Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

Kateryna Lysovenko’s exhibition “Something for Everyone” draws viewers in with its large eponymous 2022 installation, which centers on a standing painting that curves to form a kind of apse in the back of the gallery. Arranged as couples or groups of three, the figures depicted on its surface keep to a color scheme ranging from pale yellow to a brownish red. The sharp contours of their silhouettes stand in contrast to their surroundings, which are filled in with lighter strokes.

Completing the installation is a long, low pedestal with a surface reminiscent of stone. Its presence transforms the space into something as akin to a modernist chapel as to a tomb. The object is flanked on either side by a set of four acrylic canvases hung in a tightly spaced square configuration. Titled 8 plots possible in the interpeace and interwar time; and the dove of peace with the catastrophic eyes. On the problems of description and periodisation, 2022, the images show children staring at barrier tape, a dog sniffing the arm of a collapsed human body, and a naked figure crouching on the floor, their head buried in their hands. Prominent swaths of bright yellow and blue temper these renderings of despair while also recalling the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

The palette is not the artist’s only reference to the ongoing attacks, but Lysovenko treats her canvases like classical topoi, so that their iconography can easily stand for other struggles. With its eyes fixed on the viewer, the “dove of peace” from 8 plots… becomes an unsettling inversion of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History: We are the catastrophe it surveys.

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