BiennaleArte. 2019: Zhanna Kadyrova

My dear friend Adriana is in Venice these days. She is celebrating her birthday in the cute and inspiring Laguna and visiting the Biennale di Venezia. Yesterday she spotted this amazing Ukrainian artist. So I asked her to let us know more. Here’s her visual reporting.

One of the most striking aspects of Zhanna Kadyrova’s art, which includes photography, video, sculpture, performance, and installation, is her experimentation with forms, materials, and meaning. She often uses cheap tiling for mosaic, combined with heavyweight construction materials such as concrete and cement.

For Market (2017-ongoing, exhibited in the Arsenale), a food stall equipped with everything a street trader needs, she makes sausages and salamis from concrete and natural stone, and fashions fruit and vegetables – bananas, watermelons, pomegranates, aubergines – in chunky mosaic.

The version of Second Hand (2014-ongoing) on view in the Central Pavilion repurposes ceramic tiles from a hotel in Venice to construct items of clothing and linen.

SECOND HAND by Zhanna Kadyrova

The history of the building of the Kiev Film Copy Factory (KFCF), where the Film Handling Shopfloor run for more than 50 years, was the boon for creating a new series of “Second Hand” project.

​The factory was the largest in the Soviet Union; it copied films for all Soviet republics excluding Russia, which had a similar factory on its territory. Nearby the factory “Svema”, which produced films for photos and movies, located in Kyiv and Shostka (since 1931), was the key for huge KFCF production. The films were imported to Kiev, and after that, the copies of films were distributed throughout the Soviet Union. The building was built before the war, and there was a school for a while. In 1948, the building was repaired after military damages and since 1949 the first Kiev Film Copy Factory started its work there. There were 13 buildings in factory heyday.

In the early 90s, after a dissolution of the USSR, the animation studio Borisfen-Lutes was founded by French investors. About four hundred and fifty people worked at the animation production in that building. Some cartoons of that studio won international awards. Unfortunately, Borisfen went defunct in the early 2000s. One theory was that Borisfen-Lutes management had transferred its outlets to China. In 2008, ten out of thirteen buildings together with the Film Handling Shopfloor were sold.

Kadyrova’s project was as a part of the festival Gogolfest-2017. The building of the Film Handling Shopfloor had the format “ARKsquat”, where the artists were working during two months. In a couple of months after the festival, the building was wrecked, and the newest residential, shopping and entertainment complex is slated in its place.

Now in Venice, part of the Biennale di Venezia 2019.

Adriana is a freelance artist and maker, exploring mainly textiles and other creative materials for the craft and making world, She is based in Milan, when no travelling and observing the beauty of the arts. You can discover more about her on Instagram.

Photo credits: Adriana Gaetano and Zhanna Kadyrova.

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