Glasgow Film Theatre
‘Under Mud’ refers to the uses of mud in post-soviet spa resorts – sanatoriums – as a material for healing and to promote well-being.
For this screening Ukrainian Curator, Alexandra Tryanova and Glasgow based artist, Susannah Stark, have curated a selection of work by women filmmakers and artists from Ukraine.
Here, mud is metaphor for a time of socio-political change in Ukraine, ongoing since the early 1990s with the end of the Soviet Union, a time during which video art could be said to have experienced a burst of activity. This time of transition brought about challenges for the whole society as its citizens entered into a period of political reformation, particularly affecting those who identified as female, who were engaged in an ongoing struggle to redefine their subjectivity in public and private life.
The selected works tackle the oppressive gender politics of post-soviet states and show how artists have undermined historical stereotypes through the communicative possibilities of the body.The programme underlines the role of artists’ performativity as a key tool for expression often due to the difficult economic conditions in which the work was produced.
Mud can be obscuring, but also regenerating. In Oksana Chepelyk’s Chronicles of Fortinbras the artist notes “we must accept the past in all its plenitude. perhaps then the future will no longer horrify us”.
This call to accept the past is the point of departure for this screening. To go ‘under mud’ and traverse it’s depths for the purpose of chronicling but also for taking tentative steps towards healing and change.
Iryna Kudrya, Just a Smile, 2017. SD video 3 min 37 sec
AntiGonna, G Porn, 2017. SD video, 6 min 25 sec
Oksana Chepelyk, Chronicles of Fortinbras, 2001. 35mm film transferred to HD video, 30 min
Alina Kleytman, Super A, 2015. SDvideo 7 min 43 sec
Oksana Kazmina, The Girl, The Boy, And The Secret, 2018. HD video, 12 min 47 sec
Victoria Myronyuk, Songs to the Sea, 2018. Audio extract, 5 min
Running time: 66 min
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Alexandra Tryanova and Susannah Stark.
This month LUX Scotland presents a focus on artists’ moving image work from Eastern Europe. This series aims to trace the history and explore the concerns of women artists working in this context.
Alexandra Tryanova is a curator and researcher who’s work centres on the problematics of institutional critique, gender politics, and Eastern European conceptual art. She is currently junior curator at PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine where she has curated international group exhibitions focusing on gender issues. From 2017 – 2018 she was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, Odessa. Since 2017 she has directed an annual site-specific non-production residency Kunsthalle Lustdorf in Odessa, Ukraine. She has curated international group exhibitions focusing on gender issues including How to be Cool (2018), (un)named, Nikita Kadan (2018) and Polylog. Aspei: Literature and Art Unites East and West (2018, co-curation).
Susannah Stark is an artist based in Glasgow who studied MA Print at the RCA in London (2014 – 2016) Recent exhibitions and events include Correspondences: a Sound and Light Installation with Hussein Mitha, Hospitalfield Arts, UK, 2019. Melt with Adam Lewis Jacob, Vivid Projects, Birmingham UK, 2019. Fragile State, Museum of Modern Art, Odessa, Ukraine, 2019. Interzone Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 2018. Unnatural Wealth – Understanding the Vision CCA, Glasgow, 2019. Searchlights bb15, Austria, 2018. Lilt, Twang, Tremor CCA, Glasgow, 2017 – 2018. The Minch with Suzanne Déry, Market Gallery, Glasgow, 2017. Unnatural Wealth with Karolina Lebek, StudioRCA Riverlight, London, 2017. Fable 1: Art Basel Sound and Film Programme with Donald Hayden, Soundscape Park, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2016
Iryna Kudrya works in the mediums of video, performance, installation. In her practice she addresses themes of physicality, gender, stereotypes of thinking and public representation, and the topic of work. In 2017, she is a graduated from the School of Involved Art of the Chto Delat, St. Petersburg, Russia.
