Program
October 31, 2022
October 30, 2022

Finissage

1 — 6 pm
October 23 — 27, 2022

Exhibition:
"Our Apartments, Houses, Cottages, Garages, Offices and Backyards"

1 — 6 pm

In the second last exhibition at the Theater of Hopes and Expectations, the Prykarpattian Theater collective shows the results of the workshops they organized first in Kolomyia, then in Düsseldorf, and finally in Chernivtsi, Düsseldorf's partner city in Ukraine: In all three cities, they invited people to build models of apartments, houses, cottages, garages, offices, backyards, and other buildings and places to which they have a real or imagined connection. In Kolomyia, the workshop was attended mainly by Ukrainians who had fled from the heavily contested east of Ukraine to the west of the country. Due to the current events, they made a political statement in which they worked with the personal loss of their home. In Düsseldorf, the concept opened up: here, the participants also dealt with other narratives in relation to displacement and migration, as people from Syria and Georgia, but also people without direct experience of being a refugee , took part in the workshop. This shifted the focus to individual ideas of the home as a shelter and place of privacy, which in part stemmed from the imagination. The workshop in Chernivtsi, on the other hand, addressed a young audience. The students who became part of the project focused firmly on the future, not the past. At the same time, they put the interior in the foreground - while the participants in Kolomyia and Düsseldorf mainly depicted the exterior views of their houses.

The models from the workshop in Kolomyia are part of the "Wartime Archive", an initiative of the MOCA NGO.

Workshop participants:

Kolomyia:
Ania Sokolova, Anna Kuzmenko, Anton Hylko and Yevgen Kryshen, Dmytro Koronik, Kateryna Aliynyk, Maria Liukshyna, Marta Bazak, Oksana Yashchuk, Olga Malyshenko and Anton Vozniuk, Serhii and Kostiantyn Mykhailov, Svitlana Ulianova and Oleksandr Ulianov, Viktor Korchynskiy, Yurii Kruglov, Yulia, Yurii and Dominika Mykhailiuk.

Düsseldorf:
Alisa Kulesh, Alisa Shaposhnikova, Gudrun Lehmann, Lika Chkhutiashvili, Ruth Magers, Varvara Mozhaieva, Violetta Terlyha.

Chernivtsi:
Arina Bardetska, Arina Hitchenko, Kseniia Domaleha, Mariia Shalimova, Oleksandra Holdina, Albert Vardevanian, Iryna Penteliuk, Irutsa Slepeniuk, Kateryna Khuda, Yana Baryska. 

Fotos: Kurt Heuvens
October 16, 2022

Exhibition:
"Repeat After Me"
by Open Group

12 — 6 pm

A few weeks before Russia's full-scale invasion, the State Emergency Situations Service of Ukraine started distributing a several-page manual on how to behave in the area where military actions are happening. The order and type of action severely depend on whether the attack is assault rifle fire, artillery shelling, multiple rocket launcher shelling, or even aerial bombardment. To protect themselves, the people of Ukraine had to learn to determine different weapon types by sound.

The video "Repeat After Me" by Open Group, which will be on view at the Theater of Hopes and Expectations, shows civilians, who were displaced from different regions in Ukraine and now live in a camp for war refugees in Lviv. Throw the art project, they share their collective memories and expertise in the sounds of war. Reproducing various types of weapons, they conduct a kind of karaoke instruction. This instruction, as simple and bitter as it is, is unable to convey the experience that has become the price for this knowledge.

"From the moment we hear the first air raid siren, our 'internal alarm' is on alert. It keeps us in constant tension and makes us listen to every sound, every rustle. Sometimes suspicion creeps in even in silence".

Photos: Annika Bethan
Concept

With the participation of many, the "Theater of Hopes and Expectations" will be built in the Volksgarten Düsseldorf during the months of August, September and October: A temporary architecture, intentionally opened during the time of its construction, as a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are rebuilding their homes where they have been destroyed by the Russian military since the beginning of the invasion. In its form, the construction refers to neoclassical ‘Socialist’ or ‘Stalinist’ architecture, which was built during the time of Soviet Union and in a cynical twist of history becomes a target of attacks by the Russian forces in our days.

