A War in the Distance. Prologue

An Embattled Ukraine in Video Art and Film


Opening: 01.07.2022, 7pm

A cooperation between steirischer herbst ’22 and Neue Galerie Graz


Curated by: Mirela Baciak und David Riff


Artist Talks and discussion: 1-6:30 pm


About the exhibiton

For times immemorial, Styria has been surrounded by wars, many of them only heard echoing in the distance. This autumn, steirischer herbst festival addresses this looming presence of far-off battles. In the summer, a prologue to the 55th edition focuses on Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine—a conflict whose relevance and proximity are impossible to ignore now.

In a special exhibition at Neue Galerie Graz running from 1 July to 1 August, steirischer herbst presents historical and contemporary video art and films. They offer a subjective, sobering, and human view of current events otherwise explained in military or geopolitical terms. Today’s war appears as an implosion of an already tragic and violent Ukrainian Soviet history—whose filmic documents belong to the masterpieces of 20th-century avant-garde cinema. Contemporary artists from Ukraine draw upon this history, showing its violent reversal in the present as they reflect upon the war with Russia, ongoing since 2014. Socialist utopia and fascist mobilization appear as embattled notions from the past with which artists critically engage on their own aesthetic terms. Simultaneously, in times of intensified combat, citizen journalism becomes a new form of anonymous activist filmmaking. Documentary films show the human dimension of how the war impacts economically depressed regions and the people who live there, revealing that there is a space for hope, heroism, and poetry in spite of the widespread destruction.

The exhibition’s opening on 1 July is accompanied by panel discussions and artist talks exploring the tragic consequences of imperial histories and the neoliberal present in Central and Eastern Europe, placing the Ukrainian war in its broader context. 

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A War in the Distance

23.09.2022-12.02.2023   >  Neue Galerie Graz

At the core of steirischer herbst ’22 is an exhibition at Neue Galerie Graz that juxtaposes historical works with contemporary artists’ projects. more...


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