In Just a Smile Kudrya engages the viewer through an invitation to practice smiling or to remember how to smile, referencing the form of online tutorial.
AntiGonna is a queer artist, filmmaker and trash model based between Kyiv, Odessa and Warsaw. Their work deals with topics of fear, death and sexuality.
G Porn is a series of performative actions from the ‘behind the scenes’ stages of making a video with many collaborators, in the style of a low-fi porn horror. AntiGonna appears at several stages of the production in different guises; behind an expressionless mask, later, in a bath, holding grisly pieces of meat. The work seeks to blurs the boundaries between performance and life and aims to remind the viewer of the monstrousness of what lies within their own body, asking them to embrace their fears through holding their gaze. This video is a fragment of a large archive of recorded performances, none of which are ever repeated.
Oksana Chepelyk was born in Kyiv, and studied at the Art Institute, Kyiv, followed by a post-graduate course in Moscow. Chepelyk works as multimedia artist through the mediums of video, film, performance, photography, installation, painting and public art. Her work focuses on themes such as the commodification of women, mass consciousness, power and intercultural relations, and histories that shape our present.
She has undertaken numerous international residencies including CREDAC, Paris, New Media Study Program, Banff Centre, Canada, Bauhaus Dessau, Germany, UCLA, USA.
Chepelyk has shown her works at the festivals worldwide including New York, London, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Osnabruck, Montecatini, Linz, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Oberhausen, Liverpool, Belo Horizonte, Karlovy Vary, Venice /A category/, Chisinau, Weimar, Tel-Aviv, Ankara, Pesaro, Santa Fe, Stuttgart, Barcelona, Sebastopol, Sarajevo and Clermont-Ferrand.
Chronicles of Fortinbras refers to a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who has both a role in the events of the play and chronicles them right as they unfold. In the video, Chepelyk describes events preceding and during this transition period of the early 90’s in Ukraine, in terms of the dangers of “heading further into modernity’s snare”. Infrastructural and architectural ‘developments’ relating to different historical epochs are carried out around and across a woman’s body, which becomes part of the performance of history, a building site from which to portray the monster of “progress”. These scenes are intercut with fragments of 20th century documentaries and news reels from the time the video was created.
Since 2009 Alina Kleytman has taken part in solo and group exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad, including Riga Photography Biennial, Moscow Biennial, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski, Pinchuk Art Centre Prizes and many others. In 2010 Alina opened her gallery-laboratory “At Roses‘” in a former stables building in her hometown. She studied at Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia at the studio “Multimedia and Installation” and “Photography, Sculpture and Video”. In her practice Alina explores topics of sexual emancipation, violence and degradation of a current social order.
‘Super Alina’, the protagonist of the music video, represents societal expectations for women in a post-Soviet world. Such contradicting expectations; stereotypes from a more conservative period of history predicate that women are heroines who should be strong while at the same time, pretty and able to cook and clean.
Oksana Kazmina is a documentary film maker, media artist and performer, who tries to critically approach mainstream discourses in her works. She co-founded the Body Practices project, which aims to explore different bodily experiences and politics deriving from it. Oksana is also a co-founder of artistic collective OKCAHAS, which focuses on the topics of female sexual experiences and pleasures. In 2016 – 2017 Oksana worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University, USA.
The Girl, The Boy, And The Secret sees two characters playing outside and trying on different roles, exploring their surroundings and each others bodies in an intuitive and sensual way. Poems from childrens folklore as well as the childrens ‘secrets’ which are found hidden underground, appear to provoke something in the characters way of navigating the world, helping them dig to find spaces of freedom and play which come from within rather than being defined by external sources.
Songs to the Sea investigates contemporary interpretations of mythical female creatures: sirens and Psamathe – the goddess of sand. The work consists of several narratives, lyrical vocal arrangements which are united by the topic of the sea space as a threat or uncontrolled element, but at the same time, as a metaphor for calm and oblivion.