The “Theater of Hopes and Expectations” invites the population to become part of a movement of reconstruction, whether through active or ideal support of the project or participation in the program held here. During and after the finalization of the theater — which plays with thoughts around fiction and reality, staging and truth, hope and demand, intimacy and representation, faith and knowledge - various artistic actions are taking place.
 
The project is shaped by Prykarpattian Theater. Behind the name is a Ukrainian artists* collective whose five members have a common connection to Kolomyia, a town in the Pre-Carpathian Mountains of the western Ukrainian region of Ivano-Frankivsk. Their collective work reflects on the traces left by the four occupations of the region throughout history and sets them in a translocal dialogue. The collective was founded in 2022, when the invasion by the Russian army began. The collaboration between its members started six months earlier, in the course of the exhibition "Independence Day Exhibition. Claudio, Edik, Serhii, etc" in Lviv.


Thoughts Under Construction


The artistic-curatorial concept of the project manifests itself in the three terms used in the title: Theater, Hopes and Expectations. The "theater" stands for the level of culture in general. Viewed in a more differentiated way, however, the theater is also a place where social themes receive a dramaturgical revision and are therefore subject to an artistic staging that is conscious of its own form. The building of the theater embodies this phenomenon, not only with regard to the plays performed here. Rather, the theater as an institution changes the basic conditions of our communication and our actions in space. Whenever we enter a cultural institution, we adapt our reception to the environment and certainly our behavior to the codes that prevail here. The codes generate a supposed security. They are what separate performers from visitors, for example, and thus reality from fiction - normally. But isn't the acceptance of a predetermined habitus already part of a performance that goes beyond the pieces shown on stage? Let's assume that we choose to succumb to a more or less conscious desire to rebel or provoke, to precisely not conform, to stand out and disrupt. Also then we take on an old familiar role that ends up being inherent as well as essential part of a superior system. 

According to the case, we build our "theater" ourselves, what happens then regarding the institutional character of such a construction? What points shift abruptly in terms of representation and staging? Especially if the building is not only closer to the public space because its façade is more transparent and permeable, and because it is not only located in a park, but in the Volksgarten, a green space freely accessible to all, which one normally visits when one wants nothing more and nothing less than recreation. And what if this institution is not only an institution according to the old familiar theater model, but comes from a different context? For example, from the context of war. For example, from Ukraine. From a context that is not a parallel reality, but is interwoven with our everyday life and entangles us in it. Does that change anything in our perception of reality? To the comprehension of our own, personal position?

At the same time, the "Theater of Hopes and Expectations" is meant to be a place where a change of perspective can and may be practiced again and again. Everything that happens here can be seen as a performative act that, precisely because of its fictional component, aims at truth in the sense of knowledge generation and enlightenment - but also of emotionally connoted understanding beyond cold facts. In this, the project mirrors the texts of Witold Gombrowicz. The novel "Pornography" begins with a group of friends sitting together in a café in Warsaw in 1943, thinking about what they can do as artists, intellectuals, writers against the war. Then, invited to a mansion outside the city, an exciting orchestration of the country party unfolds, reflecting in many different ways on the position of artists within society, though it no longer seems to be about the war at all. Rather, this whole narrative is a complex, surrealist metaphor. The country house and the park around it become a stage: "[...] at the same time, however, the awareness that this was not true, that it was at odds with reality, made it a kind of theatrical decoration [...] so finally this house, the park, the sky and the fields became at once theater and truth." Consequently, every action serves the purpose of a certain intention of the artists directing here.

