Fragile State – the closing exhibition of the SWAP: UK/UKRAINE 2018 artistic residences in Odesa

Fragile State – the closing exhibition of the SWAP: UK/UKRAINE 2018 artistic residences in Odesa

The British Council opens its 2019 exhibition season with the presentation of the work of our SWAP: UK/UKRAINE residents. Nine artists and one curator participated in artistic residences held in Ukraine and the UK in 2018. The results of their visual research will be open to the public at Museum of Odesa Modern Art from 22 February through 31 March.

That this year’s final SWAP project is being hosted in Odesa is no accident. Odesa is a twin city of Liverpool, England, home to one of the UK’s largest and most influential exhibitions of contemporary art – the Liverpool Biennale. The Biennale team supervised the Ukrainian SWAP participants during their artistic residencies in the UK. The decision to hold the closing of SWAP: UK/UKRAINE in Odesa was deliberate – to promote the city’s participation in the global cultural dialogue, stimulate the local cultural landscape and illustrate the path of decentralisation.

The title of the exhibit – Fragile State – references the political, emotional and social context reflected in the work of the nine Ukrainian and British SWAP artists – Anna Kakhiani, Nikolay Karabinovych, Victoria Myronyuk, Dana Venezia, Helen Flanagan, Jaimini Patel, Martim Ramos, Riccardo Matlakas, Susannah Stark.

The closing exhibition curatorial team – Ilya Zabolotnyi (British Council) and Lina Romanuka (IZOLYATSIA Foundation) told us:  “When we started working on the final exhibition, we soon noted that all the resident artists were appealing to varying degrees of vulnerability in their work, to uncertainty and sudden, frightening expectations of change. The range of these experiences encompasses both personal physical experiences, emotions, hidden traumas, and global geopolitical challenges: militarization, territorial demarcation and the crisis of established social paradigms. In the works presented in this exhibition the artists are working with a broad spectrum of expressive methods: video installations, sound compositions, graphic works, texts, objects and photography. Some put their bodies to use for artistic reflection and one has included the model of a tank in a piece.”

“The global cross-cultural communication created through artistic residences is an important part of international dialogue. Cooperation between countries as different as United Kingdom and Ukraine provides a base for interesting reflection and innovation in culture generally and in contemporary visual art in particular.”  Semen Kantor, director, Museum of Odesa Modern Art.

“For the third year in a row, due to productive collaboration with our partners in both the UK and Ukraine we have been able to create a unique kaleidoscope of lively interaction, exchange and cooperation between the cultural sectors of our two countries. In our opinion, artistic research, reflection and a demonstration of the ability to foster friendly dialogue and understanding among people by artistic means is vital in this time of active socio-political change.” Simon Williams, Director of the British Council in Ukraine.

SWAP: UK/Ukraine is an annual residency programme for artists and curators administered by the British Council Ukraine. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Liverpool Biennale – the UK’s largest contemporary art festival and Ukraine’s leading innovative and experimental art venues. Since the programme launch 2016, 30 residencies (27 artists and 3 curators) were supported in the cities of Liverpool, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa, Muzych, Uzhgorod and the Byriuchyi Peninsula in the Azov Sea. The objective of SWAP is to bring artists from both countries together and support their development in an international environment. The programme also provides artists with time for research and reflexion and study of British and Ukrainian artistic traditions.

Exhibition Opening 22 February, 7:00 p.m.
Partner for SWAP: UK/UKRAINE artistic residency final exhibition – Museum of Odesa Modern Art.

Museum of Odesa Modern Art
5 Belinskoho St., Odesa

Exhibition Schedule:

Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 19:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 18:00
Monday – Tuesday: closed
Admittance to the exhibition is free of charge.

During the exhibition, parallel educational events will be offered including artist talks and guided excursions of the exhibition. Learn more on our Facebook Events page. 

For more programme and the educational programme information about the exhibition click here.


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