Something seems to happen when people perform certain solemn or, to the contrary, necessary repetitive quotidian actions: something that fills these activities with discrete meanings. The act of ascribing meaning to actions, when an individual believes to have overcome the immanence of the utilitarian quotidian, or has indeed overcome it, can be either instinctive or conscious. In my opinion, in these cases humanity appears as either its lookalike, or, to the contrary, comes forcefully to the surface.
Vlada Ralko, The Phantom of Liberty
Voloshyn Gallery is thrilled to present Vlada Ralko’s solo show, entitled Wedding. Her series Festivities is the centerpiece of the exposition.
In a way, the works comprising the Festivities series seem to continue one another, arranging into a semblance of a wedding procession. Three small works on paper from the series Inventory (2017) were the first variation on the theme. They depict a figure peeking out of the sunroof of a large SUV festively decorated for a wedding. The human figure seems to merge with the festive car in some semblance of a centaur. Ralko resumed her work on the theme almost a year later. The new works are based on several years’ observations of Kaniv weddings that appear to merge into one due to striking similarities between repeated actions. The artist transforms elements of traditional wedding rituals into generalized attributes of ritualized celebrations evocative of the classical imagery of ceremonial Roman processions or bacchanals.
This way an SUV decorated for a wedding (a stand-in for Roman ceremonial chariots in Ralko’s wedding scenes) is startlingly similar to a hearse, another standard unit commensurate with the dimensions of a human body. Therefore, all attempts to standardize human bodies, actions or relations accomplish the opposite: a car decorated for the solemn occasion, designed to fit a human body, reminds us of death. Classical wedding compositions decorating the car’s hood symbolize sacrifices and expenditures on the wedding potlatch, but they remind the viewer of “still lives” in a butcher’s shop.
Vlada Ralko was born in 1969 in Kyiv. She graduated from the T.H. Shevchenko Republican Art School in 1987, and from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (the workshop of Professor V. Shatalin) in 1994. She was awarded the Ukrainian Triennale of Painting prize in 2001, and a scholarship of CCN Graz in 2007. A member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1994, she is widely exhibited in Ukraine and abroad. Ralko’s works have been exhibited at Lincoln Center (New York, USA), the Rebell Minds Gallery (Berlin, Germany), at Künstlerhaus (Vienna, Austria), Saatchi Gallery (London), and more. Voloshyn Gallery presented Ralko’s works at Scope Miami Beach (2017) and at Dallas Art Fair (2019). She lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Founded in October 2016 by Max and Julia Voloshyn, Voloshyn Gallery specializes in contemporary art. It showcases a broad range of media in contemporary art, hosting solo and group exhibitions.
Voloshyn Gallery fosters the integration of Ukrainian art into global cultural processes, representing its artists at international art fairs and shows in Europe and the US. Voloshyn Gallery aims to discover exceptional talent, with particular focus on emerging and mid-career artists.
Its cutting-edge exhibition space is located in Kyiv’s cultural and historical center, on Tereshchenkivska Street, in a historic 1913 building formerly owned by a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist N.A. Tereshchenko. The collector and philanthropist Bohdan Khanenko bought the building for his wife Varvara, renovating it as a revenue house. Its second floor was envisioned as an exhibition and storage space for Khanenko’s expanding museum of fine arts.
Maksym and Julia Voloshyn have been active in the art business since 2006. Their first gallery, Mystetska Zbirka Art Gallery, specialized in classical and post-war 20th century Ukrainian art. In 2015, the Voloshyns made it to the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
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