Spotlight Art with Heart: Ukraine

Championed by The Wick
The Wick - Fountain of Exhaustion. Exhibition Pavlo Makov. The Fountain in the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv 2017. Courtesy of the Ya Gallery Art Center
Above  Fountain of Exhaustion. Exhibition Pavlo Makov. The Fountain in the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv 2017. Courtesy of the Ya Gallery Art Center
The Wick - At Risk. Detail from Paradise, 2021 © Tacita Dean, 2022
Above  At Risk. Detail from Paradise, 2021 © Tacita Dean, 2022
12 April 2022
12 April 2022
This week we’re turning the Spotlight on Ukraine.

Every week The Wick highlights an up-and-coming artist that deserves recognition on a wider scale, supported by a Champion from the art world that we know and love. The Wick believes in the power of art to heal and help, which is why this week, in response to the ongoing situation in Ukraine we are highlighting initiatives to support Ukrainian artists.

March brought with it a flurry of art fundraisers to support Ukraine, from Idris Khan’s print sale to Art4Ukraine photo sales, but there are still many ways to get involved if you missed the first round of crowdfunding.

The Naked Room

The Naked Room is a Kyiv-based gallery responsible for producing the Ukraine pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. It was announced at the beginning of March that the pavilion would continue to show at the Biennale, with artist Pavlo Makov presenting his kinetic sculpture “The Fountain of Exhaustion. Acqua Alta (1995–2022)”. Acqua Alta refers to the phenomenon of regular flooding Venice experiences several times a year when the Adriatic Sea tide rises above 90 cm – at the last Biennale in 2019, sirens would ring out in August to warn of the encroaching tide, as floods forced the Biennale to close. Highlighting themes of cultural erasure, climate collapse, and war, the focal installation shows water slowly trickling through a wall of steel funnels, depleting in volume as the reserves reach the bottom. The work draws parallels between the exhaustion of environmental change and human impact.

“The display symbolizes exhaustion on many levels. Besides the obvious – depletion of humanity’s resources and credit with the environment – it’s about psychological exhaustion due to social media abuse, the pandemic and economic recession” – Pavlov Makov

Makov was sheltering in a bomb shelter in Kharkiv but has since left the city to seek shelter abroad – along with his artwork. The Fountain of Exhaustion has travelled across the border to Romania in pieces and is set to arrive in Venice a refugee, ready to be reassembled. In response to the fractures the invasion is causing across Ukraine to all sectors, the Naked Room gallery have been spearheading a major fundraising campaign called the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund, administrated by the (MOCA) Museum of Contemporary Art NGO. They’ve been compiling emergency resources for artists and those working in the arts, from residencies to stipends for those in exile. Their mission statement as a gallery has shifted slightly since the outbreak of war:

“Today, the world needs free, strong and alive voices of Ukrainian cultural actors more than ever. Our task is to ensure the continuity and development of the Ukrainian cultural process during the war.”

Bettter Community

Another initiative aimed at sustaining the Ukrainian creative scene through the unprecedented destruction of war, Bettter Community (that’s three Ts!) is a platform to showcase the top artists and creatives, from photography to graphic design, stylists to artists. Bettter Community functions as a portal to commission artists in need but also allows grants of up to 3000 euros to cover legal expenses incurred by relocation and disruption. Artists, like all citizens in Ukraine, have been forced to abandon studios and materials,working if they can at all from sub-par conditions on the road and in unfamiliar spaces.

“Kyiv has the most amazing creative scene and culture, everything from music, to fashion, to art. People have long called it ‘the new Berlin’. The young creatives that call the city home need help and support, whether they’ve left Ukraine or stayed in the country and continue in with their work.” Says ormer Vogue Ukraine editor-in-chief Julie Pelipas, founder of Bettter Community. “It’s important to me that the world doesn’t see Ukraine’s people as victims,” she explains. “I am so proud of our creative scene and the people that are part of it, and I want the world to see that too.”

“Today, the world needs free, strong and alive voices of Ukrainian cultural actors more than ever. Our task is to ensure the continuity and development of the Ukrainian cultural process during the war.”

The Naked Room, organisers of the Ukraine pavilion at Venice Biennale

Artists at Risk

Artists at Risk is a non-profit organization working at the intersection of human rights and the arts. Since 2013 AR has been collaborating with arts non-profits and government funders to assist artists who are at risk politically and fleeing oppression and war, in 26 locations in 19 countries globally. They’ve previously supported Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova as well as Vietnamese activists and Kurdish artists, providing assistance and escape from difficult regimes.

In 2022, AR has turned its focus to Ukraine while continuing to support ongoing human rights crisis in other countries. They’ve launched a new print sale in partnership with artist Adam Broomberg, with artists including Nan Goldin, Jeremy Deller, Miranda July, Doug Aitken, and writer Lynne Tillman donating a piece of art as an open edition print that will be available to purchase until 30 April 2022 via the Solidarity Prints website. Each edition is priced at €200, with all proceeds from sales helping to facilitate emergency travel, shelter and financial support to enable affected artists in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and beyond to find safety. A special edition box containing all 70 prints is available for €14,000.

Thaddaeus Ropac fundraiser

The Thaddaeus Ropac team have launched a fundraiser to support the humanitarian efforts on the ground and those who are displaced by the terrible circumstances, with many of the gallery’s biggest names getting involved. Spanning all gallery locations in London, Paris, Salzburg, Seoul and online, the sale features more than a hundred works for sale by notably high-profile talents, all in support of relief efforts.

The sale includes pieces by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Antony Gormley and Martha Jungwirth. Gormley has donated two pieces, including Stop (for Ukraine), 2022, made from blood and the juice of walnut fruits, and his 2011 steel block sculpture STRAIN I, explaining, “I chose this work because the stress that Ukraine is going through is the stress that all of Europe is undergoing, if not the world. Here is a body both recumbent and in high tension, aware of itself and the wider world in which it is embedded.” All proceeds from sales will go to three international organisations, the the Disasters Emergency Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Austrian Red Cross.
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