"An Empty Pedestal" is a metaphorical explanation of the current situation in Ukraine during the post-Maidan period. The process of decommunization [as a farewell to the past] and the ongoing struggle to form the basis of national identity [as an attempt to pursue the future] lead to a discussion of public values and the rethinking of the canon of Ukrainian history.
Famous figures of the past, which have long ago lost trust, were overthrown. New heroes are not yet established. People create improvised monuments of the Revolution of Dignity, decorate decommunized granite pedestals in national ornaments and do not wait for a formal decision of the state like attaching the head of national poet Taras Shevchenko to the Lenin's monument, the leader of the communists, – which way this time will be chosen by Ukraine. The situation with the "empty pedestal" provides an opportunity for the broadest possible search for the heroes of new times. Who could become a hero? Defender of the country? A volunteer who defends the defender? Startuper? Change agent? A representative of modern Ukrainian culture, which finally comes from the ghetto, where culture has been over the years of independence? Is this a figure that combines the features and actions of all these heroes? And, in the end, the main question arises: is it necessarily to put new heroes on old pedestals and follow the footsteps of the old ideologies?
The exhibition project "See Ukraine: An Empty Pedestal", created in dialogue with the documentary vision of the filmmakers, offers the audience to look at the Ukrainian reality reproduced in the language of contemporary art. The exposition features Ukrainian artists such as Kostiantyn Zorkin, Yevhen Nikiforov, Oleksandr Navrotskyi, Yulia Chervinska, Ihor Chekachkov, Valeriy Miloserdov, Maria Plotnikova, Serhiy Radkevych. The exhibition will also include a selection of archival photos by the amateur photographer from Eastern Ukraine, Marko Zalizniak (1893 – 1982), which becomes especially relevant in the current circumstances.