Sergiy Petlyuk. INDEX
16 December 2021 —
30 January 2022

selected works


Voloshyn Gallery presents a personal project by Sergiy Petlyuk entitled Index. Curator of the show – Oksana Karpovets. The exposition consists of a total multimedia installation that will premiere at Voloshyn Gallery.

In 2019, Open Group, preparing for the Venice Biennale, took a brave but utopian step - tried to compile a list of all «living Ukrainian artists». Everyone who considered themselves a part of the contemporary Ukrainian art scene could join this list without a preselection. 

According to the press release and e-mails received, those who filled out the open questionnaire learned that: «officially you are an artist of the 58th Venice Biennale» and «during the project, a hard drive with data of all project participants will be donated to a non-existent State Museum of Contemporary Art of Ukraine, and in fact will launch its collection». By this act, 1,143 individuals, on the one hand, desecrated the status of a participant in the Venice Biennale, and, on the other hand, actually legitimized their role on the national artistic scene.

Sergiy Petlyuk takes this open list as a basis in his new work, raising the question: who is the Ukrainian artist in local and global discourses, what is his/her visibility, what kind of art market (if any) exists in Ukraine, and what role the local art institutions play in all of that.

A creeping line with the above-mentioned list of Ukrainian artists encircles and captures the gallery space. Each name is followed by numbers resembling the indexes of brokerage exchanges, but unlike the latter, these numbers bear no meaning – it is just an imitation, an arbitrary set of numbers that the program randomly illuminates.

Symbolically, the premiere of this project takes place at Voloshyn Gallery, almost the only Ukrainian art institution that promotes and exhibits local artists abroad.

Sergiy Petlyuk was born in 1981 y.b., media artist, lives and works in Lviv (UA). Sergiy Petlyuk employs various artistic media but mainly the moving image in conjunction with sculptural installations to create immersive spaces where the key element is often the viewer herself.  Videos, projections, sound, and kinetic elements, in combination with carefully conceived architectural structures, are to yield highly charged total environments engaging and operating upon the beholder’s body, senses, and mind. Through these settings, where the participation designed as a strange, even alienating encounter, the artist explores issues of control, aggression, violence, otherness, and fear stemmed from the constant tension between self and society in the context of post-soviet Ukraine, with its social norms, stereotypes, nationalism, political upheavals, and continuous search for cultural identity. The goal is to communicate overly familiar but often inconspicuous and repressed feelings and memories, making them visible and inescapable for the viewer in the unusual artistic settings.  As the artist addresses the most fragile and vulnerable layers of individual and social consciousness, the naked human body often becomes his primary material, with its natural tenderness contrasted to the cold social rationality. In other words, Petlyuk’s work is a multilayered and continuous investigation of the contact between body sensitivity and various flows of life, such as imagination, memory, information, mediatization, social order, and cohabitation.