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Otevřený dopis Darji Lukjanenko kurátorům a kurátorkám výstavy Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého

An open letter from Darja Lukjanenko to curatorial team of Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého exhibition / Tereza Jindrová, Karina Kottová, Tomáš Pospiszyl and Tomáš Glanc

Lessons on Russian Imperialism at the exhibition Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého

I remember how in 2014 Russian troops entered Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk. I remember my naive shock at the international community seeing Russia’s little green men breaking into Ukraine, but doing nothing about it. I remember realizing for the first time that international organizations, alliances, and communities manifesting the values ​​of humanism, peace, and justice, are not ready to protect these values.

I remember how in February 2022, a week before the start of the open Russian invasion in Ukraine, I planned a trip home to Eastern Ukraine. At that time, Russian troops had already gathered at the Ukrainian borders, and the embassies called ambassadors and their families out from Ukraine. It seemed to me back then, that Russian troops on the border were primarily a provocation aimed at economic and emotional destabilization. I didn’t want to believe they were preparing for the genocide in Ukraine.

I remember how on the first day of the open Russian invasion my mother called our relatives in Russia to tell them what happens in Ukraine. I remember watching a video interview with a Russian soldier saying he „thought he is at military exercises“. I remember how I wanted to believe that Russian war in Ukraine is a story about the price of silence and ignorance. But gradually it became more and more difficult to believe in it. Russian soldiers began to drop bombs on residential buildings, maternity hospitals, kindergartens, shoot evacuees, shoot children, use prohibited weapons, rape women, burn entire cities to the ground. The realization that all this was done consciously became my agony. It became absolutely impossible to believe that Russian soldiers think they are at military exercises. They know what they are doing. And they always knew. They bombed Mariupol Theater despite the word “CHILDREN” (ДЕТИ) had been marked on the ground outside the building. The illusions ended completely when numerous polls came up showing the majority of people in Russia supporting Russian war in Ukraine.

The Russian war in Ukraine is not a story about the price of silence and ignorance. It is a story about the price of tolerating evil, the price of tolerating imperialism, colonial ambitions. The Russian war in Ukraine is not a story about Russians‘ inaction only. It is the story of all of us making decisions every day in favor of (not)tolerating evil.

That is why I consider a necessity to talk about the lessons on imperialism of the exhibition Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého. This letter is not an attempt to discredit the team of curators. This letter is my assurance that after several conversations with the team online and offline, I finally did my best to not tolerate the colonial and imperialist narratives of the Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého exhibition.

Tereza Jindrová, Karina Kottová, Tomáš Pospiszyl and Tomáš Glanc,

Despite the fact that you are canceled collaboration with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, your curatorial project is permeated by pro-Russian-imperialist narratives. Continuing to call all Soviet artists Russian, you tolerate the colonial ambitions of Russia and contribute to the destruction of cultures that were appropriated and colonized by Soviet Russia and modern Russia. Offering an open call for Russian and Ukrainian artists on the issue of inclusion of Russian art as a reaction to the war of Russia in Ukraine, you showing absolutely non-solidary position towards Ukrainian artists being killed, injured, blockaded in basements for weeks by Russian forces. Sure, the topic you bring up will be valid once, but is the unfolding genocide in Ukraine really the right time to bring it to the spotlight? The cynicism of the space dedicated to open-call at the exhibition is completed by the pacifist statement “No War” (Нет Войне) written on the wall in Russian language by Václav Magid. Unfortunately, pacifism is a privilege that is currently not available for Ukrainians. The Russian war in Ukraine discredited pacifist slogans. ”No-war” and “No-Putin” became statements “to avoid responsibility for the war crimes, not to stop them”. “No war” offers neither a solution nor a helping hand. “No invasion in Ukraine”, “No Russian War in Ukraine” does.

I ask you to immediately review the „No War“ statement by Václav Magid on the wall and the “No War Today” banner at the entrance to the exhibition. I ask you to review an accompanying program to Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého, dedicated to the Soviet avant-garde you call “Russian” and Russian art in the time Russia committing genocide in Ukraine. I demand you to do it not because it hurt me, as a Ukrainian. I demand you to do it because your statements and accompanying program for the Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého are full of imperialistic narratives, attuned to narratives of the Russian war criminals. I ask you to do this in order to save your reputation and to make your contribution against Russian Imperialism.

28.03.2022 Darja Lukjanenko

Komentáře

    • Štefan Pecko

    I would understand a lot of points in Your comment but this statement, the whole structure of narrative and the used diction in the end that really scarry me. I hope that’s caused due to lost in translation.

    „Offering an open call for Russian and Ukrainian artists on the issue of inclusion of Russian art as a reaction to the war of Russia in Ukraine, you showing absolutely non-solidary position towards Ukrainian artists being killed, injured, blockaded in basements for weeks by Russian forces. Sure, the topic you bring up will be valid once, but is the unfolding genocide in Ukraine really the right time to bring it to the spotlight?“

    I’m 100% sure that everyone of named are against Russian terror in Ukraine. I hope that You and curators will find some better way for dialog than via artalk.

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