Distinguishing education and training, in their essay Lada Nakonechna and Katerina Badyanova talk about the methods of work Method Fund (Kiev) and how learning, return to use or exposure can work on the material of socialist realism.
Text presented as part of the exhibition
Educational practices of the Course of Art stem from the problematization of education. The critical attitude from which such a problematization is derived simultaneously maintains a historical analysis of the educational process and a connection with the reality of everyday experience. We distinguish between the process of learning and the process of education. Situational shaping appears in the possibility provided by the space of educational experience.
We will describe our educational approaches, disassembling the methods of the seminar "Social Realism. To Seem Different". The form of an art-research seminar is the construction of conditions for the development of our own knowledge in a laboratory mode in which we explore ourselves. So we question our views and methods, our visual and bodily perception, formed by the representative and semantic norms of culture.
In Ukraine, the institutions of power are not characterized by direct and categorical dictate in the field of cultural production. Cultural and educational institutions in the struggle for existence (and survival) stick relatively independently to one side or another, but mostly they encourage habits and procedures that maintain the phantom position of power of the former functionaries in art. Cultural state politicians build their programs around the ruined prescriptions of the Soviet model of support for the arts and the economics of the creative industries, with its call for efficiency and measurable results.
In reality, alternative education practices and critical artistic approaches exist somewhere outside the formal educational and academic realms. The official art school and museum perceives them as hostile, aimed at destruction and for some reason refusing to "leave the academy alone."
The "intervention" tactic allows us to interact with the museum and art academy. In current conditions, this technique helps to distinguish our practices of building relationships with those traditions and knowledge that are supported and reproduced here.
The Art Museum, with its extensive collections of Soviet art, provides a retrospective and detached stance for experimental critical historiography. "Hypothetical intervention" in the representative row of the museum is our method of working with social realism in the history of Ukrainian art at the seminar "Social realism. To seem different." "Intervention" contains a number of techniques: contextualization, repetition and reworking as learning, return to use or exposure. We unceremoniously confuse methodological artistic and analytical approaches. The methodological storm raises questions about our usual approaches to the analysis of images and gestures, their production and presentation forms, and also removes the fear of parsing a specific historical period, tradition, and the fear of knocking down an idol.
© Denis Pankratov, Control Work, 2017
A simple gesture of the school desks placed in the exhibition space of the museum in Denis Pankratov's Control Work contextualizes a number of socialist realist paintings on the museum walls in their specific functionality as a didactic tool. The socialist realist picture not only affirmed the order of things, but was called upon to educate the viewer in certain feelings and attitudes. By pointing out to the viewer a place at the desk, the paintings seem to be subjective. Or it's the heroes hanging from the canvases checking whether we have forgotten our place. In any case, no one expects the viewer to provide a normative representation of his own answers from the museum.
Artists Lesya Khomenko and Anna Shcherbina work from a perspective loaded with the tradition of realistic perception and production. To deconstruct the view, they create obstacles for themselves. The elements that mediate the attention of the artists are designed not so much to get rid of skills, but to capture their own prescriptions and automatisms. Copying is problematized by artists as a method for clarifying the power of those effects that images of the realistic tradition possess. Their practitioners in the work of the seminar strive to release the potential of copying. In the academy, copying is used to develop the artist's sense of recognition of standards, and also, assuming the most accurate transfer of the image, they represent an educational mechanism for structuring the perception of the body, its standardization at the level of feelings.
© Lesya Khomenko, Countdown, 2017
In order to successfully liberate from the figurativeness of paintings of the Soviet period, faithful to the norms of "realistic" art, during a copying session, Lesya Khomenko places the dazzling red color of the flag between himself and the painting. This technique in copying the painting Chernomortsy by Viktor Puzyrkov in the work Countdown allows her, first of all, to capture the location of color and tonal spots, that is, formal signs. But this work also points to the positioning of art, jealously guarded by the academy, in isolation from politics and knowledge and outside the historicization of it as an institution. Such essentialism allows modern art criticism to see in social realism even a connection with the phenomenon of l'Art pour l'Art. At the present moment, the neurotic attitude towards socialist realism in the museum and artistic traditions, which are historically built in a tolerably wide framework of the method, lies between two extremes. The justification of works of art of the Soviet period by high artistic qualities or "universal ideals" argues for their preservation in the updated expositions. The second extreme with accusatory condemnation locks the works of socialist realism in the vaults of the vaults, removing them from the field of view.
© Anna Shcherbina, View from the Opposite Corner of the Hall of Post-War Painting of the National Art Museum on Four Plot-Thematic Paintings, 2017
Anna Shcherbina's work View from the Opposite Corner of the Hall of Post-War Painting of the National Art Museum on Four Plot-Thematic Paintings by Anna Shcherbina problems the position of the artist (especially in the process of apprenticeship) as the need to choose the most meaningful and formally optimal point of view on the subject being studied. Such an allotted place in the method of socialist realism had to coincide for the artist and for the audience. To draw a general view of the exposition, Anna chooses from the institutionally assumed "most unfortunate" position in the corner of the hall behind the column (and, according to the artist, the most protected from the look of an observer or teacher from behind). For the viewer, such a change of position gives a new look at the lined up row of the museum exhibition. Museum architecture becomes an equivalent participant in the statement: the corner column behind which the artist "hid" encroaches on the central place of the image. The artist reverses the subject and the context: the paintings become a medium for the perception of space. By disenchanting the paintings as timeless "masterpieces," she undermines their limitedness, so defended by the museum, to relations of an intra-artistic order.
© Lada Nakonechna, Teacher, 2017
Intervention in the exposition Teacher by Lada Nakonechnaya - this is looped around a bronze bust of the artist Vasily Kasiyan a construction of easels on which drawings of an academic type are located. The drawing by the graduates of the academy of the bust of the artist-master, the teacher of the academy, in relation to which the tradition of honor and power remains intact, took place in the museum hall, which, on the one hand, acted as the inheritance of the educational principle of many hours of natural drawings, and on the other, copying museum samples. In the easel structure, the drawings of Kasiyan's head, facing in all directions of the museum hall, intrude into the representative logic of the exhibition of Soviet art. Thus, literally in tautology, the magic circle of historical and genre continuity, the illusion of the continuity of the inherited artistic tradition, which is supported and reproduced by modern representative and educational institutions, closes.
We problematize images and words, meanings and relationships, in order to test their effectiveness for presenting the phenomena of reality, for the manifestation of the fleeting, which in experience slips out of fixation and verification. In the intervention method, we hold tensions in the gesture of distancing and involvement in the process - how we look at something and choose, systematize, construct, how we share it with others. In the process of shaping, we find approaches and methods that articulate and find a form for an event as a hole in a homogeneous space.
The Method Foundation (Kyiv) is an independent non-profit organization whose goal is to support and develop contemporary art and culture in Ukraine by initiating scientific, educational and exhibition projects. The Foundation method is an experimental self-educational project aimed at finding a form of artistic institution that would meet the requirements of the present time, as well as the characteristics of the local context and could provide knowledge of this context. The fund was founded in 2015 in Kyiv. Founders: Katerina Badyanova, Olga Kubli, Ivan Melnichuk, Tatyana Endshpil, Lada Nakonechnaya, Denis Pankratov.