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"Garden of Sorrow"

by Kateryna Lysovenko

On February 24 I left my apartment on the street named after Mykola Murashko, a Kyiv artist who was shot by the Bolsheviks in 1909. Murashko is one of my favorite artists who also founded the academy where I studied. At the academy I daily passed a plaque showing dozens of repressed victims of Soviet camps together with murdered female and male artists. In one of the workshops of the academy, a half-destroyed mural of the Boychukists is now barely visible, as are references to the flourishing of avant-garde Ukrainian art in 1910-1920.

Recently, before the  current war, I saw a fragment of the monumental relief "Wall of Memory" by A. Rybachuk and V. Melnychenko, which was filled with concrete in the 1980s by the decision of the censors. I looked and cried and was very happy to see this fragment and I was inspired to see all of the work.  Because of the present war situation I do not know when  they will be able to continue with the release of the "Wall of Memory" from the concrete censorship.

Many things and people in Ukrainian culture remains only as name plates in a cemetery as people's work was destroyed as they were killed. A lot of time passes before realisation that it is a loss and not an absence.

As time passes and new phenomenas sprout from the cracks between the lost and the surviving people feel the empty places in their souls. Before the war we thought  that much of everything important was not described and there were not enough hands  to save it, and what was not portrayed was therefore in danger of being forgotten, and now, as in the 1930s and1940s, the war wants to destroy it. Cultural institutions began to reproduce the spouts of hope with a new school, new kindergartens which are now under threat and some have already been destroyed.

How to understand it. Closed, destroyed universities, hospitals, kindergartens, schools, museums, shops, enterprises, factories, millions of people who left their homes, hundreds of thousands deported, thousands killed.

I don't want everything to be destroyed again, I don't want what was destroyed to be forgotten. I want the garden country to continue to grow. It was not the first time they came to destroy it. I don't want to forget anything. I am now a moving graveyard. This is my way of preserving what is destroyed around me and in me.

The cemetery is a place of memories. A new life sprouts there, and the common garden in the cemetery is structured by different memories. At the academy, we studied realistic painting which is a legacy from Soviet times. The academy has a lot of paintings about the exploits, heroes and suffering of the Second World War.

It was strange to me to see how the suffering from the plots was realised by the Russian occupiers who mythologized the Second World War to such an extent that they created a new fascist monster from its distorted remains. My first reaction was to return subjectivity to Ukraine in the fight against fascism of the 20th century (Russia appropriated the joint victory) as well as the 21st century. I also turned to my own works with the theme of Utopia. For a long time I did not consider Utopia as something I could work with because I am very familiar with how art can be a tool to devalue the living for the sake of Utopia as was the case in Soviet easel and monumental art.

But after reading R. Barth's definition of Utopia not as totality and as a result, the absence of politics, but as diversity that multiplies itself, I stopped being afraid to work with Utopia and represent my Utopian vision like a small garden in a big common garden. So, in my cemetery garden, I do a Utopian act of resurrection, an act of disagreement with another reproduction of nameless graves, violence, murders. I don't agree with that. The world is still impossible without war, but I do not agree with this.

"Garden of Sorrow" 

Kateryna Lysovenko

Iwona Nowak

Art curator


6 Quarry Cottages

[email protected]

Tel: +44 07590386163

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© 2021 by The Blob Studio


PPFF is financed by:

Kateryna Lysovenko

Kateryna Lysovenko is an artist. Her media are monumental painting, painting, drawing and text. Kateryna is engaged in the study of the relationship between ideology and painting, the production of the image of the victim in politics and art, from antiquity to the present day. Lysovenko looks at painting as a language that can be instrumentalized or liberated. Living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine. 



Grekov Art School, Painting department (Odessa, Ukraine, 2014); Kyiv Academy of Media Art, Contemporary art course (Kyiv, Ukraine, 2018); National Academy of Fine arts and Architecture, Monumental painting department (Kyiv, Ukraine, 2019). Salzburg Summer Academy, learned from Margozlata Mirga-Tas, 2022.


Selected group exhibitions:

"Educational acts", curators Alona Mamay, Valeria Zubatenko, Sklo art space, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2018; Exhibition of KAMA graduates, Educatorium, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2018; Summer School of Architecture, Soshenko 33, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2018; Participated in "Nebaiduzhi" with the project "Zherebkovo", 2018, Kyiv; Participation in Сreating Ruin, Method Fund, 2019; Participation in the residence in Artsvit, curator Natasha Chichasova, manager Vita Popova, 2020, Dnipro; Participation in the Method Fund course "Positions of the artist", curators of the course — Lada Nakonechnaya, Katya Badyanova, 2020; Action and participation in the collective exhibition "Garden of the Gods", curator Nikita Kadan, 2021; Exhibition "Transcending boundaries", curator Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Voloshyn Gallery (Kyiv, Ukraine) and the Mexican gallery of contemporary art Tiro al Blanco (Guadalajara, Mexico), 2022. "Gehen", curator Katrin Bucher, Auswanderermuseum, Güssing 2022. " Ein  Krieg in der Ferne" in Festival Steirischer Herbst, curators: Ekaterina Degot, Mirela Baciak, Devid Riff, Neue Galerie (Graz, Austria), 2022

" A bit of unruly complexity", curator Misal Adnan, Sanatorium( Istanbul, Turkey)2022


Personal exhibitions:

"Summer practice" in the gallery "Night", curator Sasha Kadzevich ,Odessa, Ukraine, 2018; Participation in the project "Introspection" in the Voloshin gallery, curator Ksenia Malykh, 2020, Kyiv; Garden in the Museum of Totalitarian Regimes "Territory of Terror", Lviv, curators — Olga Mukha, Olga Gonchar, 2021;

"Garden of Sorrow" in Galeria BWA, Zielona Góra, curator - Wojciech Kozłowski, 2022;

"Cemetery Garden" in Galeria Arsenał, Białystok, curator- Eliza Urwanowicz- Rojecka, 2022. 

"Shameless Earth does not remain dead for too long." сurator Katrin Bucher, Graz, 2022. "Something for everyone" in Catinca Tabacaru gallery, curator- Lesia Kulchicka, Bucharest, Romania, 2022.

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