Kicking off in Ukraine in September 2015, “The School of Kyiv” proposes a new format of an art biennial related to the current situation in Ukraine, integrating art and arenas for public debates.

“The School of Kyiv” – Kyiv Biennial 2015

08.09.2015 – 01.11.2015

Curators: Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer
Co-Organizer: Visual Culture Research Center, Kyiv

Kyiv, Ukraine

The biennial of contemporary art “The School of Kyiv” will start on the 8th of September and will last till the 1st of November 2015, as the curators of the project, Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer announced at a press-conference at Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on the 17th of April in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“The School of Kyiv” proposes a new format of an art biennial related to the current situation in Ukraine, the curators said, integrating art and arenas for public debates. The programmes within the biennial will be exploring the burning issues Ukrainian and European society is facing, reacting to the challenges of today. The project will present a cross section of Ukrainian and international contemporary art. Separate departments of the biennial in Kyiv will simultaneously open in a series of institutions across Europe as an integral part of the project. These departments will be dedicated to the unknown histories of avant-garde art in Ukraine and its contribution to global art history. A number of ‘Schools’ and exhibitions will be set as a basis for long-term structures that will keep functioning after the biennial is over. “The School of Kyiv” responds to a need in tools provided by art and its institutions to deal with many urgent issues in a country that had just went through a revolution and is now going through a war.

“The School of Kyiv”, organized by curators Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer together with Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv), is an open and inclusive project developed in cooperation with a network of Ukrainian and international cultural institutions, NGO’s, and independent agents. “The School of Kyiv” will have branches and departments in Vienna, Leipzig, Trondheim, Sofia, Prague, Budapest, Karlsruhe, Bucharest, and other cities. One of the main goals of the project is to keep the channels of artistic and intellectual exchange open, while highlighting the importance of local cultural production in the European context.

“The School of Kyiv” will encourage the development of artistic and intellectual scenes in Ukraine, and reveal the oeuvre of Ukrainian artists of the 20th century to the international public. The biennial aims at creating the alternative civil space of reflection, breaking down barriers, building bridges and imagining scenarios for the future.

“The School of Kyiv” will take place in a variety of settings in the city.

Vasyl Cherepanyn, Head of Visual Culture Research Center:

“The School of Kyiv” biennial will take place after the Maidan revolution and during the war against Ukraine. These events further underline the need for such a public platform for social reflection in our country. We believe art and knowledge have great political potential. Kyiv Biennial is not a glamorous blockbuster, but an open engaged project. We treat the biennial of contemporary art as a continuation of the idea of Maidan. Kyiv biennial is a Maidan of culture on the international scale, aimed at the representation of artistic and political experience of Ukraine in the European context. “The School of Kyiv” is needed because it gives an opportunity to speak about local Ukrainian problems in universal language.” 

Image: Curators Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer. Photo Courtesy The School of Kyiv.

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