Superhero

27 September - 14 October the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine will be showing provocative exhibition Superhero. Participants are contemporary artists from USA and Ukraine:

Mel Ramos, Victor Sydorenko and Valentin Popov.

Superhero assembles works by these celebrated artists in an examination of the perennial popularity of iconic superhuman comic book characters. By exploring the moral significance of the modern hero archetype, Superhero's artists reveal the origins and historical context of these special beings as well as their symbiotic relationship with humanity.

Superhero has been organized by a collaboration of the Modernism Gallery in San Francisco, California, the Modern Art Research Institute of Ukraine, and the Artcult Foundation.

Superhero will feature for the first time in Kiev the works of the legendary master of Pop Art Mel Ramos. Critics and historians regard the American artist as one of the most influential figures of the Pop Art movement, along with Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claus Oldenburg and James Rosenquist. Ramo;s pictorial subjects are superstars with perfect appearance and irreproachable bodies. The artist demonstrates how appeal to erotic images combined with popular commercial brands may redirect the desire for pleasure and possession onto consumer goods.

Victor Sydorenko, one of the leaders of modern Ukrainian art, has participated in numerous projects abroad alongside colleagues such as Yoko Ono, Jan Huan and other world famous artists. Sydorenko's superhero paradigm suggests a prisoner of Plato's cave who dreams of an unattainable dimension of unlimited possibilities. Such variants of the superhuman concept as visualized by Sydorenko and Ramos express the desire in each of us to adapt to current reality and harmonize with it.

Ukrainian by birth, Valentin Popov is an example of an artist who has independently achieved recognition and success in the USA. Popov's art reflects the conundrum of personal identity, which fluctuates in accordance with the "image - creation" vocabulary of different cultures. By means of an experimental process of mixing, matching, comparing and contrasting, the artist leads the viewer to unexpected conclusions while attaching new values to heroes, religious images, symbols, myths and stories.

Exclusively for Superhero, XXWHYISM space will develop, in conjunction with participating artists, a limited line of T-shirts to be exclusively presented at XXWHYISM.

"What do Batman and Lenin have in common?" According to Superhero curator Natalia Shpitkovskaya, not much, superficially. But if an astute analyst is willing to dig below the surface, many parallels between West and East rapidly emerge. While the West opposed the East's suppression of freedom of personal initiative and the East, in its turn, exerted total control and demanded sacrifices to society as the price of equality, the ideological differences between two great political-economic systems were not altogether mutually exclusive. Both civilizations embody people's confidence in the dream of social justice. "Superhero cultivates a conscious attitude towards the phenomenon of glorification," Shpitkovskaya points out. American curator and art-critic Rick Gilbert explains that "By creating a mythical image, the super-human, half-god character is assumed by many politicians embodying absolute power. On the other hand, in the West, the desire to "be a hero" encourages conspicuous consumption and thoughtless imitation of artificial TV and virtual characters. Modern man is unhappy in the pursuit of an ideal, revealing personal limits and imperfections."

Martin Muller, director of San Francisco's Modernism Gallery, notes: "We proposed for the exhibition two artists - Mel Ramos and Valentin Popov. Together with Victor Sydorenko the project takes on a 'three vector' dimension, allowing viewers to witness the emergence of a universal, multicultural heroic figure".

"What stands behind the popular culture? The exhibition brings 3 celebrated artists across cultures exploring the influence of how the popular imagery from mass media is influencing our every day life. The visitors of the exhibition will find themselves in an a mise en scène where they can imagine themselves super heroes and are made aware of how much our consciousness is manipulated by the popular culture",-Liliya Tippetts, art-director of the project.

"We introduce exhibition prepared by the multinational team. The results of our work will be presented at the opening and in the catalogue. We believe the project will become a subject for numerous discussions and arguments, which are equally important for us" – Alla Sheremetieva, co-founder of Artcult foundation.

The opening will take place on September 26, 18-00. The exhibition will run until October 14, 2016.

Address: The National Academy of Arts of Ukraine (20 Bulvarno-Kudryavskaya str.) Press accreditation: mostovaya.ann@gmail.com, 0939939334

Organizers of the project: Partners:
The National Academy of Arts of Ukraine
Modern Art Research Institute
Artcult foundation
Modernism Gallery
Sigma Trade
Blackshield Capital
Microsoft
ArteLia Consultancy
Publishing partner: Arthuss

www.artcult.org.ua/eg/project/38