Brushing and marking actions

2009 - 2012

The period of 1920's when Kharkiv was a capital of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic has a big impact on view of a public space. It created the image of the city expressed in the strictness of constructivist architecture and rudeness of industrialisation. In a context of local urbanism grey color has a direct reference to that period. Today the integrity of the city systematically crashed by expansion of neoliberal modernisation. Thus the city is loosing own culture tradition and it's unique face dissolve in market requirements. In 2008 SOSka group organised series of discussions with other artists on topic of the street art in the city. One of the proposals which was practically realized afterwords was series of actions called "Grey on the grey". During actions artists went to industrial districts and brushed fences of factories like workers of municipal service who usually takes care of environment. In this context action talks about grey color as about lost subject, like it is in a red book of public space. This action doesn't really has a practical sense (brushing already grey fences with new grey paint is very absurdist gesture) but serve as a marker of places which are going to be lost.

"Grey on the grey", Mykola Ridnyi, Serhiy Popov , Ivan Svitlychnyi. 2009

Another action "Whitening" was made on the territory of the local Street-art festival organised by the City art gallery and permitted by culture department of City Council. All the murals which were made during the festival were included a logo of the sponsor (brand which produces paint) and the gallery. Quite often it was painted in the middle of the mural and woven into the mural's narrative. In collaboration with other artists we painted over one of murals located in the city center. One of the artists who did that mural before also joined our group to erase advertising from his collaboration. That became a critical gesture to methods of institutional work organised the festival but also a metaphor of a clean page which gives possibility for a new expressions.

"Whitening", Mykola Ridnyi, Alexander Kurmaz, Taras Kamennoy, Serhiy Popov. 2012

The artists spilled a red line on the ground around the Kharkiv SBU (Security service of Ukraine) office which then led to the city Zoo, and then another one from the city administration building to the circus. The lines are a critical retort aimed at organs of state power and their working principles. Using a line to make a statement gives it the visual form of a syntax, expressing its actions through the language of graffiti and street art. These acts were not political protests, but rather a meditation on political art in the urban environment. Since graffiti and street art are often a way for their creators to publicise themselves in the urban realm, or just exist as decorative forms, the ephemeral nature of the red line asks a question about how far such public actions and expressions are responsible, and what their value is. Except where they were close to official institutions, the red lines enjoyed a lifespan of about a week before disappearing with melting snow.

"Territorial pissings", Uliana Bychenkova, Alina Kleytman, Mykola Ridnyi. 2012

correspond materials (read in Russian):