© Images Roman März
29 APRIL – 22 MAY 2022
KÖNIG GALERIE presents PALIANYTSIA, a solo exhibition by Ukrainian artist Zhanna Kadyrova in the CHAPEL of St. Agnes.
Kadyrova works in a variety of disciplines such as sculpture, photography, video and performance. Her practice is often site-specific and informed by the malleable and symbolic properties of urban building materials. Collecting stones from her nearest river in western Ukraine, Kadyrova’s sculptures, drawings and short film, take on the urgent situation currently playing out in her home country.
Before the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine began, Kadyrova was based in Kiev. Due to the ongoing conflict she fled to the western part of the country. After relocating to the Transcarpathian region, the artist began her latest series which culminated in the PALIANYTSIA project, co-authored by Denis Ruban.
Palianytsia is the name of a Ukrainian round wheat bread that Russian occupiers cannot pronounce correctly and therefore acts as a password or recognition mark among Ukrainians. During her days-long search for accommodation and a functioning studio, Kadyrova collected round stones polished smooth by the river’s current. As a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, she produced this series of illusory sculptures by slicing these collected stones whose form take on that of the Palianytsia bread.
“During the first two weeks of the war, I had the impression that art was only a dream, that I had only dreamed these twenty years of my professional life. And that art at all is powerless and ephemeral compared to the ruthless machinery of war that destroys civilian cities and human lives,” the artist states. “Today I don’t think that way anymore, and I see that every artistic gesture makes us visible, and our voices audible!”
Kadyrova has previously presented these sculptures and drawings in her temporary accommodation in Ukraine. With the proceeds from the sold works, she supplied herself and others with bullet-proof waistcoats, petrol, food, and medicine. She has also supported people in need in Kiev and different volunteer organisations in Kharkiv and Mariupol. The short film screened in the exhibition space, documents the creation of the shown works in Transcarpathia and gives insight into the everyday life of Kadyrova and her colleagues under the impression of the war. It was directed and produced by members of the Ukrainian cinematographic community, Babylon’13, and in collaboration with UA-Culture: Ivan Sautkin, Olena Zashko, and Ganna Yeresko.