“Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”, a joint exhibition of the ANTIAIDS Foundation and the PinchukArtCentre, focusing on the theme of HIV/AIDS in contemporary art
Opening of exhibition "Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way" took place on 16 November 2013. From 7 February the exhibition will be on display again.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation, the PinchukArtCentre and the ANTIAIDS Foundation present a special exhibition dedicated to the theme of HIV/AIDS in contemporary art, entitled Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. The exhibition opens ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December and bridges artists’ early response to AIDS in the US in the 1980-90s with today’s urgent need to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in Ukraine.
The project includes iconic works by Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei, Nan Goldin and Félix González-Torres.Five new pieceswere created especially for the exhibition, including a large scale outdoor video projection by Tony Oursler; a multimedia project created by Nan Goldin in Ukraine in the lead up to the exhibition; a video by Ai Weiwei; a photo by Sergiy Bratkov; and a performance by Ilya Chichkan.
Elena Pinchuk, Founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation: “The works we have managed to pull for the exhibition with a symbolic title Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way represent a story of how art community have been reacting to the AIDS epidemics. The majority of the exhibits that you will see today were created as a result of artists’ personal pain of losing their beloved ones to the disease. The works presented within the art space are the stories of loss and hope, stories of changes in society’s reaction towards people affected by HIV/AIDS, stories of how the need to survive shifted cultural boundaries of what was and what was not appropriate to discuss publicly. I hope this exhibition will reach hearts and minds of young people who every day take decisions which outline their future.”
In addition to the exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre, the project moves beyond the museum and onto the street with a billboard project by Félix González-Torres. More than 30 billboards featuring a photograph of the artist’s empty bed have been installed across Kyiv’s city center.
Over three nights, 15 to 17 November, from 17:00 till 24:00, a video installation by Tony Oursler was projected onto the PinchukArtCentre’s façade. The artist transformed the building into a giant projection screen, occupying it with a virtual chorus of faces. Those faces, speaking English, Ukrainian and Russian, played a form of “telephone game”, tracing the passage of language from one person to the next in a long chain.
The exhibition Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way is the first time international artists, the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the PinchukArtCentre have joined forces in the fight against AIDS in Ukraine. The project tells the story of the art world’s response to the AIDS epidemics that originated in 1980s in New York when society was shaken by the AIDs-related deaths of photographers and artists, including Félix González-Torres, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Vito Russo, David Wojnarowicz and many more. As a reaction to these tragic losses, as well as to the indifference and inaction of the U.S. government, a powerful art movement evolved that brought together leading contemporary artists who employed traditional media as well as turning to the tools and language of the mass media to integrate their work into the environment. Key works of that period, along with more recent works, have become part of the Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way tracing, in a way, the "footprint" of the AIDS epidemic on the art world.
Some of the exhibiting artists have already cooperated with the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation. In 2010, Damien Hirst donated his In Love painting to the charity auction organized by the ANTIAIDS Foundation. As a result of the ANTIAIDS charity auction, 3 million dollars were raised - the largest amount ever raised for charity in the Ukraine. All proceeds of the auction were donated to the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation for an extended collaborative project with the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative.
Earlier this year, Ai Weiwei developed a video with the message “Love is in our Blood” for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which immediately went viral, as if its distribution was a metaphor for AIDS. The video was screened on large-scale monitors in the New York’s Time Square, in London’s Piccadilly and, with the support of the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation, in Kyiv’s Independence Square.
In 2010 Ilya Chichkan supported the work of the ANTIAIDS Foundation with his Fashion AID T-shirt concept, creating several original “safe sex” prints for the T-shirt collection. It was the first collaboration between the Foundation and the Ukrainian art community.
This socially oriented art project was greatly supported by the project’s media partners: Prime-Group Company who cooperated on the outdoor placement of the Felix González-Torres billboards, and HITECH Company, who assisted in informing the public about the exhibition opening through the largest billboard network in Ukraine.
