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Solo exhibitions: Sergey Bratkov ‘Ukraine’
23 January 2010 - 21 March 2010

The PinchukArtCentre is presenting Ukraine, the first major solo exhibition of Sergey Bratkov in Ukraine. For this show, Bratkov has created series of new photographs and temporary sculptures. This will be presented along with never seen works made in the past ten years, highlighting the different stages of his oeuvre. Using the 4th and the 5th floor of the PinchukArtCentre, Bratkov creates a narrative giving us a mirror to contemporary Ukraine.

Central works throughout the 4th floor show the vitality of Ukraine. In works like Vagina, Our Motherland one sees the new economical and industrial strength which is defining the new generations in Ukraine. With his new series of photographs, “Ukraine”, Bratkov is capturing the beauty and surreal quality of Ukraine not showing a transformed photo but showing with his photography the transformation in reality itself. Travelling through Ukraine, the artist shoots the typical scenes interpreting the social and mental strangeness.

The work never lacks humour showing Eurohotel, a small car, which reminds of a cheap hotel room, small house or a brothel. Bratkov keeps his view light and not without irony but always we should be aware of the dark side which is present in each of these works. In the almost narrative images, films and installations, he shows the impossibility to find a balance between the reality of the present and the ruins of the post-Soviet era.

Bratkov shows this cultural and economical shifting of Ukraine in the personal stories. One of the installations making this a central issue is “Balaklavsky Drive” where the artist shows a film featuring young boys impressing the girls with their adolescent male power by diving in the most crazy way in the water. However, under this video, Bratkov shows blocks of old concrete, ruins of a past. Because it is black and white, one sees this as a video of the past, where we see this incredible vitality and bright future that is hidden in these young boys. The ruins, however, by their physical presence are an image of the present. In this way, Bratkov turns around this vitality to a morbid reality. This work becomes a turning-point in the exhibition where the mirror that Bratkov holds becomes much more dark, showing the series Children and Horror Stories breaking down the vitality and beauty we can find on the 4th floor and focusing on the dark personal stories. However, the work always keeps being twisted. Bratkov enjoys making the dark mirror he is holding surprisingly fresh by, for example, painting the wall where Children are represented blue, a reference to the nationality and even future of Ukraine. He paints the wall for the work Horror Stories with a fresh pink colour tipping over the straightforward reading of the work.

In whichever work shown in this exhibition, Bratkov always creates an engaged reflexion on the social structures which are shifting within a country in transition creating an politically and social-cultural provocative work.

Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1960, the artist lives and works in Moscow. Bratkov’s work is heavily influenced by his Kharkiv origin. In 2002, he took part in the 25th Contemporary Art Biennale in São Paolo. In 2007, he was represented in the Ukrainian pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale as part of the project “Poem About An Inland Sea” organized by the PinchukArtCentre. His solo exhibitions include Faust and Margherita, Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev, 2003; S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2005; Part of my Life, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2006; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2007; Glory Days, Fotomuseum, Winterthur, 2008 and Canal de Isabel II, Madrid, Spain, 2009.

Viewing hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 12:00 – 21:00
Closed – Monday
Admission is free.

Block А, 1/3-2, Chervonoarmiyska Street/Baseyna Street
Besarabka quarter
Kyiv 01 004

Contact information:
Tel.: +38 044 590-08-58
E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: +380 (44) 494-11-48
E-mail: [email protected]