Simona Rota presents “Ostalgia” at the Sevastopol Art Museum in Crimea

On the 26th of September 2012 at 16:00 at the Sevastopol Art Museum in Crimea, the Ukrainian curatorial collective HUDRADA is opening its new, 4th exhibition, “Disputed Territory”. The exhibition will include works by 19 artists from Ukraine and other countries, and is dedicated to the conquest and liberation of social and political territory. The few opening days of the exhibition will feature a packed programme of discussions.


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Disputed territories are rips in the stiff fabric of a world which is split into spheres of influence. They are animate spaces, formed by the changeable whims of human wisdom and madness. They offer hope for change, and are attractive because they give you a chance to place your bets, to take part in the game. They promise gratification through confrontations, and they are capable of bringing conflict back to life in places where you might think that bleak dogmatic constructs had taken root for good. The value of disputed territories lies in hope and in duality.

The core interests of “Disputed Territory” are in social interaction, in exclusion, in marginalisation, gender and sexuality, in war between private and common interests, in public space and its acquisition, in the choices people make as civilians, politicians, and activists, and above all in the field of power.

Simona Rota presents “Ostalgia”. Pain of East – if we insist on making a literal translation of the word and concept Ostalgia – was born in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If there before, we did not appoint it until the former East Germany, faced with rapid changes necessary for integration with its western half, felt homesick for its old identity in the process of dissolution. This yearning along with a certain sentimentality of the West to the just rediscovered East created a new mythology about the former East Germany and by extension, about East, of the former Soviet bloc. In German, Ost means East. In Greek algos means pain. Ostalgia is a linguistic alloy as impossible as the same desire to reconstruct something that might not have ever been there.

Ostalgia is a photographic series developed during 2 years, between 2010 and 2012. It was born in the aftermath of a work of documentation for the Museum of Architecture from Vienna since as a photographer, I was part of a research group coordinated by the Museum whose mission was – under the name “Soviet Modern” – locating, rescue and study the Soviet archives related to the architecture that was promoted by the former USSR in its 15 republics.

The buildings are most often large structures of heroic air accompanied by huge oppressive public spaces where individuals are swallowed. They were designed and built as an expression of triumph while excessive public space and its correspondent small private spaces show a will of control over individuals’ public and even private life. Buildings, promoted by the regime, have bold designs, sometimes experimental and were favored by the search for an image of power, progress, prestige and economic success that should have been able to legitimize any plans and actions of the authoritarian leading political powers. Big buildings that now may stand alike ridiculous giants, big dreams invalidated by history while the decadent atmosphere that reigns today in the former Soviet republics create a physical and virtual space on which it is easy to project anxiety, myths and nostalgia.

Exhibition participants: Adrian Paci (Albania), Anna Zvyagintseva, Ivan Melnichuk, Yevgenia Belorusets, Nikita Kadan, Yuri Solomko, Esther Kempf (Switzerland), Aleksey Salmanov, Simona Rota  (Spain), Lesya Khomenko, Lada Nakonechna, Aleksey Gnedenko, Alina Kleitman, Ulyana Bychenkova, Nikolay Ridniy, TanzLaboratorium, FNO (Russia), R.E.P.

Exhibition Organisers: CONNECT NGO with support from the Faculty of the Lviv National Academy of Art in Sevastopol, the cultural initiative Hitch&Klum, and the School of Contemporary Design. This project is supported by Programme і³ from Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation for Development of Ukraine.

Site: Simona Rota

Title: Disputed Territories
Place: Sevastopol Art Museum
City: Sevastopol
Country: Ukrainian
Date: 26th of September 2012


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