Open Group
Repeat After Me II

★★★☆☆

Curated by Marta Czyż

Control over the Polish pavilion passed to a Ukrainian project in December when the freshly-elected minister of culture unceremoniously pulled the plug on his predecessor’s favourite Ignacy Czwartos’ proposal of history painting. In place of the promised series of hammy tragic images that would promote Poland as the victim of history, Open Group now presents a video diptych in which the tragedy is Ukrainian.

From the screen, displaced men and women lead a would-be performance, inviting the audience to imitate the sounds of gunfire, artillery rounds, drones, and an air raid. They do this with the patience of kindergarten teachers and their didactic efforts are aided by karaoke-like subtitles. Some viewers do join in, eliciting stifled but sympathetic laughter from others. 

This isn’t bad propaganda and not terrible art, either. It does, however, portray Ukrainians as aimless, stunted, and lacking the capacity to make their own decisions. Whether this view is accurate or not, it happens to be what the country’s Western allies want of it. NATO would rather be saving Ukraine’s children than contend with its broader responsibilities. At the pavilion’s opening, the crowd’s applause was rapturous. A sense of tragedy, however, was altogether missing.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Ksenia Pedan, Revision at Cell Project Space ★★★★☆

Ksenia Pedan

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

Christo, Early Works at Gagosian Open ★★★★☆

Christo

Early Works

★★★★☆

To appreciate Christo’s early works against his wishes, one must forget his later stunts.

Siobhan Liddell, Been and Gone at Hollybush Gardens ★★☆☆☆

Siobhan Liddell

Been and Gone

★★☆☆☆

A twee aesthetics native to a grandmother’s mantlepiece collection of tourist souvenirs and devotional figurines.

Lutz Bacher, AYE! at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Lutz Bacher

AYE!

★★★★☆

There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition.

Max Boyla, Crying like a fire in the sun at Workplace ★★☆☆☆

Max Boyla

Crying like a fire in the sun

★★☆☆☆

Rothko’s abstractions are said to have induced tears in viewers overwhelmed by abstraction. Staring at the sun here, however, barely causes blindness.

Michael Simpson at Modern Art ★★★★☆

Michael Simpson

★★★★☆

In this meditation of surface disguised as a study of objects, neither is a truer likeness of the events.

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