press release

Revolutionize. Reflections on revolutionary history unfolding in the present
21.11.2018 - 27.01.2019

Participating artists:
Francis Alÿs, Lara Baladi, James Beckett, Maksym Bilousov, Marinus Boezem, Adelita Husni-Bey, Irina Botea, Nazar Bilyk, Latifa Echakhch, Harun Farocki, Jack Goldstein, Hamza Halloubi, Yuriy Hrytsyna, Iman Issa, Illya Isupov, Alevtina Kakhidze, Lesia Khomenko, Sasha Kurmaz, Dariia Kuzmych, Cristina Lucas, Basim Magdy, Lev Manovich, Olexa Mann, Olaf Nicolai, Maria Plotnikova, Letícia Ramos, Vlada Ralko, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Vova Vorotniov, Pavel Wolberg. With the participation of the Planning for Protest, Mystetskyi Barbican, Strike Poster, Piotr Armianovski, Aftermath VR: Euromaidan

Curators: Kateryna Filyuk (Ukraine), Nathanja van Dijk (the Netherlands)

Exhibition architecture: studioBASAR

Where democracy is under pressure and crisis reigns, alternative participatory models are developed, as evidenced by the recent worldwide gulf of revolts and protest movements. One of the brightest among them was the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity. The group-exhibition Revolutionize marks the 5th anniversary of this mass protest that took to the street in 2013–2014.

Departing from Kyiv’s Independence Square—the very heart of the Ukrainian protest movement—the exhibition Revolutionize can be seen as an exercise, an attempt at imagining the future narrative of the newly-established Museum of the Revolution of Dignity. This memorial museum doesn’t have a permanent venue yet, however it is responsible for a collection of numerous objects and artifacts of the recent revolution. This became the starting point for the commissioned project entitled Couplings by James Beckett, which runs like a thread through the exhibition. The artist paired the museum's artifacts with mundane objects, emphasising the unique nature of the revolutionary moment and its power to alter the function of ordinary things that could turn into a weapon or protection as well as symbolic agents of historic events.

A museum is a place where a society tells stories to itself about what is significant in its history and culture. A society is alive and flexible when it interprets and upsets its own narratives. Hence, in anticipation of the future Museum of the Revolution of Dignity, the exhibition Revolutionize aims to commemorate past events, yet simultaneously critically reflects on how we—in a post-revolution era—deal with history when the dust has not yet settled.

How do we find the words and images to capture a historical moment when it unfolds before our eyes? How can we access and understand a revolutionary event and create space for the many voices that should be heard when history is still in the making? What is the role of art in a crisis driven time? These questions are relevant for Ukraine, but also concern everyone who wants to question the status quo of our contemporary moment and who wants to rewrite the singular, hegemonic narratives with which we describe our present.

Organizers: Mystetskyi Arsenal, Museum of the Revolution of Dignity, A Tale of a Tub

The project is implemented with support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.