The second and third components of the title "Theater of Hopes and Expectations" add two more ideas. "Hopes" and "Expectations" are placed in the context of theater and connect to the considerations outlined above. Both elements can be used almost synonymously. At their core, they are carriers of a related meaning, which, however, has a significant difference when examined closely. While "hope" is associated with a religious-spiritual level that implies a passive waiting, the term "expectation" locates itself in a reality-based political sphere. Expectations are demanding. They follow certain plans and goals. They are concrete and suspend the moment of voluntariness. And they are directed at a counterpart with whom one is in direct contact. Whereas hopes seem to be directed to a higher power whose decisions are based on a divine goodness removed from terrestrial matters. Specifically, the title refers not so much to the song title of the pop band Muse "Starlight", but rather to the statements that were repeatedly read and heard in the German media during the Euro-Maidan protests in 2013/14: Ukrainians should have hope - in terms of building a functioning democracy and breaking away from Russian imperialism - but should not have too high expectations - to be accepted into the EU. These and similar statements, from a decidedly Western perspective, must henceforth be reflected in the course of the "Theater of Hopes and Expectations".

The "Theater of Hopes and Expectations" and the program follow the logic of process-based (re)construction. This leitmotif is also visible in the graphic design of the project, which draws on the magazine "Nova Generatsija" (New Generation) published by the Ukrainian writer and futurist Mychajlo Semenko (1982-1937) between 1927 and 1930. The magazine joined the then current trend of modernism and initiated an international exchange with other artists, writers, and architects and its members often traveled to Europe, especially Germany, at the behest of the Communist Party. At the same time, Semenko was convinced of the communist idea, and despite his positive attitude towards Moscow, he was sentenced to death on October 23, 1937 and executed the next day. The aim of the "Theater of Hopes and Expectations" is to show the complex history of Ukraine, which is also reflected in Semenko's biography, through an artistic reference and to relate it to the present. The font used in the graphic design, designed by Dmytro Rastvortsev, is taken from the DIIA app, the state document and identification app of the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation. It thus forms a point of reference to the visual present of Ukrainians.
Credits

Kunstkommission Düsseldorf

presents


a project by

Prykarpattian Theater



Theater of Hopes and Expectations




Artists

Ivan Bazak, Roman Khimei, Yarema Malashchuk, Tereza Yakovyna, Ostap Yashchuk


Curated by

Ania Kołyszko, Nikita Sereda


Head of Production

Roman Zheleznyak


Builders

Shalva Abashidze, Jamal Ashurov, Andrei Dureika, Mykola Linchuk


Assistаnt Curator

Anastasija Levchuk


Production Assistаnt

Julia Dauksza


Graphic Design

Ostap Yashchuk


Technical drawing

Olga Malyshenko


Architectural Advise

Kaspar Stöbe, Stöbe Architekten

 
Structural engineer

imagine structure GmbH


Copy editing

Ania Kołyszko, Anastasija Levchuk


Translation

Daria Anosova


The project was made possible by the generous help and support of

Bauaufsichtsamt Düsseldorf, Gartenamt Düsseldorf, Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf, Wuppertaler Bühnen, Blumen Wichmann, Bulle Bäckerei, Lunatx Special Effects GmbH, Polnisches Institut Düsseldorf, Charim Galerie, #hotelfriends Düsseldorf Downtown


We would also like to thank:

Agnieszka Skolimowska, Aleksander Gowin, Ansgar Prüwer, Atelier Planeta, Cennet Rüya Voß, Daniel Vaysberg, Dorothee Mosters, Fred Rabelo, Gabriel Sulkowski, Gil Bronner, Heike van den Valentyn, Jan Wagner, Jasmina Merz, Jonas Monka, Joshua Poschinski, Kurt Heuvens, Maksim Dutka, Mara Sporn, Marcelo Busse, Max Sänger, Minna Wündrich, Monika Kumiega, Natalia Liersam, Nicolas Grosch, Novruz Hikmet, Peter Cremer, Rita Kersting, Roman Zheleznyak, Simon Liersam, Stefan Preuß, Valera Brykalin, Yulia Krivic, Zuza Golinska



Information
Volksgarten
40227 Düsseldorf

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A project of

With the generous support of




https://imagine-structure.de/