Ukraine is entering the world of contemporary art bigtime with the capital Kyiv holding its first-ever
Entitled ‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art’ the Biennale brings together works by 100 artists, in an old arms factory.
The show features 250 contemporary art installations, among them 40 new works commissioned for the exhibition.
“There’s a narrative in the exhibition, some things are big and loud, other things are quiet and small and they are arranged in an order, in a way that makes sense, really makes sense,” says the ‘Arsenale 2012’ curator David Elliot.
From fellow former Soviet republic Uzbekistan comes an alternative ‘walk of fame’ echoing the Hollywood sidewalk stars. However instead of stars and beloved icons, it has the faces and names of modern-age authoritarian rulers.
Born in Kyrghyzstan Vyacheslav Akunov now lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Throughout his career he has often created works that demonstrate his irreverent and critical attitude toward Soviet ideology and autority and power structures in general.
“We know that great actors are forgotten, after their death the next generations forget them but these ones, they are always remembered – the Macedonian, Tamburlaine who spilled so much blood – they are remembered because they killed people. Those who bring good are quickly forgotten – this is my theme in this walk,” he says.
Nearby, a work by Japanese artist Kenji Yanobe takes the theme of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and filters it through the artist’s own experience.
“After travelling to Chernobyl I started to create a child’s play ground for kids, this kind of funny play- ground is not only an amusement park, it’s kind of a shelter,” has says.
Kyiv’s first Biennale show runs until July 31 and expects to attract over 300,000 visitors from Ukraine and abroad.