Yaroslav Futymskyi

Yaroslav Futymskyi – no mistakes, no false attempts

Exhibition at Galeria Labirynt | Plaza at 13 Lipowa Street, Lublin (entrance through Ofiar Katynia Street)
Exhibition opening: October 27th, 2017 (Friday), 7 p.m.
Open until November 17th, 2017 (Tue-Sun, 12 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Free admission

Yaroslav Futymskyi is a collector of the past, who searches for the traces of the previous dacades’ everyday life, with all its commonness and randomness. Futymskyi is interested in the history of Soviet modernism from the perspective of its common users, those who do not get mentioned in history research papers or school textbooks. In the countries formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the scarcely departed Soviet reality is often quickly forgotten, its remnants are blurred, and the reality itself attempts to imitate the Western states, supposedly modern and independent. Futymskyi, contrary to these trends, creates a peculiar memory museum consisting of a collection of various objects, images and videos. Some of them have sentimental value for him, others are one of many possible artefacts, often found by the artist quite by chance. By becoming part of the arranged collection, they acquire new meanings and complement each other, telling not only about history but also about ourselves and the world around us.

No mistakes, no false attempts is an ironic and perverse title – history is made up of innumerable attempts and mistakes and it is full of failures. Yet, the exhibition at Galeria Labirynt in Lublin seems to be a consequently thought-out whole, without unnecessary words and obsolete elements. The items in glass cases are in a dialogue, while they seem both random and necessary. The collages, made by Futymskyi from old albums and photos are aesthetic and simply pretty – this was also the artist’s aim, when he put photos of more or less random people on the backgrounds depicting plants and colourful flowers. The compositions are complemented by pieces of mushrooms and various objects: small boxes, matches’ labels, a candy paper, a pencil – all of them coming from the Soviet and post-Soviet reality. As the artist ensures us, one does not need to know history to find clues to their own interpretations of the inscribed meanings. However, as we get to know the wider context and fate of individual objects, we see the value of private stories that are so important to the work of the young artist.

The pieces presented at no mistakes, no false attempts have been executed within the last two years, most of them with the Lublin exhibition in mind. After their upper part – designed to act as a support –have been removed, the wooden crutches were sharpened as pencils and now look like the ones that the artist’s grandfather used after he had lost a leg during the Second World War. The fragment of the drum stick placed on the wall is a remnant of the artist’s friend’s show, and the mould-eaten plush cloth was found by Futymskyi not far from the Uzhhorod opera which had been built on the site of a synagogue. The artist is intrigued by stories behind such pieces of fabric due to their symbolic value, but also the shift in their meaning and function over the years. Velvet, once expensive and hard to obtain except for the ruling circles, acquired a completely different meaning during the communist era and now can be treated almost as an element of Soviet kitsch. The ragged piece found by Futymskyi had become obsolete and was thrown into the garbage, but placing it among the exhibits has given it a status of an ambiguous historical witness.

In the Project of an Impossible Museum (2017) the artists presents his own vision of an institution free of political propaganda and historical narrative imposed ‘from above’. The work, placed in a glass cabinet, consists of a white sheet of paper with a white “музей” inscription on it and a placed next to it candy wrap produced many years ago and found by the artist in the crevice of an armchair of one of the clubs. Futymskyi presents his idea of exhibiting museum pieces – objectively, with no commentaries, so that they can speak for themselves. At the exhibition, the artist also presented one of his first video works – so far the main means of his expression had been photography and compositions created with it. A double channel video is made up from pieces of film footage found near the state archive in Chernivtsi – pieces which had been considered not worth further keeping – and black-and-white video shot by the artist with a basic digital camera. The piece presents unrelated scenes, shots of everyday life: a flying plane, a monument, surveillance cameras, a man sleeping on the bus, a woman at work. These captured moments keep the memory of ordinary life, in the same way as the archive found footages whose anonymous characters belong to the long-forgotten past.

Hence, the exhibition is on one hand sentimental, poetic and emotional, but on the other it brings to mind an approach of a history scholar with its lab-like character of display cabinets and precise arrangement of works. In this case, it is however a scholar-poet with a strong characteristics of a mad collector. However, it is also necessary to add that there is a method to this madness. Futymskyi ‘makes no mistakes’ and balances the dose of private stories with a universal atmosphere of history. The artist releases his own project of a museum, making the impossible happen – he talks on the a non-obtrusive, intriguing and original way and provides visitors with an open space for their own thoughts and comments on art, history and a common everyday life that constitutes the latter.

Yaroslav Futymskyi (born 1987) – was a student of the National academy of Arts in Lviv. He is an author of graphic works, performances and installations made of objects of everyday use. The artist leads a life of a nomad between Lviv, Lublin, Poninka and Użhorod.