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Unfamiliar Area | Svitlana Ryabishchuk: “Palianytsia”

16 December 2022 > 16 January 2023 Kindly invited to the mini online "Unfamiliar Area" exhibition "Palianytsia" by Svitlana Ryabishchuk.


Flour, salt and water. Bread is one of the oldest human foods, present since the prehistoric times. It speaks of the rise of agriculture and the settlement of the land, and its ingredients unite and divide, creating winners and losers. Throughout human history, the presence of bread meant happiness and prosperity, while its absence meant poverty and war. Many battles and military conquests were driven by the desire for rich grain fields or the fear of starvation. In the context of the current Russian-Ukrainian war, with a series of screen printing, the artist questions the cultural and political role of bread. Did you know that you can be murdered while waiting for bread? is an eerie realisation with which the author titles her work. More precisely: The work was created as a reminder of war crime that occurred on 16 March 2022, when ten civilians were killed while waiting in line for bread in the city of Chernihiv.

As a starting point, the author uses the computer game Township, which offers the player the construction of virtual towns and farming. During the blockade of the export of Ukrainian grain, the artist grows virtual grain, cares for it and, after playing the game long enough, harvests it. She vector-processes scenes from the game with images of bread and grain fields and creates graphics from them. At first glance, red, white and black dotted images resemble grid templates for traditional folk embroidery patterns. The red thread is supposed to symbolise blood or life, and the white thread symbolises freedom, which is why the embroidery was attributed with the power of protection against evil spirits. This time, geometricity and repetition of recognisable symbols are replaced by fragmented patterns that resemble maps of devastated landscapes and ruins of Ukrainian cities after the military invasion. With her works, the artist wonders what the future of her homeland is; will the wheatgrass be able to rise from the ruins?

Lene Leške

Svitlana Ryabishchuk (1998 Cherkasy, Ukraine) is a graduated painter who lives and works in Ljubljana. She is currently completing a parallel master's degree in painting and graphics and is attending the first year of the program at the Center of Contemporary Arts, SCCA – Ljubljana.

Her work is largely based on Ukrainian national culture, heritage, folklore, Soviet iconography and the human experience of integration into a new socio-cultural space. Within her artistic practice, the author experiments with Soviet artefacts, which she consequently integrates into the medium of painting, spatial installation and the medium of graphics. In her work, she explores the nature of Soviet heritage and post-Soviet reality, and its consequences up to the present day. Here, she is interested in trying to preserve, archive and transmit the cultural value of the object by transforming the artistic motif and image.

So far, she has presented herself at several group exhibitions, in such galleries as Modri kot, Tam tam poster, Pita project – Gallery of the sculpture department, Skedenj gallery, DobraVaga, Cukrarna and GT22. For the latter, she received the Primavera charter this year.


Did you know you can get killed while waiting for bread?, colour raster print 51 x 72cm, 2022


Other Unfamiliar Area exhibitions

Nina Baznik: Unfamiliar Area 

and others on the downside of the page

Curated by: Lene Lekše
Proof-reading (Slovene language): Neja Berlič

Translation (to English language): Ana Makuc
Financial support: Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City Council Ljubljana - Department for Culture