New works presented at the PinchukArtCentre:
Ai Weiwei, An AIDS Petition (2010)
For the first time Ai Weiwei presents a video created especially for this exhibition in Ukraine, interviewing a young Chinese girl infected with HIV. The work continues his message that AIDS is an epidemic infecting people around the world who share not only a disease but also often the experience of becoming victims of social exclusion.
Nan Goldin (2013)
A multimedia project of the New York-based artist and photographer Nan Goldin will be presented in Kyiv for the first time. The project was created in Ukraine when the artist was meeting with HIV-positive people, visiting hospitals, community organisations and other places working with at-risk groups. Her video is based on the new series of photographs taken by the artist in November 2013, especially for the exhibition Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. With this work, Nan Goldin not only addresses HIV in Ukraine but also connects HIV victims across borders, continuing her personal commitment to showing the disease’s impact on lives around the world.
Sergiy Bratkov, Moby-Dick(2013)
Sergiy Bratkov’s monumental photograph Moby-Dick, created especially for the exhibition, represents a large-scale Ukrainian landscape that is overcome by a dark expanding cloud, expressing an inescapable sense of danger. The image evokes the sublimated opposition of Eros and Thanatos. The cloud, following the suggestive title, is nothing less than an enormous phallus, which penetrates the unspoiled and beautiful landscape. The landscape is Ukraine, the phallus the ever-luring dangers of sexual encounters.
Ilya Chichkan, Cradle (2013)
Ilya Chichkan, one of Ukraine’s leading artists, created a performance piece using actors especially for the exhibition. Which will be on show at the PinchukArtCentre every day. This new work consists of two human hands that are each holding a tiny sculpture representing a “deformed” foetus. One is the hand of a woman, a metaphor of motherhood relating to AIDS as a risk for the unborn child, often infected inside the womb. The second hand is that of a man, a metaphor of (failed) protection.
Special outdoor projects
Tony Oursler, Transmisson (2013)
Over three nights, on 15-17 November, the building of the PinchukArtCentre will be transformed by Tony Oursler, who will use it as a large-scale projection screen. The projection will feature a virtual chorus of faces that speak English, Ukrainian and Russian. They will play a form of “telephone game”, tracing the passage of language from one person to the next in a long chain. Metaphorically, the work takes the notion of the viral nature of language as a means of approaching the subject of AIDS awareness. Oursler’s work explores issues of transmission and protection as well as the safety and permeability of border areas as metaphors for social activity.
Félix González-Torres, "Untitled" (1991/2013)
An image by Félix González-Torres, that was previously translated onto large-scale billboards and spread around New York City without any caption or explaination, now infiltrates the city of Kyiv. The photograph shows the artist’s bed with rumpled sheets and the impression of two heads on the pillows. Here González-Torres juxtaposes private and public spaces, referring to AIDS as an illness that affects both private and public life. The bed also represents a site of conflict, suggesting it ss a place of both love and lurid death.
The ANTIAIDS Foundation
was founded by Elena Pinchuk in 2003. Today this is the first and only charitable organization committed to fighting against AIDS in Ukraine operating on private donations. During ten years of its work the Foundation deals constantly with HIV/AIDS prevention and provides help to people living with HIV/AIDS. The Foundation seeks to work at all levels from large national projects to targeted direct assistance to people affected by AIDS epidemic. The Foundation also regularly provides help to medical institutions and orphanages where HIV-positive children live. At the initiative of the Foundation mobile clinics were set up to help HIV-positive children who are living in remote regions of Ukraine. Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation also develops and implements social preventive and educational programs aimed at young audience. Among these programs is a project for homeless girls and young women vulnerable to HIV infection, in collaboration with the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The Foundation also implements innovative and interactive projects using web-technologies: social service maps.antiaids.org together with Google, the online auction "Star for Sale" together with Korrespondent.net, and Fashion AID, a joint project with The Coca-Cola Foundation - Safe Connection.