Film of Emergency/Ukranian Experimental Film and Video Art

27/04/2022 - 31/07/2022

Vernissage on 27 April, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The National Gallery invites you to an exhibition of contemporary film and video art from Ukraine. The careful selection is the work of the famous Ukrainian artist Mykola Ridnyi, living in Kyiv, at the invitation of the Gallery’s director Iaroslava Bubnova. The project “Urgent topics. Ukrainian Experimental Film and Video Art” is located in the exhibition spaces of Square 500 and is the subtle form in which the National Gallery directly supports its participants from Ukraine.

Mykola Ridnyi, an artist, curator, and activist, took the stage after the Orange Revolution and turned political reality into the leading element of his work. He is known to the Bulgarian art circles from his presentation at the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia in 2014.

The program selected by him allows the Bulgarian audience to get acquainted with the active Ukrainian authors who remained in their country today during the active hostilities. It outlines the topics that have excited them over the years since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula – the feelings in the state of Ukraine of internal and external political change.

Mykola Ridnyi contextualized his selection for the National Gallery as follows: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022, shook Europe and the rest of the world. Ukrainian society had lived in an anxious environment and under threat for the last 8 years, since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and ignited the hybrid war in the Donbas region. The programme presents a selection of video works and film essays by Ukrainian artists and filmmakers made during this period. The films reflect on a number of issues, such as the impact of propaganda and the destruction of war, existence in a traumatic environment, the humanitarian and ecological catastrophe. While some of the films depict ongoing events, other rethink historical narratives and outline dystopian perspectives. Would it have been possible to prevent the catastrophe if we were more sensitive to artistic intentions?

Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians were killed, much of the infrastructure and residential areas was destroyed; the risk of damage to nuclear power stations is still very high. Some of the artists managed to migrate to neighbouring EU countries, others became displaced in their own country, with no possibility of leaving. The role of art has now developed from emotional impact and intellection discussion to become a social practice. Film of Emergency is calling for solidarity at a time when many countries, voluntary organizations and individuals are helping the victims of Putin’s aggression.”

Curator: Mykola Ridnyi