Entanglements of Power – Artist Talk with Hanna Aliieva, Oleksandr Burlaka, Sasha Kurmaz and Mykola Ridnyi

In a conversation with three alumni of the JUNGEN AKADEMIE, Oleksandr Burlaka, Sasha Kurmaz and Mykola Ridnyi on July 12, 2023 at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, historical narratives of propaganda, colonialism and fascism that reach into the present were discussed using the example of public sculptures, squares and collections in Berlin and Kyiv.

Picture: “Raging bull” by Mykola Ridnyi

The discussion of the evening focused on how the symbols of power of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union are reflected in German and Ukrainian cities. Dr. Kateryna Rietz-Rakul, Director of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany, introduced the evening with her speech of welcome.

Mykola Ridnyi presented his project “Raging Bull”. As part of his residency at the Academy of Arts, he dealt with the sculpture “Der Stier” (The Bull) by Paul Mersmann on Alboinplatz in Berlin, which was created during the National Socialist era. As a result of this examination, a temporary, artistic intervention was created. The bull is interpreted as a symbol of the furious dictator. The intervention draws parallels between Hitler’s dictatorship in the 1930s in Germany and the current Russian war in Europe. As a second part of the project, the artist produced a radio program from historical facts and fictional elements about the sculpture, Alboinplatz and the Nazi period in Germany.

Oleksandr Burlaka told about the history of Kyiv’s Khreschatyk Street: a central promenade of the Ukrainian capital, which throughout the 20th century always carried the markings of various dictatorships, as well as political processes and transformations.

The moderator of the evening Bettina Klein presented the research of Hanna Aliieva. Hanna (National Academy of Arts of Ukraine) researches Nazi art policy in Ukraine during the Second World War.

Partner organizations

The discussion was organized by the Akademie der Künste Berlin with the kind support of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany.