Exhibition project for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day “RAW WOUND”
January 26 11:00 am - February 25 9:00 pm
In the beginning were sky and earth. Or perhaps, in the beginning was the Word. One way or another, from the first day of the creation of the world and from the starting point of humanity’s existence, we weave through the strands of history, engraving our collective past into the memory. Unfortunately, most events of the past leave bloody scars.
One of the deepest wounds is the catastrophe of the Holocaust. On the Holocaust Remembrance Day, we painfully recall how 78 years ago, after the liberation of Auschwitz, the world discovered the horrors committed by the Nazi regime. Anyone who has seen footage from concentration camps at least once in their life will never be able to forget it. The documentary evidence of the tragedy resonates in the hearts of those who have seen even a single photograph of Ukrainian cities and villages affected by russian military aggression. Today, we are horrified to see history repeating itself. Images of crimes against humanity once again cut the raw wound.
Two contemporary Ukrainian artists, Matvii Vaisberh and Alexander Zhyvotkov, each in their own stylistic manner, reproduce the horrors of the past and present in the language of art. Matvii Vaisberh’s paintings “A bird over Birkenau” and “Jewish cemetery in Berdychiv” remind us of the grief of the Jewish people, while the reliefs by Alexander Zhyvotkov convey the contemporary tragedy of Ukraine resisting russian barbarism.
Artists do not leave us alone in the face of terrible times. Amidst darkness and despair, the eternal myth of the creation of the world emerges. Matvii Vaisberh’s series “Seven Days” (1999) draws on the text of the Book of Genesis and the iconography of the “Sarajevo Haggadah” (an illuminated manuscript from the 14th century) and “Matzevah” – Jewish gravestones. Alexander Zhyvotkov’s monumental relief “Creation of the World” was started before russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine; only two years later the artist was able to complete his work with the hope of ending the war.
The exhibition will also feature documentary video archives of the tragic consequences of the Holocaust in Ukraine and the video work “War” by director Oleg Sosnov, photographer Olexandr Glyadelov, and composer Anton Baibakov, based on the chronicle of the first year of russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The horrifying footage captured immediately after the de-occupation of the Kyiv region hardly differs from the scenes that circulated worldwide 78 years ago.
“RAW WOUND” is a modern testimony to the importance of remembering, learning, and acting to ensure that the darkest pages of history never repeat themselves.