House of art Ústí nad Labem, Klíšská 1101/129a, Ústí nad Labem
13. December 2018 - 2. February 2019
Curator: Monika Szewczik, Michal Koleček
The work of Nikita Kadan combines an attempt to represent the continuous loss of a coherent historical narrative and an effort to re-establish the role of the artist and of the symbolic artistic representation in society. The attentive alignment of his practice to critical socio-political issues provides us with an insight into the political experience of the totalizing “now” characterizing the current situation in Ukraine. Emerging from a tradition of collective activism within the R.E.P. group, Kadan’s individual practice has elaborated a body of works encompassing the notions of politics of memory and the relations between the narratives of modernity and the reality of capitalist society. A particular sensibility for the status of history and the ability to visualize the internal mechanisms that regulate the dynamics between forgetfulness and memory pervade his works. After the early post-Soviet period characterized by “historical amnesia,” the last decade of Ukrainian history has been marked by a “war of memory,” where contradictory historical symbols and judgments, corresponding to various political needs and cultural desires, populate the public mind. One of the predominant desires of post-Orange-Revolution Ukraine is identified with “Euro-renovation,” an aspiration to construct a new European-Ukrainian identity by hiding anything that bears the weight of the past.
In the words of the artist: “Ukrainian Euro-renovation consists of replaceable surfaces, drywall and plastic. Euro-renovation is a self identification through consumption, an expensive spectacle of representative democracy rapidly deteriorating in meaning, the euphoria of an ‘eternal today,’ a plastic sheet of printed advertisement glued onto the granite of the Soviet metro”.