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Vienna Contemporary 2022
DATUM 07. Sep. 2022

viennacontemporary 2022                                     

8. - 11. September                                                     


Kursalon Vienna 

Johannesgasse 33

Vienna 1010








In 2012, the artists Badri Gubianuri, Serge Momot, Constantin Roudeshko and Tiberiy Szilvashi founded the group [=] Alliance 22 in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. The aim of this association was to revive the great tradition of artistic abstraction in Ukraine, founded by artists such as Kazimir Malevich or Alexandr Archipenko, and in particular to make its utopian potential fruitful with a view to a free society in the present.


In 2016, Volker Diehl Gallery in Berlin, which for decades has consistently presented artistic positions of departure from the former USSR, showed works by five artists from the group [=] Alliance 22 for the first time. In March of this year, the gallery again invited artists from the former [=] Alliance 22 to show their works in Berlin as artistic voices of their country. As a sign of solidarity in the bitter times of war, part of the proceeds of the exhibition were donated to charity. 


Two of these artists, Badri Gubianuri and Tiberiy Szilvashi, are now being shown by Volker Diehl Gallery at viennacontemporary; two outstanding positions of abstract painting in Ukraine. 


Badri Gubianuri, born in 1962, is currently a scholarship holder at Wiepersdorf Castle in Brandenburg. His large-format canvases show a dialectical interplay between monochrome spaces, hints of forms, and the vehement and calculated use of painterly signs, dots, lines and gestural brushstrokes, which seem like a resistance to the existing.


Tiberiy Szilvashi, born in 1947 in Mukachev in Transcarpathia, is to a certain extent the old master of contemporary Ukrainian abstract painting. He continues to live and work in Kyiv. In his recently published diary "The Sky over Kyiv", which documents the time between 24.2. and 7.4.2022, he noted on each day: "Alive". His mostly small-format canvases and works on paper, which are created in series in the artist's daily retreat, appear like a resonating space of engagement with reality. Thick monochrome surfaces in the paintings and openly iridescent pictorial surfaces in the works on paper, whose frayed edges rarely dictate a rectangular shape, are repeatedly punctuated by geometric formations and bright spots that balance the monochrome colour space. Here, abstract painting, with its colours opening up the space of possibility, becomes a sign of the longing for freedom - in the artist's words: "Creativity as a principle of life denotes the possibility of permanent revision of the existing".


In his diary, Tiberiy Szilvashi noted on 6 March 2022: "There are images and there are words. In both words and images there is the visible and the invisible. Not necessarily hidden things, but something that connects like an invisible bond. There is the word war, and it is concrete in all its brutality. There is the word victory - it is present even if it is not written. And between them hovers the invisible word FREEDOM. It is the most important word. For freedom is the choice of a free man. A free man can choose and has the possibility to choose. And with that he has already won!!!

I will continue."


- Text by Carsten Ahrens