Curated by Lesia Kulchynska
War orchestrates the feelings. It evokes strong emotions, while making others inaccessible or unacceptable. The most powerful feelings are those that are collective, like collective love or hatred, grief or hope. They are articulated through various media, ritualized through public procedures, they are important, legitimate and indisputable. You can join the chorus and get some relief.
Yet, there are plenty of others, more complicated, or more peculiar, overridden by the dramatic political agenda of the day. These are the scars of inner fights and vicissitudes experienced, the traces of overly tight or broken bonds, or incompatible desires. They have to remain somewhere in the private dumps, waiting for better days to be heard; days when we will be allowed to live, not only to survive.
Love Tales is a collection of five video works by Ukrainian artists created during the last 9 years, in proximity to war, in anticipation of something. This collection is a nostalgic glance at an area now abandoned, an abundant landscape of longings, wishes, anxieties, resentments or insecurities; all those essential personal dramas that have now become inappropriate to discuss. All of them convey diverse manifestations of love, touching its tricky aspects, stirring up the layers of confusing sensations. They are also tales of violence and loss, and of craving the unattainable. The desire to be loved and acknowledged is probably the subject matter they all share. The desire to be alive is probably what makes those tales so precious to me now.
— Lesia Kulchynska
Legend of the Bear Mountain
Ayu-Dag (Crimean Tatar: Ayuv Dağ, Russian: Аю-Даг, Ukrainian: Аю-Даг, Greek: Αγια (Aya – “Holy”)) is a mountain in Crimea. It is also known as Vedmid’-hora (Bear Mountain) (Ukrainian: Ведмідь-гора). It lies 16 km north-east of Yalta, between the towns of Hurzuf and Partenit.
Yuri Yefanov (b. 1990, Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine) is an artist and filmmaker based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Yefanov grew up in Crimea, in Hurzuf and graduated from Kyiv University of Culture and Arts, Faculty of Film and TV Directing. His work has been shown at various international experimental film festivals and exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
Sex, Мedicated, Rock-n-Roll
Sex, Medicated, Rock-n-Roll is a short episode from a non-existent queer musical about the uncomplicatedness within a love triangle. Two boys and a girl are in love with each other, but not mutually. Each is both a rejected and unattainable subject of desire. Each of the heroes has his own dramatic story of the impossibility of love, one of them is sung to us by a young Austrian man for his new friends from Ukraine.
Anatoly Belov (b. 1977, Kyiv, Ukraine) currently lives and works in Kyiv. He graduated from the Republican Taras Shevchenko Art School and the National Technical University of Ukraine. Since 2004 he has been a member of the following groups: R.E.P. group (Revolutionary Experimental Space); Penoplast group; Emblika Quali; Lyudska Podoba; Cybele and Cobra-Chupacabra. Belov has participated in residencies at the Centre for Contemporary Art founded by George Soros in Kyiv (2005), the Rotor Association for Contemporary Art in Graz (2009), Post-Studio Tales – District Berlin (2012) and KulturKontakt Austria (KKA) in Vienna (2012).
Wedding – Funeral
OKCANAS (Anti Gonna & Oksana Kazmina)
In this video, stylized as a classic Ukrainian tragicomic farce, the artists explore the institution of marriage and schematizes it to absurd simplicity, where everything is predictable and stereotyped. If you leave your dream, sincerity and feelings behind, then a “funny” and disgusting routine is the only thing you should stay married to.
Anti Gonna (b. 1986, Vinnytsia, Ukraine) is an independent filmmaker, artist, actress and trash model that lives and works between Kyiv, Odessa and Warsaw. Her work explores themes such as fear, violence, death and a new vision of sexuality. Her work has been presented in various festivals and museums internationally such as: Radically Different Society at Ukrainian Institute of America (New York, USA); FINNOF (Condor, Santa Fe, AR); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin, IT), Haus der Kunst (München, DE), Munich Moderna Museet (Stockholm, SE) and many more. In 2021, she presented two solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Odessa, UK) and KKKC Exhibition Hall, (Klaipeda, LT). Since 2017, she has been the co-founder of the artistic collective OKCANAS with Oksana Kazmina.
Life flows in its everyday reality, but then suddenly something elusive changes its course. All that is left is the chance to plunge into memories where everything is preserved, as if in a museum.
Zoya Laktionova (b. 1984 Mariupol, Ukraine) is a filmmaker that currently lives and works in Graz, Austria. Laktionova’s first contact with the world of documentary cinema was as a character in the film Ma (2017) by Maria Stoianova. A year later she made her first short documentary Diorama about the mined sea in the Mariupol area. The film won an award in the MyStreetFilms category at the “86” festival (Ukraine) in 2018, and it has since been presented in numerous European film festivals such as DOKLeipzig (Leipzig, DE) Ji.Hlava (Jihlava, CZ), FilmFestival Cottbus (Cottbus, DE) and more. In 2021, Laktionova premiered her new short film Territory of Empty Windows (2020) at DocudaysUA IHRDFF.
Giving applause to a viewer. Although this scene looks solemn, its mood is rather sad. When the applause sounds, the conversation is over, the dialogue isn’t possible anymore.
Borys Kashapov (b. 1984) is a Kyiv based artist, temporarily based in Rome, who works with video and performance. Through his works he explores power relations in art, and political aspects of form. Kashapov has been a member of the REP Group, the Penoplast dream-band, and The Gay Carousel collective. Among his recent exhibitions: Fast, Easy, Unsafe, 2021, Small Gallery of Art Arsenal (Kyiv, UA), Portrait of my So(u)il, 2022, Muzeul de Arta Recenta (Bucharest, RO), Here.Now, 2022, Rezidența 9 (Bucharest, RO), State of Emergence, 2022, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery (Bucharest, RO), Ghosts Are Welcomed to the Garden, 2022, Istituto Svizzero (Rome, IT), Sweet Dreams Foundation, 2022, Nida Art Colony (Nida, LT).