Russian illegal prison on IZOLYATSIA premises has been operational for 10 years.

Social Contract

30 June 2016 — 24 August 2016

On June 30, at 6 PM, IZOLYATSIA presents Social Contract, project consisting of an exhibition featuring works by eleven artists from ten countries, a public programme, and a temporary art intervention Inhabiting Shadows by Cynthia Gutierrez at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv.

Social Contract is aimed at creating a discussion platform for art community, society and authorities on the status and functions of commemorative objects in urban space, using the case of the Lenin statue in Kyiv as an example. The destruction of the statue of Lenin in Kyiv in December 2013 triggered the symbolic Leninfall around the country, calling into action a controversial set of laws on Decommunisation to a broad polemic in Ukrainian society.

The so-called commemorative objects have been erected for centuries in public spaces designed to remind society and future generations of the heroes, outstanding achievements and victories of the past. The sculptors would use long-lasting materials such as stone, marble or bronze to emphasise the perennial nature of the given historical character or event. Nowadays, however, the public spaces depart from monumentalism, while the general tendency for digitalisation changes the function of memory. The way people store and transmit memories is changing rapidly, substituting marble with more ephemeral and functional forms of memory.

The exhibition that will be on view at IZOLYATSIA showcases various examples of rethinking, instrumentalising and manipulating commemorative objects that shape our perception of collective history. The featured works deal with controversial monuments within different discourses – post-Soviet (Krassimir Terziev, Arseny Zhilyaev) and post-Cold War (Kristina Benjocki, Pilar Mata Dupont) – stimulating viewers to re-evaluate their own experiences.

The public programme, which forms an integral part of the project, will include performances, workshops, lectures and public discussions about the temporary installation and the role of commemorative objects in public space, involving local communities, activists and representatives of the municipal government. A detailed programme of the events will be announced at IZOLYATSIA’s official website (

Emphasising the necessity of an open selection procedure, IZOLYATSIA announced an open call for projects of artistic intervention at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv. We have received 21 applications from artists and art collectives around the globe: eight from Ukraine, two from Mexico, and one from Poland, Bulgaria, Chile, Spain, Belgium, Latvia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Netherlands, and Switzerland. The international jury chose the installation by the Mexican artist Cynthia Gutierrez titled Inhabiting Shadows. The installation intends to provoke a discussion and reflection about imposed memory, system failure, emptiness, identity and occupying space. The temporary installation may help answer the question whether building a new monument on Lenin’s place is necessary, or the site should remain vacant.

The opening of Cynthia Gutierrez’s temporary artistic intervention Inhabiting Shadows is scheduled for July 9, the project will last for one week. As of now, the initiative of the intervention has been approved by the Department for urban planning and architecture and the Department for culture of the Kyiv State City Administration.

Aware of the importance of the dialogue between local community and municipal authorities, IZOLYATSIA calls for city officials, art community, entrepreneurs, activists, civic organisations and all the city enthusiasts to join the discussion and support the creation of the temporary version of the monument.

Exhibition Details

Kateryna Filyuk

Tetyana Filevska




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