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End of the World 2012 has finished in Kyiv

After the end of the world, there was the first contemporary art biennale in Kyiv (24.05.2012 – 31.07.2012). In turn, it ended and has left the impressions no less than Euro 2012.

The apocalyptism of the event is related to its name and main theme: 'The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art'. So, how has the world ended on ARSENALE and did it end at all?

The world?

The event was of really large scale, as it has influenced virtually all Kyiv contemporary art sphere. Visitors of the biennale could see installations not only in ‘Mystetsky Arsenal’, the unique exhibition platform, and this year by such art stars as Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Phyllida Barlow, and Ai Weiwei. They could have seen the city’s botanical garden temporal reincarnation into the local Park Güell as a result of collaboration between Kyiv Sculpture Project and Yorkshire Park (02.06.12 – 02.07.12). The National Art Museum, Modern Art Research Institute and over 30 other locations in Kyiv and other cities worked in collaboration with the team of biennale. Zygmunt Bauman, a prominent social studies scholar, has given a lecture and took part in the discussion of the world doomed to end this summer.

The end?

A postmodern trend, apocalypse comes here and there all over Ukraine (not mentioning numerous examples from the world art scene). ISOLATION art residence in Donetsk (12.07-25.08) with its redesigning of urban space and the festival CATASTROPHE in Odesa (24.08 – 05.09) with a couple of really post-apocalyptic art works add to the fiddling while Rome burns. Ironically, the first time Kyiv appeared in a computer game (titled ‘Collapse: the Rage’, 2008), the cityscape was in debris, totally destroyed by game artists. After all, every victim of the catastrophe wonders: ‘Why now?’ and ‘Why here?’. Natalia Zabolotna, the commissioner of the biennale, has her answer: after 20 years of independence, Ukraine has its own generation of artists and will to participate in world art process. Together with Europe’s attention to the country related to EURO 2012, it was a good rise from ruins for active contemporary art movement in Ukraine.

The world ended, what’s next?

The team promises next biennale in September, 2014. Meanwhile, those who are interested in contemporary art are looking in the distorted mirrors by Anish Kapoor, considered one of the best modern sculpturers, in PinchukArtCentre (the exhibition ends 30.09). Kyiv is also waiting for ArtKyivContemporary, the largest Ukrainian contemporary art fair (01.11.12 – 11.11.12).