OPENING: Where Are We Now, After All Those Endlessly Repeated Words?
Curated by Petro Ryaska, Daria Shevtsova
In the wake of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes, fleeing cities under constant shelling and threat of occupation, and artists were no exception. As a response to these urgent challenges, cultural institutions had to rethink their own purpose and redirect institutional resources in order to help. Residencies have played a significant role among these places, and have developed into dynamic shared spaces for collaborating practices and reflection, and, more importantly, spaces for mutual care. Considering the new circumstances, the residency Sorry No Rooms Available, held at the Intourist-Zakarpattia Hotel in Uzhhorod, at some point became a shelter and a potential further transition point to safer locations for a substantial part of the Ukrainian artists and cultural workers. Back then, the name of the residency, which comes from a phrase that would commonly be heard at the concierge desk in the 1980s when the hotel was at its peak, marked the traumatic experience of thousands of people forced to seek new places to live. The exhibition Where are we now, after all those endlessly repeated words? takes its starting point from the Emergency Residencies for artists and art professionals from Ukraine, held in 2022 and aimed to support the Ukrainian cultural community. Bringing together works of its participants with practices of other Ukrainian artists, the exhibition intertwines personal stories and shared experiences of living through the war, while undergoing loss of home and forced relocation. Delving into the concept of a hotel as a temporary transit space, where anticipation and uncertainty imperceptibly alter it into a state of limbo, it suggests a journey through the spacious halls, abandoned hidden spots, and lonesome apartments in an attempt to reveal and reconsider the traces war has left in our history and in our lives. How do we imagine our return to previous plans and dreams, and when does the future we are constantly recalling in our conversations start?