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"Iliya Chichkan"
2000-01-10 until 2000-01-28
Apollonia, European Art Exchanges
Mulhouse, , FR France

As part of the cultural exchanges with the Ukraine and following the exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian photographers that took place in October and November 2000, Apollonia, European Art Exchanges and Le Quai, Art and Design School of Mulhouse and Upper Alsace organize a monographic exhibition of Iliya Chichkan Ukrainian artist In connection with his residence at the School.

Contemporary photography in Ukraine has developed in two streams, as those individuals traditionally referring to the medium during the Soviet period were left behind by artists trained at the various Art Academies. The tradition of photography and its relevance outside reportage is not found among artists normally cited as those who consituted the dissident art movement in Ukraine. Photography almost explicitly and sporadically developed in the countrỳs eastern city of Kharkiv where it grew steadily as an underground movement initiated in the late 1960s, unlike painting which did not share in a consequential non-formalist movement during the Soviet period. Kharkiv's movement in photography, as constituted by the group Vremya of which the well known photographer and artist Boris Mihailov was a member, began as a type of grass-roots organization, not unlike other organizations attempting a type of covert discourse and exhibition beyond what was officially accepted. This was not simply a counter-culture movement but an attempt to refer to photography as a means to convey what lies beyond objective reality in an effort to innervate amid a social construct seemingly anaesthetized. As photography in the Soviet Union was restricted to those designated to employ the camera for official or state purposes, Kharkiv's photographers often resorted to standard images of condoned scenes reflecting the industrial and economic infrastructure - factory employees, transportation systems, and buildings, often manipulating the images by color alterations and demarcations.

The photography which came out after Glasnost in a starkly regionalized Ukraine had been the result of the initial meeting of two camps, the engineers turned artists in Kharkiv and the painters turned installation artists in cities such as Kyiv and Odessa. The former photography enclave in Kharkiv developed into a much more antagonistic movement attempting to provide a forum for photography as an art form with the efforts of such cooperatives as The Fast Reaction Group (introducing the work of Serhiy Bratkov and Serhiy Solonskiy) . In other cities, recent graduates from the Art Institute translated their interest in film into situations first rendered on canvas, and then later by photographic means. Artists such as Kyivan Iliya Chichkan began to render noir subjects within large format photograph that the artist subsequently painted with sepia and other washes. In contrast to Kharkiv, photography became another avenue for artists seeking out another dimension for the realization of their work.

Vasily Ryabchenko

To provide a comprehensive portrait of what may be constituted as that specific to the photographic tradition and development in Ukraine, is to understand the continued importance both historically and currently in staged photography in relation to what had been the prevalence for the documentary image. That is to say that to despite the manipulation of the image or staging of a scene, the photography remains bracketed within social reality and commentary.

Marta Kuzma


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