Goethe-Institut Im Exil: Ukrainian Art During Times of War

The Goethe-Institut in Berlin holds an exhibition of art created by Ukrainian artists

October 07th, 2022
Natalie Thelin, News from Berlin
© Anatolii Sachivko, Angel Angelov, Apache Crew, Pokaz Trio

© Goethe-institutet im exil: Still picture of the film "Voices"

The Goethe Institute’s “Im Exil” (“In Exile”) exhibition featuring Ukrainian artist held its opening on the 6th of October, with speeches from the Institute’s General Secretary Johannes Ebert, Head of the Culture and Society Department at the Foreign Office Ralf Beste, Project Manager and Curator of the “Im Exil” exhibition Olga Sievers and Curator of the “Im Exil” exhibition and Program Coordinator with the Ukrainian branch Dr. Olena Lykhovodova.

The exhibition proceeded with a reading of poet Serhij Zhadan’s poetry, followed by a discussion. Zhadan’s poetry attempted to answer the questions: What power do literature have when war reigns? What language do poets use to do justice to the emotions of fear, pain, and love?

The poetry reading was then followed by an audio-visual installation and live performance titled Alarm. Alarm was directed by Vlad Troitskyi, with the goal of bringing the situation of the war closer to the audience. After the performance, the director talks about the work and the mission of his theatre on the "cultural front". The talk was moderated by Birgit Lengers.

After the live performance and discussion, a film was screened. The film Zemlya (“Earth”) was produced 1930. The story takes place in late 1920s Ukraine with the rise of the first Kolchos farms and class enmity. It is told from a man called Vasyl’s perspective, about how he got the community’s first tractor by getting the help of a party organisation. Vasyl then gets into trouble by destroying the fences of the kulaks. The film, directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, mixes 1930s perspectives with those of the 21st century.

At the same time as the screening of the film, the band Zhadan i Sobaki (“Zhadan and the Dogs”) performed songs about freedom, using poetry and the punk genre to convey it.

The reason for the exhibition is that during oppression and war, intellectuals and artists lose the space for dialogue and need to flee the country. In many of those countries, the Goethe Institut has had to cease their activities. The “Im Exil” exhibition was created as a space for artists who have had to flee their countries in order to create, discuss and showcase their art.

The following days will have artwork by artists Kateryna Gornostai, Iryna Tsilyk, Igor Gaidai, Maryna Er Gorbach and more. The exhibition is held in German, Ukrainian, Russian and English and is free of charge.


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