The exhibition, initiated by the platform Open Place (Kyiv, Ukraine), reflects on the processes in art and society since the beginning of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Drawing on the experience of Ukrainian society, we can define resistance as daily practices that enable people to defend their virtues and dignity. The exhibition “Resistance” aimed to show the changes in society and to trace the transformation of the reality in which we live through the prism of artistic practices. Artistic practices at the intersection of different media, that include different disciplines or have been changed in response to the challenges that have taken place in Ukraine and the world over the past three years, were presented at the exhibition.

Taking the artistic practices as a process aimed at prototyping potential models of interrelationships in society, the exhibition Resistance aimed to start researching resistance practices. How does a society at war understand resistance? What is resistance as a reactive and proactive practice? What can we learn from resistance practices that emerge in times of war? How do our current practices of resistance shape (reflect) our vision of the future and create it?

The exhibition featured ten artists whose works can be divided into several subtopics or thematic fields: work with memory, memorization processes; way how society sees itself -the works where the viewers, to a certain extent, are also the participants in the creation; trauma, traumatic experiences and their impact on the human mind, the internal states in which we live now. The exhibition was displayed from November 10 to December 10, 2023, at the State University of Economics and Technology Shelter, Kryvyi Rih.

Curators: Yuriy Kruchak, Yulia Kostereva.


Olena Afanasieva
artbook «Blackout»
artist, curator, and art manager in the sphere of culture and art from Kherson. Head of the public organization ``Center for Cultural Development ``Totem`` (Kherson).
photo by Denis Maksimov
Max Afanasiev
artbook «Blackout»
photographer, media artist, designer, and filmmaker. Since February 24, 2022, he has been focusing on documenting Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
photo by Denis Maksimov
Piotr Armianovski
film «How Will We Remember?»
artist, performer, director, and educator from Donetsk. Piotr works with documentary film, theater, and virtual reality.
photo by Afina Khaya
Olha Babak
artbooks «My shelters»
visual artist and graphic designer, born in Kharkiv who explores the themes of identity and connections with places. Since the full-scale invasion, she has been working on the topic of the impact of war-related trauma.
photo by Oleksandr Babak
Maksym Buba
sound art ``Reconstruction of Luhansk by memory``
sound artist and musician from Luhansk. The main themes of Maksym's work are auditory memory, perception of place and phenomena through sound, the influence of individual memory on collective history, the nature of reality and fantasy.
Maryna Dovhanych
animated short film ``Vacation in Volokhov Yar``
animation artist and filmmaker from Kaniv. Since February 24, 2022, her focus has shifted to artistic documentation of the individual and social changes that Ukrainians going through when facing the genocidal war.
Olha Koval
photo ``Stone in the room``
is a photographer from Chernihiv. She started her artistic practice in 2018. She is currently studying at the Cinematography Department of Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Karyi University of Theatre, Cinema, and Television. Photographer at Zaborona, a Ukrainian online media outlet. Member of MYPH.
Yana Krykun
video art ``Boundaries``
artist from Kryvyi Rih. Works with installation, video art, and site-specific projects.
photo by Maria Burya
Viktoriia Rozentsveih
Series of art objects «Memory Nourishes the Field»
artist from Nova Kakhovka. In her artistic practice, she works in such media as graphics, installation, and art objects. She works with the themes of memory and the emotional aspect of loss. Since February 24, 2022, she has been researching the impact of the war on the territory of the Kherson region.
photo by Pavlo Shapovalov
Maryna Chaika
video documentation of the performance ``Impossibility of Forgetting``
photographer from Kryvyi Rih. She works with the theme of the body and physicality and explores the physical and metaphysical transformations of a person in modern society.


Olena Afanasieva Max Afanasiev
BLACKOUT artbook, 2023
This art book emerged as an artistic practice during the wintertime power outage of 2022-2023. The reflections and insights of Ukrainian artists about that time, which formed the textual content of the art book, allowed us to look at the blackout situation not as a catastrophe but as a resource that we got at our disposal to discover creative and communicative opportunities that were not tied to computers or the Internet, to feel a certain autonomy and value of ourselves as human beings.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Piotr Armianovski
film, 2022
The oversaturation of visual information seems to make us less sensitive. What is the difference between what we see in person and on the screen? How will we remember this war? An essay film about forms of memory with Oksana Leuta and Kateryna Iakovlenko. It was created for the artistic research lab on war experiences, ``Land to return, Land to care.``

