Voloshyn Gallery participates in the Untitled Art 2023 fair with a project featuring the Ukrainian artist Lesia Khomenko and the Polish artist Karol Radziszewski.
In the dialogue between these two Eastern European artists, a complex and multifaceted concept of identity is revealed. The exploration of the evolution of human experience in the context of a rapidly changing world becomes a powerful means of expressing and challenging notions of identity in art. The artists consider this concept through both personal and collective lenses, forming a symbiosis and inseparability. In this context, any personal experience contributes to shaping collective consciousness through shared values and cultural narratives. At the same time, collective identity provides a structure in which individuals construct their self-awareness.
Lesia Khomenko's series of self-portraits, "Nomadic Self-Portrait With Rolled Canvas," engage with the representation, rupture, and reevaluation of the experience of evacuation and subsequent migration caused by the war in her homeland. In her works, Khomenko explores and reflects on the dynamism and permanent change of identity. As an artist in exile, Lesia must constantly move with her artworks. The rolled canvas has become the primary artistic object in the war for the author herself.
In this series of self-portraits, the artist depicts herself as a nomad, her image defined not by a stable contour but by an unpredictable interaction with the surrounding environment. The self-portraits are created using acrylic on Lycra, resulting in a unique effect of dynamism and variability. The material allows Lesia Khomenko to stretch and change the image of her own body, reflecting the state of nomadism and enabling her to view herself with self-irony.
By creating this new series of self-portraits, Lesia Khomenko continues her work on deconstructing figurative narratives in images and transforms her paintings into objects. Khomenko uses lycra, a special material that allows the deformation of the image during stretching. She transforms the canvas assembly into a creative process, distorting the depicted figures. Her approach to painting involves two parallel strategies: interpreting painting as an object and as a figurative image. Through her technique, she creates complex critical statements, establishing a unique artistic identity.
The exploration of collective identity unfolds in the project "Antoine de Paris" by the Polish interdisciplinary artist Karol Radziszewski, where he continues to delve into the theme of the queer history of Eastern Europe. This project is devoted to Antoine de Paris (Antoni Cierplikowski, 1884-1976), a Polish hairdresser who achieved worldwide fame as the first celebrity hairdresser when he opened the Antoine de Paris salon in Paris and became known as Monsieur Antoine.
A migrant from the Polish town of Sieradz not only built a brilliant career as a hairdresser, but also made an invaluable contribution to the revolution in customs unfolding at the time, significantly influencing contemporary reality. It was he who created the "á la garconne" hairstyle, and it was his eccentric behavior, masquerades, and open homosexuality that challenged social standards. Antoine's activities not only laid the foundations of modern hairdressing art but also contributed to the formation of the enduring visual identity of many famous actresses and public figures, through the use of unmatched styles and hairstyles. However, in this beautiful success story of an individual reshaping the reality around them, there was one "but." If Antoni Cierplikowski were an American, he probably would have long been a Hollywood hero. But in the Eastern European corner of the world, in his native Poland, views on "eccentricity" still remain a subject of development and endless discussions.
Portraying individual iconic and well-known queer personalities, Karol Radziszewski overlays personal experience and identity onto the collective, either reinforcing or breaking the rigid frames of a heteronormative perspective on history.
About Lesia Khomenko
Lesia Khomenko (b. 1980, Kyiv, Ukraine) is a member of R.E.P. group (Revolutionary Experimental Space), and a co-founder of a curatorial union HUDRADA, a self-educational community based on interdisciplinary cooperation. Khomenko showed thrice in the PinchukArtCentre Prize (2009, 2011, 2013), the nationwide contemporary art prize for young Ukrainian artists. Her work forms part of collections both public and private, including M HKA (BEL), Ludwig Museum, (HU), Art Collection Telecom (DE), Ukrainian Museum of America (US) and Albertinum (DE). Recent solo exhibitions include:
Image and Presence, Ukrainian Museum of America, NYC (US), Full Scale, Fridman Gallery, NYC (US). Recent group exhibitions include: This is Ukraine: Defending Freedom, the Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition the Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy; Imagine Ukraine at The European Parliament (BE); What is Depicted Here? at Museum Folkwang (DE); Women at War at Fridman Gallery, NYC (US); Worth Fighting For at Art Cologne (DE). Khomenko’s works have been covered and reviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Art Newspaper, Brooklyn Rail and Frieze, among others. Lives in New York.
About Karol Radziszewski
Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980, Poland) works with film, photography, painting, installations and creates interdisciplinary projects. His archive-based methodology, crosses multiple cultural, historical, religious, social and gender references. Since 2005 he is publisher and editor-in-chief of DIK Fagazine, and has founded the Queer Archives Institute in 2015.
His work has been presented in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; New Museum, New York; VideoBrasil, Sao Paulo; Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana; Wroclaw Contemporary Museum and Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. He has participated in several international biennales including PERFORMA 13, New York; 7th Göteborg Biennial; 4th Prague Biennial and 15th WRO Media Art Biennale.
His films have been screened at the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw (2014, 2012); Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Warsaw (2019, 2013); BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (2014) and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2011); among others.
In 2021, The Power of Secrets book dedicated to Radziszewski’s archival practice was published by Sternberg Press.
About Voloshyn Gallery
Established in October 2016 by Max and Julia Voloshyn, Voloshyn Gallery specializes in contemporary art. It exhibits a broad range of works in a variety of media, hosting solo and group exhibitions and taking part in leading contemporary art fairs. Over the last two years, the gallery has participated in The Armory Show, Liste Basel, ARCOmadrid, Art Brussels, Art Cologne, Enter Art Fair, viennacontemporary, Dallas Art Fair, NADA Miami, Untitled Art, Art Athina, EXPO Chicago, and more. Voloshyn Gallery is a member of the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA). In 2023, Voloshyn Gallery opened its new space in Miami, FL, US.