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Kunstverein Hannover presents first Zhanna Kadyrova retrospective

January 28–April 9, 2023

Kunstverein Hannover presents the first retrospective of work by artist Zhanna Kadyrova from January 28 to April 9, 2023.

Zhanna Kadyrova (born 1981 in Brovary, Ukraine) has spent over two decades researching issues related to the post-socialist outlook. Her practice, which was always highly relevant, has taken an urgent turn since the attack on Ukraine. The artist, who fled Kyiv with family members and sought asylum in neighboring countries such as Germany, has subsequently returned to the Ukrainian city. She is driven by a desire to be present on the ground, to be an active participant, helper, and witness.

Kadyrova considers artistic production to be a resilient endeavor. She travels in short bursts between exhibition places throughout the world and her hometown of Kyiv, acting as an artistic ambassador and messenger. She carries not only materials and artworks in her luggage, but also experiences, traumas, and the impacts of living and working under siege. Faced with the omnipresence of war in her homeland, the artist develops a resistance practice through structure and routine—art-making as daily bread. Kadyrova, like many of her coworkers and friends, continues to work despite tiredness and even death, her desire and focus unwavering.

Every day bread. A First Retrospective includes works from two decades of artistic practice, as well as pieces made specifically for the Hannover exhibition. The lecture intends to demonstrate what new types of artistic production the dramatically transformed environment necessitates, as well as how radically new types of creative output might contextualize a scenario in which art becomes a key method of resistance.

Kadyrova had already created pieces in 2014 that addressed the actual commencement of the war. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 opened a new artistic chapter for the artist, who has recently explored issues of national identity, the Soviet past, and the physical ground, as well as processing the vehemence and brutality of war—all in the form of significant artworks that have become even more meaningful in hindsight.

Daily Bread also includes some of her most well-known work, including a sequence of rubble mosaics, a market booth (Market, 2017-19), and the transformation of the concept of daily food into tangible “bread loaves” formed of big river stones (Palianytsia, 2022–, in collaboration with Denys Ruban). The “bread artworks” are still being sold, with proceeds benefiting Kadyrova’s neighborhood. All earnings are contributed to Kyiv-based organizations and friends.

Material that has been shot through or otherwise forcefully pulled away by the artist is shaped into new sculptural forms that speak to what is happening in her hometown. Already before 2014, she had began “extracting” things with meaning—often a piece of asphalt from a specific locality in Ukraine (Data Extraction, 2013-). In certain situations, these areas are no longer considered to be part of her motherland.

Kadyrova remains in the vicinity of Kyiv. For her, living and working in a war-torn city means experiencing Ukrainian reality; she utilizes her profession and exhibitions across the world to reflect on and document what is going on in Ukraine.

This show, organized in collaboration with and supported by the PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv, is expected to be on display in a different version during the summer at the institution’s Kyiv facilities. PinchukArtCentre has been the primary institution in supporting, promoting, and representing Ukrainian contemporary art and artists both within and outside of Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

The Kunstverein will host two events in February and March as part of its “Ukraine and the Russian War of Aggression” series in collaboration with the Foundation Life & Environment | Heinrich Böll Foundation Lower Saxony, the Network Remembrance and Future in the Hannover region, and the ZeitZentrum Zivilcourage in the state capital Hannover. Talks in this framework aim to contextualize the works on display, provide background information on Ukraine’s current circumstances, and enable a broader conversation about the role of art and civic society in times of aggression and repression.

Kadyrova also wants to give her fellow activists, artists, and community members a platform. This is enabled through interviews with artists and filmmakers Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk, who are currently working near Mykolaiv, and artist and writer Yevgenia Belorusets, whose work is currently on view in the German Bundestag.

Every day bread. A First Retrospective is a project co-created and supported by the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine. The NORD/LB Cultural Foundation has generously supported the show. Thank you to GALLERIA CONTINUA (San Gimignano-Beijing-Havana-Les Moulins-Roma-So Paulo-Paris-Dubai) and a private collection in Rome, as well as the FOROF Collection in Rome and the Rigo-Saitta Collection in Switzerland.

Kunstverein Hannover
Sophienstraße 2
30159 Hannover
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 12–7pm,
Sunday 11am–7pm

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