 2007
color, sound, 10 min. Courtesy the Artists

The documentary reality of those who cross the border daily, those traveling to a slightly better-off country in hopes of selling a carton of cigarettes or a bottle of vodka for meager profit, in some miraculous way both does and does not correspond to the actions of the artists traveling with them.

R.E.P., Smuggling, 2007, color, sound, 10 min.
Courtesy the artists

Nikolay Karabinovych, As far as Possible, 2020
b&w, sound, 6:23 min. Courtesy the Artist

A tour group traveling by bus through the Kuyalnitsky estuary on the outskirts of Odessa, whose caves Jewish residents, including the artist’s great-grandmother, took refuge in during the outset of World War II.

Nikolay Karabinovych, As far as Possible, 2020, b&w, sound, 6:23 min.
Courtesy the artist

Dana Kavelina, There are no Monuments to Monuments , 2021
color, sound, 34:35 min. Courtesy the Artist

People are talking about a certain monument that was presumably erected to memorize the Catastrophe, but their speech falls apart, and we cannot compose a single image of either the monument or the catastrophe that happened to these people.

Dana Kavelina, There are no Monuments to Monuments, 2021, color, sound, 34:35 min.
Courtesy the artist

Daniil Revkovsky & Andriy Rachinsky, Labor Safety in the Region of Dnipropetrovsk, 2018
color, sound, 22:13 min. Courtesy the Artists

Found footage from various industrial sites at the Dnipropetrovsk region are assembled into a seemingly neutral way, without specific montage. A landscape of ruined but still working industries, a landscape of exhausted nature and work. The events taking place are both mundane and catastrophic – they are part of the working routine and they are also manifesting the state of collapse.

Daniil Revkovsky & Andriy Rachinsky, Labor Safety in the Region of Dnipropetrovsk, 2018, color, sound, 22:13 min.
Courtesy the artists

Oleksiy Sai, The longest, the most productive – Deep cleansing power, 2021
color, sound, 3:29 min. Courtesy the Artists

Artists Oleksiy Sai makes his living as director of commercials. Hi video work is using fragments of this commercials with repeating slogans “The longest and the most productive” and “Deep cleansing power”. As one of his colleagues said – ‘Our hell will look like this’.

Oleksiy Sai, The longest, the most productive – Deep cleansing power, 2021, color, sound, 3:29 min.
Courtesy the artists

Alina Kleytman, Responsibility , 2017
color, sound, 6:24 min. Courtesy the Artist

A girl wearing a ridiculous masquerade meant to show how people wear the other people’s expectations about them like dresses.

Alina Kleytman, Responsibility, 2017, color, sound, 6:24 min.
Courtesy the artist

Lada Nakonechna, Switch on Red , 2016
color, sound, 3:02 min. Courtesy the Artist, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

I propose that we try to place ourselves inside the Catastrophe and to think about finding ways of how we can speak about it from the position of being within. Catastrophe could be something very personal, but on the other hand it is not only about the single person, because the person is not alone, in this situation or in this war. It is also a catastrophe of relations and of the social sphere, which influences politics, general attitudes and our relationships.”

Lada Nakonechna, Switch on Red, 2016, color, sound, 3:02 min.
Courtesy the artist, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

Yuri Leiderman, Birmingham Ornament, 2010
color, sound, 1:07 min. Courtesy the Artist

The film mixes innovative forms of poetry, music, and theatre with existing traditions in attempt to overcome their boundaries. Film is made into some kind of an ornament, in which lines divided into fragments and intertwining with each other, form an integral poetic statement.

Yuri Leiderman (in collaboration with Andrey Silvestrov), Birmingham Ornament, 2011, color, sound, 65 min.

Lesia Khomenkо, Self-portrait , 2013
color, sound, 7:33 min. Courtesy the Artist

The stop-motion animation is based on a painted self-portrait. While painting her face, the artist kept changing the eyes: initially open and staring insolently at the viewer, they gradually drooped shut with sleep. Having collected 1,500 shots for the video, she painted the completed self-portrait over with white paint, transforming the canvas into a screen for the video projection. The work was inspired by exhausting attempts to put her young daughter to bed: they both pretended to fall asleep while peeking at one another. This temporal processuality steeped in personal experience is transposed onto the processuality of an artistic medium: the painting loses its traditional material medium, leaving nothing but memories of itself.

Lesia Khomenkо, Self-portrait, 2013, 7:33 min.

Mykola Ridnyi, NO! NO! NO!, 2017
HD video color, sound, 22 min. Courtesy the Artist

The main heroes of the film are the young people from Kharkiv, a city located in the Eastern part of Ukraine. Reaching their early twenties coincided with the breakout of the war in the neighbouring region of Donbass. An LGBT activist and poet, a fashion model, a group of street artists, a creator of a computer game – all of them are artists or working in the creative industries, typical for a peaceful life of a big city. However, the proximity to the war affects each of the characters and their activities. Heroes react and reflect political events through their specific relationships with the urban space and the reality of the social media.

Mykola Ridny, NO! NO! NO!, 2017 HD video, 22 min.

Mykola Ridnyi, Regular Places, 2014 – 2015
HD video color, sound, 15:23 min. Courtesy the Artist

Comings and goings of citizens in five public sites around Kharkiv are filmed from a static angle. Without a sense of context, the uneventful footage seems irreconcilable with the brutally violent conflict between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists that occurred here only months earlier. Rupturing the calm atmosphere, audio excerpts extracted from online videos have been overlaid on top of the footage; shouts of threats, warnings, abuse and intimidation echo across indifferent scenes, in a forced confrontation between recent traumatic memories and a present state of collective denial.

Mykola Ridny, Regular Places, 2014 – 2015, HD video, 15:23 min.