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Ukrainian Pavilion to be presented at international art exhibit in Venice

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A poster for the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale features a work from the series “Parliament” (2014-2016) by Boris Mikhailov.

A poster for the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale features a work from the series “Parliament” (2014-2016) by Boris Mikhailov.

DALLAS – The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has appointed Dallas Contemporary to organize the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, in 2017. Dallas Contemporary Executive Director Peter Doroshenko and Assistant Curator Lilia Kudelia will present a solo exhibition of work by Boris Mikhailov. The exhibition will be on view from May 13 to November 26 in Venice, Italy.

In response to the title theme of “Viva Arte Viva!” as announced by Biennale Arte 2017 director Christine Macel, Ukrainian Pavilion curators will focus on the privileged moments of leisure in artistic practice which allow the possibility for aesthetic play and honest reflection.

Mr. Mikhailov will exhibit a new series titled “Parliament” (2014-2016), which focuses on photography’s interaction with media interfaces, and the interplay between analogue and digital representation. In this new body of work, Mr. Mikhailov photographs television footage of parliamentary debates. He adopts the aesthetics of glitch art, thus continuing his search for expressive visual techniques that include his signature superimpositions, aniline hand-coloring and handwriting on the margins of photographs.

Mr. Mikhailov’s new work is symptomatic of the current media landscape and the post-truth society we live in. Decomposition of the image in the presented photographs alludes to cyberbalkanization, the phenomenon of echo-chambers, and splintering of the media communities. Described by Mr. Mikhailov as the “aesthetic variant of a historical picture,” his new series reflects on the global political climate and the distraction of reality through media. The photographs reference recent political affairs, such as the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The exhibition will serve as a code for understanding the paranoid state of society where media bias, false balance, fake news and manipulation become not only tolerable, but trivial.

The Ukrainian Pavilion further presents an expanded interpretation of the Biennale Arte 2017 theme of “discoveries and rediscoveries” through a series of unique commissions in which Ukrainian artists will create and perform works that reference the artistic oeuvre of Mr. Mikhailov.

SVITER art-group and Ivan Svitlychnyi will activate Mr. Mikhailov’s exhibition through a series of sound art performances. The collective Zhuzhalka, run by artists Victor Corwic, Viacheslav Sokolov and Roman Yuhimchuk, will present a publishing project with their latest photographic series. Designer Anton Belinskiy will dedicate his capsule clothing collection to the Ukrainian pavilion, following his interest in the intermingling of “global, hyper-local and patriotic spectacles.”

For over 40 years, Mr. Mikhailov has produced more than 30 photographic series and published over 20 photobooks. Born in 1938 in Kharkiv, the seminal Ukrainian artist became a metafigure of the Ukrainian art scene providing a poignant and haunting perspective on the position of the individual in Soviet and post-Soviet conditions. He is the recipient of the 2015 Gaslarer Kaiserring Prize, the 2000 Hasselblad Foundation International Award, the 2012 Spectrum International Prize for photography, the 2001 Citibank Photography Prize and the 2000 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award.

Solo exhibitions of his work have been hosted by MoMA, ICA Boston, Tate Modern, Stedelijk Museum, Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Berlinische Galerie, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Kunsthalle Zurich, Maison Européenne de la Photographie and Centro Italiano per la Fotografía, among others. His work was included in Manifesta 5, Manifesta 25, the 12th Biennale of Sydney, and the 54th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

La Biennale di Venezia dates back to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. It is one of the pre-eminent international biennales and cultural institutions in the world, introducing hundreds of thousands of visitors to exciting new art every two years. The 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is directed by Christine Macel, chief curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou in Paris.

To coincide with the exhibition, Dallas Contemporary is also producing a publication in collaboration with Rodovid publishing house. The pavilion backstage album will include specially commissioned photographs by Juergen Teller, as well as texts by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Alison Gingeras and the Ukrainian pavilion curators.

Yevhen Nyschuk, Ukraine’s minister of culture, noted: “Since the early 1970s, Boris Mikhailov has been developing a language of conceptualism in photography that undermined the official canons and taboos of the art of Socialist realism. Mikhailov’s work has brought him incredible international respect and come to largely define the role of the city of Kharkiv in the contemporary Ukrainian art. Honest and nuanced, his vision keeps nurturing the work of emerging artists.”

Mr. Doroshenko of Dallas Contemporary commented: “For over 35 years Boris Mikhailov’s photography has influenced the dialogue about art and culture in Eastern Europe. It will be important to see Mikhailov’s newest works at the Ukrainian Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2017. He is a creative visionary not only for Ukraine and Europe, but for the world.”

The Mikhailov exhibition will travel to Dallas Contemporary in 2018.

Dallas Contemporary is a non-collecting art museum presenting new and fresh ideas from regional, national and international artists.

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