The British Council in Ukraine presents an international exhibition — Trespassers Will Be Detected? — prepared by the SWAP: UK/UKRAINE program participants. The ten artists who comprised the program, held in both the UK and Ukraine in 2019, will be presenting the results of their visual explorations at the Artsvit Gallery and the Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture from March 13 to April 15.
The question asked in the title is both rhetorical and disturbing, as is the artwork of these 10 Ukraine- and UK-based artists. The work interrogates the capacity and relevance of established socio-political norms during periods of transition and the types of invisible stressors that affect contemporary life in Ukraine and the UK.
Curators of the final exhibition Anastasia Khlestova and the British Council's Ilya Zabolotnyi had this to say on the choice of topic: "Ukrainian artists travelled to Scotland in the autumn of 2019 just as discussions for the implementation of Brexit — a political choice for the United Kingdom's future — were going on. That sense of invisible tension, anxiety, covert aggression and assault on boundaries both public and private, and the reckoning of 'life's basic rules' is palpable in their observations and newly created artworks. By contrast, the UK-based artists found themselves caught up in the drawn-out, uncertain processes of transformation taking place in cities across Ukraine — Dnipro, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odesa. For the artists this served as a jumping off point for the consideration of new models for socio-cultural relations as well as a search for unity in a time marked by the formulation and destruction of provisional boundaries, and the (im)possibility of bringing order to the chaotic present and decoding "the Other". A vital, unifying factor for all the residents is the search for a holistic view of our world and reflection upon one's place in a relentlessly shifting system of coordinates."
Each year, the SWAP: UK/Ukraine program tries out a new set of formats and locations for arts residencies. This year, leading Scottish institutions revealed utterly new approaches and perspectives by which Ukrainian artists were allowed to examine the European cultural context — from the viewpoint of Scotland. In Ukraine, the program had a broad geography; residencies were held in Kharkiv (YermilovCentre), Odesa (Odesa Museum of Modern Art), Lviv (the Jam Factory Art Center and the Center for Urban Histories) and Dnipro.
In Dnipro the program partnered with both well-established institutions — Artsvit and Kultura Medialna — as well as with the newly emerging Dnipro Centre for Contemporary Culture (DCCC). For that reason, the Final Exhibition is held at two locations — Artsvit and DCCC — to promote the new initiative and prompt dialogue around the establishment of an arts centre, underscoring its importance to the city's cultural development.
By holding the SWAP: UK/Ukraine exhibition in Dnipro, organizers are looking to boost the city's visibility in international cultural dialogues, to stimulate development in the local cultural landscape and promote support for the decentralization of public cultural processes.
"The Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture is a platform to promote international, inter-regional and local cooperative efforts, and to represent contemporary art and the diversity of modern culture. We assign great importance to working within the local context, and the potential for collaboration and cultural exchange among artists, representatives of the cultural sector and local residents. We're thrilled to have the British Council's SWAP: UK/Ukraine exhibition as one of our first major international projects at our yet to inaugurated center." — Andriy Palash, Director, Kultura Medialna NGO.
"We greatly appreciate the experience of this cooperative effort and are pleased to present these projects by our UK and Ukrainian residents. It's especially gratifying to see it at the Artsvit Gallery and in our city — Dnipro that currently lacks formal education in culture and the arts and suffers from the tide of creative talent leaving the city. But we think that the residency format is a good way to boost the development of informal exposure to contemporary art in the city, intensify the local creative environment and land Dnipro on cultural map both nationally and internationally, through practices exchange, interactions with the local community and urban spaces and support of internationally experienced curators." — Iryna Polikarchuk, Director, Artsvit Gallery.
SWAP: UK/Ukraine is an annual arts residency program for artists and curators organised by the British Council in Ukraine. The program is carried out in a collaborative effort between some of the UK and Ukraine's most innovative and experimental arts' institutes. Since the inaugural 2016 season, the program has supported 41 residencies for 37 artists and 4 curators. In Ukraine, the British Council has partnered with the Yermilov Centre in Kharkiv; the Jam Factory Art Centre and the Centre for Urban History, Lviv; the Odesa Museum of Modern Art, Odesa; the Artsvit Gallery and Kultura Medialna and the Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture (DCCC), all in Dnipro. In the UK, the lead partners have been Hospitalfield (since 2019), and a number of partner institutions in Scotland —Cove Park, Scottish Sculpture Workshop, The Pier Arts Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio (DCA), Glasgow Sculpture Studios and the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW).
Participants of the final exhibition: Yevgen Nikiforov, Oleksandra Kadzevych, Taras Kovach, Jocelyn McGregor, Manca Bajec, Alishia Farnan, Catherine Losing, Robbie Coleman, Jo Hodges, Loreal Prystaj.
SWAP aims to connect artists from Ukraine and the UK, supporting their development in an international arts environment. The program allows artists time for research, reflection and study of the artistic traditions of the two countries.
Partners for the final SWAP: UK/UKRAINE Artistic Residency Exhibition 2019 — Artsvit Gallery, Kultura Medialna, the Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture.
4a Sichovykh Striltsiv str., Dnipro
Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture
21a Krutohirnyi uzviz, Dnipro
Exhibition opening times at both locations:
Tuesday to Saturday: 12 pm — 8 pm.
Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Admission to the exhibition is free
The exhibition will include educational events within a parallel program: meetings with artists, artist talks, guided exhibition tours.