RE: Otevřený dopis Darji Lukjanenko kurátorům a kurátorkám výstavy Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého

Dear Darja,

thank you for your letter, and please let us clarify a few points from our perspective. Shortly before the opening of the exhibition The Worlds of Jindřich Chalupecký, the Russian army invaded Ukraine. We felt the need to respond, as the exhibition was to present a section of works by artists from the former Soviet Union, who Chalupecký visited and exchanged with in the 1960s and 1970s. We felt that under the current devastating circumstances we cannot exhibit this section as planned, without any further action. We have canceled a loan of artworks from the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, run by the Russian state, while composing the section with the help of local collections (the final selection was curated by Tomáš Glanc). Still, we felt further commentary was needed. Besides adding some explanation to the wall texts, we introduced an improvised section to the exhibition, where we aimed to express our solidarity and support of Ukraine and at the same time open up questions related to what does the war cause in the field of art and culture, what kind of response or action should or should not be taken. We have asked several Ukrainian and Russian artists based in the Czech Republic to respond to these questions through artwork, text, or any other form they would see fit.

A night before the opening, we received a powerful video work and text from yourself in collaboration with the Ukrainian artists Olga Krykun and Masha Kovtun, and also a video recording of your lecture on Ukrainian decolonization. Shortly before the start of the exhibition, we also received a text from a Prague-based Russian artist Sofiia Sorokina. We have placed both texts in the room, together with your videos. After the exhibition opening, we received your request to put down your works, as you didn’t wish to come in any kind of dialogue or juxtaposition with Russian artists until the war ended. We also learned that the text of our call didn’t reach you and that you didn’t agree with presenting your works as a reaction to the presence of Russian and Moscow- or St. Petersburg-based artists in this exhibition. We understood your concerns and since then we have tried to find various solutions on how to make the room work for you and other Ukrainian artists and viewers, as well as for further visitors of this exhibition. We truly appreciate your input and felt the need to discuss and revise the issues you pointed out. Both you and Václav Magid, from whom we later added the “no to war” message to the room, called for a more decolonized and appropriate use of language when talking about the exhibited artists from the former Soviet Union (who were of course not all Russian). We have subsequently revised the exhibition texts and labels and made adjustments where we were not precise enough. You also asked to be able to react to Magid’s message, which you understood as possibly linked to the imperialistic narrative of neglecting the war. You have added the specified version “Stop Russian Invasion to Ukraine!”. Since both you and ourselves felt that this room became an unwanted and unnecessary space for further confrontation, our last proposal was to paint it all white, leaving just the Ukrainian flag in the window, which casts colored light onto the walls. We have informed you about this intention before reading your letter and proposed that you could present your lecture as a public program.

We believe the topics you are bringing forward are extremely important at this point and we did our best to have your voice present in the context of this exhibition. You have taught us to be more precise in our language and action. We were hoping to continue our discussion rather in a form of a public event, than in an exchange of open letters. We would still be happy to proceed in this way.



Tereza Jindrová, Karina Kottová, Tomáš Pospiszyl and Tomáš Glanc

curatorial team of The Worlds of Jindřich Chalupecký

The City Gallery Prague, as the co-organizer of this exhibition, supports the statement of the curators and sincerely hopes to achieve mutual understanding of our endeavors.

Magdalena Juříková,


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