[updated on March 24, 2022]
Ukraine, March 8, 2022 [updated on April 8] — During a video call with the organizers and international curators of La Biennale di Venezia, the curators of the Ukrainian pavilion announced that they have resumed their work on the project and will represent Ukraine at the 59th International Art Exhibition.
Despite the ongoing war, the team managed to evacuate fragments of the artwork from Kyiv, which is being heavily shelled and plans to recreate the rest of the project in Venice.
The team expressed their strong belief that the chance to represent Ukraine at the most important art forum in the world with the work of Pavlo Makov has the power to help Ukraine gain its voice and fight Russian aggression not only in cities and villages of their country but also in culture internationally.
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, the team behind the Ukrainian Pavilion had to reunite with their families and find a safe place to shelter. All the work on the project was suspended due to safety concerns. But, less than two weeks later, the curators found a way to represent Ukraine. The team shared that they have managed to evacuate fragments of the artwork from Kyiv, which is being heavily shelled and plans to recreate the rest of the project in Venice.
"In times like this, the representation of Ukraine at the exhibition is more important than ever. When the sheer right to existence for our culture is being challenged by Russia, it is crucial to demonstrate our achievements to the world" said the Ukrainian Pavilion curators Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German and Borys Filonenko.
The pavilion of Ukraine will present the Pavlo Makov's work — Fountain of Exhaustion. The fountain is a kinetic sculpture consisting of 78 bronze funnels, mounted to a three square meter (10 feet) platform. The funnels are arranged one below the other in the form of a pyramid. The water poured into each funnel is divided into two streams, feeding the funnels below it in the pyramid. Only a few drops reach the bottom, symbolizing exhaustion on a personal and global level.
Maria Lanko, one of the curators, was able to evacuate the funnels of the fountain from Kyiv in her car the same day the Russians invaded Ukraine. Maria spent over a week traveling between cities, looking for a permanent place to stay. Due to support from the Ministry of Culture and Informational Policy of Ukraine she managed to leave Ukraine with a few members of the team who were accompanying her.
The architectural solution of the project was executed by the Kyiv architectural bureau ФОРМА (FORMA). They designed the autonomous platform that holds the funnels and pumps water to the fountain. The draft version of the platform was designed and tested in Kyiv. It was supposed to be shipped to Venice in two weeks' time when the invasion disrupted all the plans.
Since the invasion, the team has received multiple messages of support and offers to help from various institutions, organizations and individuals. In their presentation on the video conference, the curators noted that the project is possible due to the immense support of the participants of the Lithuanian Pavilion at La Biennale Arte 2022 and the Lithuanian governmental institutions as well as individual help by Paolo Falcone of Fondazione Falcone for the Arts, Francesca Pennone and Antonella Berutti of Pinksummer gallery in Genova, Petra Stelzer, Simon Rees, Astrid Vorstermans and Marco Nap.
The engineering of the platform will be outsourced to a European contractor and will be executed according to the design by the ФОРМА bureau.
The curator Borys Filonenko is finishing the catalog that will be printed in the Netherlands by Wilco Art Books. The Ukrainian version of the catalog will be printed in Lithuania.
The project will be partly funded by the Ukrainian gallery the Naked Room and generous donations of the patrons.