The British Council in Ukraine presents an international exhibition — Trespassers Will Be Detected? — prepared by the SWAP: UK/UKRAINE 2019 arts residency programme. The ten artists who comprised the programme, held in both the UK and Ukraine in 2019, have presented the results of their visual explorations at the Artsvit Gallery and the Dnipro Contemporary Culture Centre during March 2020. Due to COVID-19 quarantine measures, exhibition was closed, but we have managed to prepare 360 online version of the exhibition.
The question asked in the title is both rhetorical and disturbing, as is the artwork of these 10 Ukraine- and UK-based artists. The work interrogates the capacity and relevance of established socio-political norms during periods of transition and the types of invisible social stressors that affect contemporary life in Ukraine and the UK.
Curators Anastasia Khlestova and the British Council’s Ilya Zabolotnyi had this to say on the choice of topic: "Ukrainian artists travelled to Scotland in the autumn of 2019 just as discussions for the implementation of Brexit were going on. That sense of invisible tension, anxiety, covert aggression and assault on boundaries both public and private, and the reckoning of ‘life’s basic rules’ is palpable in their observations and newly created artworks. By contrast, the UK-based artists found themselves caught up in the drawn-out, uncertain processes of transformation taking place in cities across Ukraine – Dnipro, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odesa. For the artists this served as a jumping off point for the consideration of new models for socio-cultural relations as well as a search for unity in a time marked by the formulation and reconsideration of provisional boundaries, and the (im)possibility of bringing order to the chaotic present and decoding “the Other”. A vital, unifying factor for all our residents was the search for a holistic view of our world and reflection upon one’s place in a relentlessly shifting system of coordinates."
Each year, the SWAP: UK/Ukraine programme tries out a new set of formats and locations for arts residencies. This year, leading Scottish institutions revealed utterly new approaches and perspectives by which Ukrainian artists were allowed to examine the European cultural context of Europe — from the viewpoint of Scotland. In Ukraine, the programme had a broad geography - residencies were held in Kharkiv (YermilovCentre and Municipal Gallery), Odesa ( Museum of Odesa Contemporary Art), Lviv (the Jam Factory Art Center and the Center for Urban Histories) and Dnipro.
In Dnipro the programme partnered with both well-established institutions — Artsvit and Kultura Medialna — as well as with the newly emerging—Dnipro Centre for Contemporary Culture (DCCC). Organisers designed the Final Exhibition to be held at two locations — Artsvit and DCCC — to promote the new initiative and prompt dialogue around the establishment of an arts centre, underscoring its importance to the city’s cultural development.
By holding the SWAP: UK/Ukraine exhibition in Dnipro, organisers are looking to boost the city’s visibility in international cultural dialogues, to stimulate development in the local cultural landscape and promote support for the decentralisation of public cultural processes.
"The Dnipro Contemporary Culture Centre is a platform to promote international, inter-regional and local cooperative efforts, and to represent contemporary art and the diversity of modern culture. We assign great importance to working within the local context, and the potential for collaboration and cultural exchange among artists, representatives of the cultural sector and local residents. We’re thrilled to have one of our first major international projects at our centre be the British Council’s SWAP: UK/Ukraine exhibition." — Andriy Palash, Director, Kultura Medialna.
"We greatly appreciate the experience of this cooperative effort and are pleased to present these projects by our UK and Ukrainian residents. It’s especially gratifying to see it at the Artsvit Gallery and in our city — Dnipro. We’re working to raise the level of formal education in culture and the arts here and to stem the tide of creative talent leaving the city. But we think that the residency format is a good way to exchange practices with other cities and help our artists interact with the local community and urban spaces. It’s also an excellent way to support curators, providing them with international experience. All of which boosts the development of informal exposure to contemporary art, intensifies the local creative environment and lands Dnipro on cultural map both nationally and internationally.” — Iryna Polikarchuk, Director, Artsvit Gallery
SWAP: UK/Ukraine is an annual arts residency programme for artists and curators organised by the British Council in Ukraine. The programme is carried out in a collaborative effort between some of the UK and Ukraine’s most innovative and experimental arts’ institutes. Since the inaugural 2016 season, the programme has supported 41 residencies for 37 artists and 4 curators. In Ukraine, the British Council has partnered with the Yermilov Centre in Kharkiv; the Jam Factory Art Centre and the Centre for Urban History, Lviv; the Museum of Odesa Modern Art, Odesa; the Artsvit Gallery and Kultura Medialna and the Dnipro Contemporary Culture Centre (DCCC), all in Dnipro. In the UK, our lead partners have been Hospitalfield (since 2019), and a number of partner institutions in Scotland — Cove Park, Scottish Sculpture Workshop, The Pier Arts Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio (DCA), Glasgow Sculpture Studios and the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW).
SWAP aims to connect artists from Ukraine and the UK, supporting their development in an international arts environment. The programme allows artists time for research, reflection and study of the artistic traditions of the two countries.
Our Partners for the final SWAP: UK/UKRAINE Artistic Residency Exhibition 2019 — Artsvit Gallery, Kultura Medialna, the Dnipro Contemporary Culture Centre.