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Olha Babak
MY SHELTERS artbook, 2023
My Shelters art books were created to deal with my fear, which arose from sensitivity to constant danger. They are a reflection on the trauma of war and reflections on safe places that help to adapt and feel supported in times of crisis. The drawings were made on my cardiograms taken after panic attacks that were similar to a heart attack. As these attacks repeated several times, I decided to devote time to working on my anxiety. I used old tiles I found as the covers of the art books. For me, they brought the associations with home and the ruins after shelling that our homes turned into.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Maksym Buba
sound art, 2023
This series of audio tracks is an attempt to recreate the soundscape of selected scenes, mostly from pre-war Luhansk, using sound synthesis. Each audio track is annotated with approximate dates and locations, providing a brief description of the scene, giving the listener the opportunity to delve into the context of each scene, and creating the illusion of real field recording. However, in the audio to reproduce certain details of the scene, neither authentic recordings of these events nor actual recordings of the elements of the environment were used. Instead, synthesized sounds with minimal resemblance to what they represent are used. The method reflects the nature of memories when the reconstruction of past phenomena and events is completely synthesized in memory. The impossibility of an actual connection between memories and the past shows the synthetic nature of the landscape of individual memory.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Maryna Dovhanych
animated short film, 2023
In this project, I facilitated the creative process for 15 children who spent six months under Russian occupation and, even after de-occupation, were in constant danger, as their village Volokhiv Yar is situated in the Kharkiv region, which is under daily shelling. By co-creating an animated short film with the children, I wanted to find out how they spent their summer vacations (given that they had experience with summer vacations before the war, during the occupation, and after the de-occupation of their village). I acted as a director and mentor and showed how to create an animated film. All the graphics and narration were created by children and teenagers of Volokhiv Yar village from October 4-6, 2023.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Olha Koval
photo, 2022
The stone in the room is a collective image that reflects the conditions in which I, my family, and my loved ones found themselves during the full-scale invasion of the russian occupiers. Migration, huge crowds of people at train stations and in bomb shelters, a state of frustration due to the constant need to survive, all of this has been embodied in the total heaviness that fills all the free space, suffocates with its presence, and blocks the exit. The photo was created in 2022 at Menu Zona Art Residency, curated by Darius Vaičekauskas, Lithuania, and supported by the Lithuanian Council of Culture.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Yana Krykun
video art, 2022
I asked 99 people to draw the border of Ukraine by memory. I made the first drawing myself to start the work. Most of the drawings were made by people I didn't know, whom I approached on Svobody Avenue in Lviv. When I started this work, I wasn't sure where it would lead or whether I would achieve the desired result. So, it was a kind of social experiment. The imagination about the boundaries of your home is also an indicator of resistance, and not just an indicator but a starting point for understanding what you stand for—again and again, to draw the line between ``us`` and ``them.``

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Viktoriia Rozentsveih
Series of art objects, 2023
A series of graphic objects where the shadow turns into a new form of medium. Light can adjust the shadow by stretching or shortening it. Several lights create several shadows of different shapes. For me, this process is similar to thoughts about the Kherson field and its future—they are just as unstable and diverse and can change at the smallest moment. In this series, I deliberately go beyond materiality and focus on something that has no life without the source of light because that's exactly how I feel about life now. The shadow here symbolizes the constant comparison of everything with Kherson, whether road, sea, or field... Will I ever be able to meet it again?

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Maryna Chaika
video documentation of the performance, 2022
War is an overall cataclysm that leaves a deep bloody mark on the history canvas, shades our ``untroubled`` attitude, and remains a burden in our thoughts. It is impossible to remove the war because blood cannot be washed away. The performance is a form of resistance to reconciliation and normalization of war's absurdity. It commemorates the sacrifice of people who died at the frontier line to sake the peaceful existence of future generations. Great pain provokes a mental shift. The memory of this offering will awaken national identity and form a sustainable, conscious civil society.

photo by: Vitaliy Chubenko

Interview with the curators of the exhibition

Yuriy Kruchak — artist, curator. Yuriy Kruchak studied Scenography at Kharkiv State Art College and environmental design at the Kharkiv art-industrial Institute (currently Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts). He received a Master’s degree in Painting from the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture in Kyiv (1999). Got the scholarship Gaude Polonia (National Center for Culture Poland) in 2018. Kruchak’s professional interests include interdisciplinary and post‑artistic practices. Yuriy Kruchak is working in the fringes between art and social studies, and his artistic strategies depend on specific problems and usually engage different communities in the creative process.

