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I’M NOT HERE TO BE STRONGER THAN YOU

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2

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Date: 
Wednesday, 3 May 2023 to Thursday, 1 June 2023
Opening: 
Wednesday, 3 May 2023 - 12:00pm

The first major presentation of works by Ukrainian artists Alyona Tokovenko and AntiGonna in the UK. In the exhibition, autobiographical narratives are manifested through the acts of (auto)eroticism, transgression and pornographic imagery incorporating painting, sculpture, installation, video, and viscerally embodied live art. Hurt and injured bodies are presented in the gallery space through moving images and morphing canvases. Pain as visual language, and a key theme of the artists’ works, addresses the politics of the current moment. 

Alyona Tokovenko and AntiGonna are bright representatives of a new generation of Ukrainian women artists working with transgressive practices, radical intimacy, and personal traumatic memories. The artistic thinking of both artists develops through the media of live and fine art, keeping them deeply interconnected and letting painting become a part of their performative action. Taking up autobiographical fragments from their personal histories, Tokovenko and AntiGonna delve into a dialogue on their methods of breaking oppressive power streams. The title of the exhibition quotes Belgian poet and artist of Ukrainian origin Sophie Podolski from her major oeuvre ‘Le pays où tout est permis’ (1972). Radically denying hierarchies, this phrase resonates deeply with the whirlpool of identitarian cliches the artists’ and curator’s explored during the ongoing war in Ukraine and their immigrant statuses, proposing a poetic response to current challenges of hierarchical power, displacement, limits of strength, instant demand for competition and self-explanation. 

The exhibition gathers together the most recent large-scale acrylic paintings by Alyona Tokovenko, made during the artist’s residencies since Alyona’s displacement to Europe in April 2022. At the heart of the show is a body of moving image works produced by AntiGonna in Kyiv, while also in exile, reflecting her traumatic witnessing of the horrors of war. Highlights include AntiGonna’s and Alyona Tokovenko’s collaborative performance piece presented at the Mimosa House space during  the first weekend of the show, as well as the public programme running in parallel under the auspices of the Perverting the Power Vertical event platform based at the UCL FRINGE Centre for Cultural Complexity.

The exhibition is curated by Daša Anosova and Alexandra Tryanova - Ukrainian researchers of Ukrainian art and culture and recent immigrants to the EU and the UK. They consider the show being a collaborative project of all four participants. 

Presented at Mimosa House, the exhibition and the public programme are supported by the University College London FRINGE Centre for Cultural Complexity.

Artist ( Description ): 

Alyona Tokovenko

Alyona is an artist from Odesa, who works with painting, drawing, and installation.
She currently works at the artists’ residency Cité Internationale Des Arts, and studies fine art at École des Beaux-arts in Paris.

Alyona works across various media experimenting with painting and combining it with three-dimensional forms, such as sculpture, installation, and clothing. She also works with video, performance, drawing, collage, and costume. Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and her consequent displacement to Europe, she has participated in ‘Playground’ residency, Munich; Zaraz residency, Czech Republic, exhibiting her works in Galerie Ladislava Sutnara (Plzeń); Künstlerhouse Bethanien, Berlin; Cité Internationale des Arts, and La Galerie Rouge, Paris.

Alyona primarily works with the issues related to fetishes, trauma, consciousness, and memory.

AntiGonna

An independent filmmaker, porn artist and trash model. Researches fear, violence, death and sexuality expressed by narrative post-porn and body-horror moving images; works in experimental documentary combined with a music video, live art, photography and VR. Her project 'Kyiv porno-horrors’ was nominated for PinchukArtPrice in 2020. Participant in the International Film Festival programs and exhibitions: 56th edition of Tampere film festival (2023); Postporn Filmfestival /Warsaw/Vienna/ Berlin (2017-2022); 33-rd edition of Fid /Marseille (2022); New Non-Fiction Narratives Film Festival, ‘Zwierciadlo’ was selected as a finalist in VR program /condor, Santa Fe (2021); 5-minute film festival /Southern maltings (2020); Make art not war! teaser future film festival /Los Angeles (2020); 4th horror festival Mostra Espantomania /San-Oaulo (2019); Castello di Rivoli Museo, ‘Letter from the front’ /Turin, Haus der Kunst /München, Munich Moderna Museet /Stockholm (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘Oksana - Antigona: 13’’/Odesa (2021); KKKC exhibition hall, ‘velniai’/Klaipeda (2021); Arsenal gallery, Fear /Białystok (2021).

AntiGonna is based and works at the artists’ residency Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Venue ( Address ): 

Mimosa House
47 Theobalds RD
London
WC1X 8SP

Mimosa House , London

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