Artist: Nikolay Karabinovych
Venue: PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv, Ukraine
Curator: Björn Geldhof, artistic director of the PinchukArtCentre.
Photo: Photographs provided by the PinchukArtCentre © 2021. Photographed by Maksym Bilousov.
PinchukArtCentre (Kyiv, Ukraine) presents “Vukojebina”, a solo exhibition by Nikolay Karabinovych as part of PAC UA. It is PinchukArtCentre’s programme aimed at commissioning new works by Ukrainian artists by investing in creation and providing curatorial and institutional support.
The exhibition explores the borders between humanity as a cultural definition and human defined by animalistic instincts and desires.
Vukojebina is an obscene term used in the Balkans to describe the middle of nowhere, literally translated as a place where wolves go to make love.
Nikolay Karabinovych offers couples of wild animals made of upcycled taxidermies, and combines them with George Michael’s song Careless Whisper, sounding through the exhibition space in a repetitive manner, evoking a sense of uncomfortable and nostalgic romance with its catchy saxophone solo. This seemingly straightforward installation gets more complex as one discovers a slightly hidden monumental video work, featuring found footage of a group of people trying to release a woman that got stuck in a fence when she was trying to cut her way crossing the Ukraine-EU border.
Karabinovych addresses the sense of human dignity in conjunction with an existential conflict between our need for safety and protection and our longing for freedom, exploration and expansion. Vukojebina offers a mysterious zone, between here and nowhere, with neon lights and the animal world, both touching and eerie, combining pop-culture, real life and a conceptual thought process. This show moves beyond politics and tackles the human condition in a historical, present and dystopian sense.
Nikolay Karabinovych, the artist: “I propose to review a speculative geopolitical narrative on the non-Western part of Europe that has no definite borders, but is united by a “shared level of wildness and uncanny smell of fail”. Western politicians dare to call such places “shit hole countries” or “failed states”, and at the same time, a unified pop canon that spreads paralyzing ideals dominates over local uniqueness. But even one of the most iconic pop hits by George Michael that plays in each and every dusty corner all around Vukojebina hides some sort of a secret that shares an alternative vision: the singer had Cyprus roots, and his real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.”