Yulia Kostereva — artist and curator. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture, Kiev, Ukraine in 2001. The works of Yulia Kostereva, which are often realized in the forms of installations, objects and joint actions, focus on history and stories related to a place, an object or a person. Her practice concerns both the visual arts and the art of interaction.

Yuriy Kruchak and Yulia Kostereva are founders of the interdisciplinary platform Open Place Kyiv, Ukraine (1999).


Julia Kozak: Who might be interested in the exhibition?

Yuriy Kruchak: These are artists, people interested in contemporary culture, the development of Kryvyi Rih, the creative cluster, and the cultural sector in general, as well as young people and students, particularly those of the State University of Economics and Technology, where the exhibition is held.

Julia Kozak: What is the idea and theme of this exhibition? What criteria were used to select the works?

Yulia Kostereva: The artists were selected based on an open call. In the open-call text, we tried to be as precise as possible about the artistic practices we were looking for, namely, artists’ reactions toward Ukrainian society’s transformations. The exhibition aimed to show works that manifest changes in artists’ strategies or new approaches. Through the artists’ work, the exhibition also explores the changes in society during the war.

We had 74 applications from artists and artistic collectives. The proposed visions of the topic of the exhibition “Resistance” were quite diverse. It was also interesting to see how artists form their ideas about a particular topic. The media environment partially projects our perception of a topic or our idea of it, and one of the tasks of the exhibition was to reconfigure the topic of resistance to talk about a more subtle matter. Some of the proposed works reproduced what was on the surface and what was produced by the media but did not bring anything new to the topic.

Yuriy Kruchak: This exhibition is part of our wider research. It concerns changes in artistic practices in Ukraine. Art and culture change along with society. Ukraine is currently experiencing tremendous changes, primarily due to the war. These processes are also connected with decolonization, with the rejection of the paradigms in which Ukraine has lived for the last hundred years. These changes are also related to the fact that artists and cultural managers are actually becoming subjects. That is, they do not retransmit narratives that existed before or were imposed by external actors but try to critically reflect on what has happened before and is happening now in Ukraine in an attempt to take a proactive stance.

The broad scope of our research is also related to the fact that society has changed and has become more proactive. The viewer has become more critical of artistic practices, and recently, we have dealt with many difficult processes of rethinking the essence of an artist’s work. What do artists create? Is this an artistic product or an environment where this artistic product can emerge in a certain dialogue? In this research, we are interested in the conditions in which artworks emerge and the process of creation. In our view, this is closely related to communication. Most of the works submitted to the competition depict the state of war by visualization of the processes taking place. For us, it was important to show how communication between an artist and society is built and how works are created in the process of this communication. In this process, not only the work as a physical manifestation is important, but also the amount of knowledge formed within such communication.

The exhibition “Resistance” became an open stage for our research. We decided to see the works of a wider range of artists outside our circle of contacts or artists whose practices we had long been familiar with.

The exhibition featured ten authors. One of the sub-themes, or the above-mentioned field of communication, is memory processes. It is about how to build the process of creating artwork to engage memorization processes. The work «How Will We Remember?» by Piotr Armianowski is particularly about this.

Another important subtheme or direction of artistic research is how society sees itself. For example, the work of Yana Krykun “Boundaries”. The author explored how we see our boundaries, our places, and our space. Yana asked people to draw the boundaries of Ukraine. This work has an important element of participatory nature when the viewer is involved in creating the work to a certain extent. This is an important feature of the practices we are researching. This approach demonstrates how communication in the form of images can become part of a larger work. The artist here acts as a communicator or mediator who manifests our ideas. And this is a vivid example of how the artist’s methodology changes.

The exhibition also features a moment of internal resistance expressed in a person’s feelings. It is important to remember the internal states we are living in now. An essential part of our research is how artists visualize the challenging processes they are in. The works include “Impossibility of Forgetting” by Maryna Chaika and “Blackout” by Olena Afanasieva and Max Afanasiev are about. We aim to support such methods of work and artists who activate people at a grassroots level.


The exhibition was made possible through cooperation with the Kryvyi Rih State University of Economics and Technology (SUET), which provided the premises and equipment free of charge. The members of Open Place funded the exhibition at their own expense. The artists’ fees were made possible through the support of CEC ArtsLink.