Not a dream: Non-profit exhibition at the ArtEast Gallery Berlin Kyiv, supported by Peace for Art foundation

20 October - 8 December 2022
"Not a Dream" is an exhibition devoted to the most recent works of two outstanding visual artists, Vlada Ralko and Volodymyr Budnikov, and their experience of the first months of total war in their country. The scenography specially imagined by Aurélie Maestre offers a raw encounter with the works and a direct confrontation with the reality they depict. This exhibition is a non-commercial event, supported by the Peace for Art Foundation and hosted by the ArtEast Gallery.

The series "Diary of Lviv" by Vlada Ralko and "Time of War" by Volodymyr Budnikov were created in 2022, first in Lviv where the artists took refuge at the beginning of the conflict and then in exile in Berlin. Created in a moment of crisis, the graphic works convey a sense of brutality and distress. The repetitive use of quick strokes sets the tone for the series. They are as much part of the drawing as they are a flaw, a crack, an erasure. From the accumulation of these sharp and tight lines, forms appear like visions.
These visions take the shape of mutating beings, acts of cannibalization, struggling bodies. They depict a humanity grappling with its own fears of past and present. Yet these nightmares, carried by abstraction in Budnikov’s works and by phantasmagoria in Ralko’s, appear to be real. Physical elements such as skeletons, genitals, or muscles give the images a deep and intimate bodily presence, which chills the viewer’s blood. Finally, the numerous references to history and ideologies of the 20th century further anchor the drawings in a painful and deadly reality.

Volodymyr Budnikov is a prominent abstract artist in Ukraine. He was born in 1947 and graduated from the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture of Kyiv, where he started teaching in 1999. Since 1975, he has been a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. Many museums in Ukraine present his works as well as public and private collections in Austria, Germany, Japan, France, the USA and the Balkan countries.
Vlada Ralko is one of the most famous artists of the expressionist movement of Ukrainian contemporary art scene. She was born in 1969 and studied visual arts at the School of Fine Arts named after Taras Shevchenko in Kyiv and at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture of Kyiv, where she attended Volodymyr Budnikov’s lectures. She has been a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1994. Her artworks are part of numerous museums and private collections.

One can perceive the strong artistic bond that unites them through their shared inspirations and concerns, but their works reflect the absolutely unique artistic identity of each of the two artists. Their works are a reaction to the events of their time and a way to resist through art, deeply inspired by the uprisings and conflicts that have marked Ukraine over the past decades. Vlada Ralko’s visual series Diary of Kiev (2013-2015) traces events from the Euromaidan in 2013 until the first Russian attack in Crimea. From April 2022 on, Budnikov was exhibited in Piazza Ucraina as part of the 58th Venice Biennale. In February 2022, Budnikov and Ralko left Kyiv for Lviv in Western Ukraine, where they started the two series presented today.

Exhibition from October 20 to December 8.
Opening on October 20 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.