“Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre
Double Q Gallery is honoured to present ‘Resilience: Voices of Ukraine’, an exhibition dedicated to two contemporary Ukrainian artists displaced by the war, Artem Volokitin and Maria Kulikovska. The exhibition offers visual representations of the warfare’s lasting impact on ordinary Ukrainians and highlights how the two artists have built resilience through the act and process of artistic creation. Both artists have fled their countries since the war started in Ukraine in March 2022. Kulikovska and Volokitin, like so many other Ukrainians, found themselves needing to start a new life from scratch. This exhibition can be seen as an organic part of that new start as it has developed and accompanied the artists throughout the last twelve months. Although working on an exhibition in the face of such struggles seemed nonsensical at times, it actually ended up giving them hope. This exhibition is about that hope and what art can give to the artist, and now to you, the visitor.
“I use the allegory of a repeatedly refracted light beam in the Multiple Refraction series. Light returns to its starting point and does not dissolve into infinite space.” — Artem Volokitin
Artem Volokitin’s new series is a continuity of his previous works with nuanced developments that reflect his recent traumatic experiences. In the paintings, Volokitin composes Baroque-inspired, sculptural clouds to represent a translucent, dynamic barrier that is pierced by bold, electrifying light beams. The direct dazzling light rays represent the artist’s determined search for hope against a backdrop of uncertainty, fear and sadness. Employing the canvas as the frame that refracts light boundlessly, Volokitin visualises his self-reflexive journey that accumulates energy and continual tension.
“My way to recover and get out from the pain is to draw it on those papers I collect at emigration offices —it helps to visualise all pain and that enables me to kill it.” — Maria Kulikovska
Currently living and working in Helsinki through the HIAP residency program, Maria Kulikovska combines bodily presence in performance art, objecthood in sculptures, and her experience as an architect in her practice. In this exhibition, the artist showcases three distinct oeuvres, including her critically acclaimed self-casted body sculptures, watercolour works on paper, and hand-painted ceramics. Made with natural and ephemeral materials such as soap, salt, sugar, or milk, her body-sized sculptures represent the vessels for ideas of production and deconstruction, while addressing social and political issues of feminism, queer representation, war, and human rights. In the watercolour works, Kulikovska paints on antiquated forensic medical examination documents and official registration papers for refugees; they visualise the artist’s psychological distress over her sense of abandonment and loneliness that arose from her loss of agency in life. The paintings on ceramic plates and vases are a continuation of the watercolour drawings. Kulikovska employs the medium of ceramics to symbolise the bodies of women, one of the vulnerable communities in wars. The motif of kitchenware represents ‘the table of negation and celebration’ of war and patriarchy. The act of painting over the paperwork and vessels is to regain the voice of Ukrainian women and demonstrates their strength in times of fragility.
- Eszter Csillag