“The Captured House”: Berlin, Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam to host an exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian art devoted to war

The exhibition “The Captured House” opens on the 7th of May in the art-centre Alte Münze in Berlin. It features works of contemporary Ukrainian artists, who document the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine caused by Russia’s attack in real-time. They prompt the international audience to perceive Europe as “our shared house”.

Its title, “The Captured House”, refers to the story “House Taken Over” by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar. An unknown Evil inch by inch occupies the protagonist’s house. Eventually, the man is forced to leave the place where he had lived all his life.

“When the blast wave shattered the windows of my flat in Luhansk in 2014, the situation seemed surreal as if I was in a movie,” says Kate Taylor, the curator of the project. “Eight years have passed by, and we still can’t believe it is our reality. It’s just that all of our houses is occupied now, not only “the bedroom” and “the kitchen”. The war occurs on the screens of their TVs, computers and smartphones for people in the EU, whereas, it’s like it’s happening to someone else or they are watching a blockbuster and can leave the cinema at any time. The Ukrainians of Kharkiv, Mariupol, and other cities under attack can’t. “The Captured House” exhibition aims not only to inform the visitors about the situation but also to immerse them into the ambience that Ukrainians are forced to live in nowadays. This is the only way to understand what is really happening and why this war has to be ceased forthwith.”

“The Captured House” exhibition will familiarize the European audience with the works of contemporary Ukrainian artists: Alevtina Kakhidze, Vlada Ralko, Igor Gusev, Anton Logov, Gamlet Zinkivskyi, Kinder Album and others. After Russia had launched the full-scale invasion, some of them stayed to live and work in the war zonein Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Kherson, and other oblasts.

The exposition features paintings, drawings, and photos that are an artistic chronicle of the war in Ukraine. Indeed, the key image of “Kolyskova” (A Lullaby), a work of Kharkiv painter Daria Koltsova, is linesscratches on the walls that Ukrainians use to count days and the dead while hiding from Russian occupants in the basements.

Famous Ukrainian abstract artist Tiberiy Szilvashi has also joined the exhibition. In his series “Schodennyk” (The Diary), the artist captures changes that emerged in his worldview since the invasion of Russians. “The body starts to “hear” everything around. How a plane “sounds”, how a rocket “rustles”. It starts to feel the time and the amount of it needed for some action. I had to look for new markers to distinguish today from yesterday, to look for them in words, gestures, and their repeatability. It helps to be sure that the reality is still there,” denotes Silvashi in the annotation of his works.

The exhibition is enhanced with footage of war reality. Andrii Bashtovyi, a Kyiv journalist, took a photo of a 75-year old Kharkiv citizen, Larysa Oleksandrivna in front of the destroyed facade of her house in the Pavlove Pole residential district. Photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka presents a series on the defence of Mariupol by soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The last photos of Maks Levin on the evacuation from Irpin are also in the project. He died in March, shot with a Russian bullet in Kyiv oblast.

The exposition is organized by the PORT. cultural management agency with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the State Agency of Ukraine on Arts and Artistic Education. 

“Europe is our shared house, and the enemy has attacked it now. Russians have already shot its doors in Bucha, Irpin, Borodianka and other cities and killed a lot of people,’ says Dmytro Kuleba, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. ‘Ukraine defends now not only its own borders. We fight for the whole democratic world. [We can say so] because the global disaster, which is the result of the Russian federation’s invasion, will affect not only Ukrainians but people abroad as well. Speaking in the language of art today, we prevent Russia’s threat and exhort citizens of the European Union to support Ukraine and Ukrainians with all possible means.”

“Today millions of Ukrainians witness the making of history. History that we will pass on to future generations. Nonetheless, the course of these events depends on the whole world. What Ukraine now embodies is the shield that doesn’t let the enemy move forward. That is why helping our state means contributing to our shared secure future,” tells Oleksandr Tkachenko, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

“The Captured House” exhibits in Berlin until the 15th of May inclusively. Thereafter, it is to be exhibited in Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam.

What: “The Captured House” exhibition

Where: Berlin

When: 7th-15th of May 2022

Entrance fee: Free

The event page on Facebook: shorturl.at/pKMOW