Уяви Україну – Митець як свідок / Imagine Ukraine – The Artist as a Witness
The Possessed Can Witness in the Court / Одержимий може свідчити в суді, 2015
The Possessed Can Witness in the Court is an installation constructed of metal racks where objects from the artist's personal collection and works by the artist himself are assembled as an alternative archive. The items refer to the Soviet history of the present conflict zones: Crimea and the Donbas region. These objects, once tainted by State ideology, here seem to elude any dogmatic narrative and shake off the traditional dichotomy of 'friend' or 'enemy'. ‘The Possessed’ (by the spirits of history) who ‘can witness in the Court’ (the court of history) is the invisible character of the work. Driven by the unleashed power of contradictions, he denies the official position of the fighting parties and their propaganda. And at the same time, his stance is neither that of an indifferent observer. The Possessed Can Witness in the Court introduces a new logic of historical narration beyond the control of any state-approved politics of memory. Extracted from their predetermined implication and reassembled together, the objects in the installation bear an unbiased testimony.
Each item in the installation refers to an ambiguous narrative. One of the artefacts features the cubo-futuristic monument to Artem in Sviatohirsk, 1927 (Donbas, Ukraine) by Ivan Kavaleridze that was erected as a part of Lenin's Plan of “Monumental Propaganda”. Artem (Communist party pseudonym of Fedor Sergeev) was the organizer of the “Donetsk-Kryvyi Rih Workers' Republic” and an activist of the RSDLP (Russian Social Democratic Labour Party). Today, the monument is perceived as a hostile ideological object (from the point of view of decommunization policy) and at the same time as one of the main masterpieces of the Ukrainian avant-garde, part of the national cultural canon. However, right-wing politicians still demand the demolition of the monument, while local authorities simply closed access to it and do not interfere in the natural processes of entropy and destruction of the concrete statue. Other materials on the racks are objects from the war zone, such as remains of artillery shells; a number of boxes with black-and-white photographs partly buried under coal; pieces from Kadan's personal archive: old photos of buildings in the current war zone and plants as they grow in the windows of Kiev. A hanging neon outlines the contours of the Crimean Peninsula.
List of used objects:
Nikita Kadan. From the series 'Hesitant sculptures', 2015
Nikita Kadan. From the series 'Observation on archives' (Smithson), 2015
The book 'Monuments of Soviet Ukraine' with the photograph of Artem's monument in Sviatohirsk, Donetsk region. By Ivan Kavaleridze, 1927
'Monuments of Soviet Ukraine' published by 'Mystetztvo', Kyiv, 1982
'Donbass' sanatorium in Crimea, 1970th
Artillery shells. East of Ukraine
Model for Lenin's monument, unknown artist. The gift from Lesia Khomenko
'Modernism. Analysis and critique of main tendencies', published by 'Iskusstvo', Moscow, 1987
Nikita Kadan. From the series 'Observation on archives' (Dibbets), 2015
Nikita Kadan, 'An island', 2014
Nikita Kadan. From the series 'Observation on archives' (New buildings), 2015