July 14, 2015, 12:18 a.m.
On 21 July 2015 IZOLYATSIA foundation (Donetsk, Ukraine) opens an exhibition in Augsburg (Germany) as part of Friedensfest – the international Augsburg Peace Festival.
The exhibition is the central event of the festival, which allows IZOLYATSIA to bring into focus the military events in Eastern Ukraine from various perspectives, and to explore the role of culture during conflict by referring to the foundation’s own story.
On 9 June 2014 the forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) seized the territory on which IZOLYATSIA foundation was situated in Donetsk allegedly to store humanitarian aid coming in from Russia. IZOLYATSIA’s offices, galleries, libraries, and book store were looted: the foundation lost its art works, supplies and equipment. Since then, the foundation’s territory is used by DPR mercenaries as an armoury, military training camp, prison, place of execution, and a warehouse for stolen cars. Art installations, which are an integral part of the architecture and landscape of the foundation’s territory in Donetsk, are sold for scrap metal or destroyed. Since June 2014, and following the evacuation of its team from Donetsk, IZOLYATSIA continues its mission in Kyiv.
The information presented at the exhibition illuminates the events, related to the foundation’s seizure, and sheds light on the various cultural and social projects, realized by IZOLYATSIA foundation for the inhabitants of Donetsk.
The exhibit communicates the personal stories of different sides involved in the conflict – the militiamen occupying the foundation’s territory, journalists, artists incarcerated by the DPR for «ideologically incorrect behaviour», and young Donetsk dwellers, who view Donetsk as a part of Ukraine. The exhibit also features videos taken by the invaders of the foundation’s premises, which document the destruction of art works situated on the occupied territory in Donetsk.
In mid June 2015, the DPR militants blew up the installation by Pascale Marthine Tayou, created by the artist during IZOLYATSIA’s project Where is the Time in 2012. The work represented a giant lipstick crowning a factory smokestack. Installation Make up… Peace! was dedicated to the women of Donbas and noted their role in the reconstruction of post-war Donetsk.
Another element of the exhibition is The House of Cards installation by artist Serhii Zakharov, consisting of 12 oversized playing cards portraying leaders of the unrecognized republics (DPR and LPR) in caricature form. Vladimir Putin is the cornerstone card, portrayed as the Joker. As part of the exhibition’s opening on 21 July, Serhii Zakharov will carry out a performance based on his work the House of Cards.
Following the performance, the Culture, Conflict and Censorship panel discussion will take place on the topic of freedom of expression for artists and journalists. Participants: Dmitry Potekhin, Kyiv journalist and former prisoner on the territory where IZOLYATSIA was situated in Donetsk; Serhii Zakharov, Donetsk artist; Dr. Dietrich Haissenbuettel, journalist and researcher of art history and art censorship, Matthias Heitmann, journalist.
The exhibition will be open from 21 July to 08 August 2015 in Augsburg, Germany, Central City Library of Augsburg (Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1).
The exhibition Culture and Conflict: IZOLYATSIA in Exile was presented at Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2014), and at DOX art center (Prague, Czech Republic, 2015).
FriedensfestFriedensfest (Augsburger Hohe Friedensfest ) – is an international multidisciplinary peace festival held in Augsburg, the history of which dates back to 1650. The festival commemorates the end of the oppression of Augsburg Protestants during the Thirty Years' War, and is held annually on August 8. Since 1950 this date is an official state holiday dedicated to political, religious, cultural, and social freedoms.