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Social Contract 2017: “Ritual of Self-Nature” installation opening at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv

Social Contract 2017: “Ritual of Self-Nature” installation opening at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv
Kyiv, May 03, 2017.

Today, at 6 P.M., IZOLYATSIA will open a temporary installation Ritual of Self-Nature by the Mexican artist Isa Carrillo at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv. The stone pedestal will be covered in rosemary and mint plants. The art intervention is part of the Social Contract 2017 project by IZOLYATSIA.

The idea of the Ritual of Self-Nature is using the healing powers of nature. Isa Carrillo proposes to neutralise the ideological tension around the vacant pedestal by ‘taking over’ the monument by living plants. On the one hand, mint and rosemary will mask the stone column, while on the other hand, they will work at purifying the site that is associated not only with the Soviet leader, but also with a gallows that was placed here during the Nazi occupation.

In the numerous discussions around the potential new monument, both its advocates and opponents mention negative energy surrounding the site. Responding to this argument, the artist proposes to cover the empty pedestal with healing plants: mint known for its calming and analgesic effect and rosemary whose aroma lifts the mood and helps recovering after illness. The artist invites the citizens to use the green column as a meditation tool to seek for internal harmony. At the end of the project, the plants will be given away to passers-by who wish to adopt them.

Isa Carrillo’s project won a popular vote organised by IZOLYATSIA as part of the Social Contract 2017 project. This was preceded by an international competition for projects of a temporary art intervention at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv. 37 applications were received from 18 countries, of which the international jury shortlisted four projects that were submitted to the online vote. Ritual of Self-Nature by Isa Carrillo got 38.5% of the votes, Ukrainian artist Mykyta Shalennyi’s Heroes Do Not Exist ranked second (31.1%), I Need a Hero by Milena Vučković (Serbia) – third (16%), and De Pedestal by art duo Afterall from Italy got 14.3% of the votes.

Social Contract (curator Kateryna Filyuk) is a project by IZOLYATSIA aimed at creating a discussion platform for art community, society and authorities on the status and functions of commemorative objects in urban space, using the case of the Lenin statue in Kyiv as an example. The project started in June 2016 with an exhibition and a public programme. The first artistic intervention at the site of the Lenin monument within the Social Contract project was Cynthia Gutiérrez’s installation Inhabiting Shadows (July 9-16, 2016). In November 2016, the Iranian artist Mahmoud Bakhshi has been invited for the second round of the project, contributing with the Endless Celebration installation (November 7-21, 2016).

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