The Sky Is Getting Closer

Piotr Armianovski, Anton Belinskiy, Oleksandr Burlaka, fantastic little splash, Yaroslav Futymsky, Ksenia Hnylytska, Alevtina Kakhidze, Nikolay Karabinovych, Dana Kavelina, Oksana Kazmina, Luci, Yarema Malashchuk & Roman Khimei, Lyudska Podoba, Oleksiy Radynski, Daniil Revkovskiy & Andriy Rachinskiy, and Anna Zvyagintseva

Curated by Martha Kirszenbaum in collaboration with Oleksandra Pogrebnyak and Daria Shevtsova, junior curators at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv

Special programme
Talk with the curators
Wed, 15 June, 2 pm
Inside the film programme circle at Liste Art Fair Basel
The talk is held in English
Free admission

In light of the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Martha Kirszenbaum, together with Oleksandra Pogrebnyak and Daria Shevtsova, has conceived an original film programme for Liste, titled "The Sky Is Getting Closer" after a verse by Ukrainian poet Dmytro Lazutkin.

It brings together 19 moving-image works by a younger generation of Ukrainian artists, providing a platform for and offering a voice to a group of creators tragically impacted by the current situation in their home country. Comprising artists’ films, movie trailers, music videos and a fashion runway show, "The Sky Is Getting Closer" reflects on an array of artistic practices related to the moving image, particularly those influenced by globalised culture and the ubiquitous dominance of digital technologies. It interrogates the legacy of the medium of film and how it can respond to the immediate present, particularly in times of urgency and displacement.

Among the selected works, some convey concepts of activism and national resistance, explicitly addressing political and social issues that resonate with the extreme violence of the Russian aggression. Others provide a collective and memorial reflection on heritage and community, putting in perspective the notions of the lost homeland and a changing historical landscape. Some films address ecological issues, such as climate change, pollution and the destruction of biodiversity, and imagine archaeologies of the future. Further works specifically tackle the representation of intimacy and the self, as they reflect upon transgenerational feminism and gender issues. The final works examine the notion of youth through popular culture and the relevance of the Ukrainian underground, demonstrating the liveness of the country’s art, music and clubbing scenes, and breaking the hierarchies between what is commonly defined as “high” and “low” cultures. 
As a whole, the programme attempts to map and document the Ukrainian cultural and art scenes in the eve of the war, paying attention to various practices and aesthetics while unveiling a diversity of viewpoints and personal engagements.

The installation, situated in the central piazza of Liste Art Fair Basel, is divided between five screens, each looping works in connection to a theme. 1) war, political activism and resistance; 2) collective memory, heritage and community; 3) youth, underground and popular culture; 4) intimacy, feminism and gender issues; 5) ecology and environmnent.

Yaroslav Futymsky, Flag is burning, 2019. courtesy of the artist
Yaroslav Futymsky, Flag is burning, 2019. courtesy of the artist
Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Khimey, Dedicated to the Youth of the World II, 2019. courtesy of the artist
Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Khimey, Dedicated to the Youth of the World II, 2019. courtesy of the artist
Oleksiy Radynski, Circulation, 2020. courtesy of the artist
Oleksiy Radynski, Circulation, 2020. courtesy of the artist

Martha Kirszenbaum is an independent curator and writer based in Paris and Los Angeles. Kirszenbaum was the curator of the French Pavilion of the 58th Venice Biennale, represented by Laure Prouvost. Previously, she was the founding director and curator of Fahrenheit in Los Angeles. She has held positions at various prestigious institutions, has contributed to numerous publications and taught seminars internationally.

Oleksandra Pogrebnyak is a junior curator at PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv. In 2021, she was working on the Future Generation Art Prize exhibition. In 2020, she co-curated “Landscape as a Monument”, an international programme focused on the revision of cultural landscapes, environmental history, human/nature dichotomy. Together with Dmytro Chepurnyi and Kateryna Iakovlenko, she co-edited the Curatorial Handbook dedicated to the last decade of curatorial projects in Ukraine through interviews with art professionals.

Daria Shevtsova is a junior curator at PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv. In 2021, she was working on the Future Generation Art Prize exhibition. Since 2020 she has been collaborating with FORMA architectural studio. She was the curator of the exhibition and educational programs at Closer Art Center in Kyiv, and a co-curator of the visual program at Brave! Factory Festival. She was a researcher at the Research Platform of PinchukArtCentre and a participant of its second Curatorial Platform.

"The Sky Is Getting Closer" is made possible with the generous support of the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger I KBH.G, the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv and Samsung.