Daniil Galkin – Schwäne-Gänse

Exhibition & Artist's Reception

12.03.2020 6pm  - 9pm

On Thursday March 12 2020, 6 – 9pm, SomoS hosts an exhibition and artist reception, in which Ukrainian artist Daniil Galkin presents his ongoing research into the ideological underpinnings of public design and architecture.

Galkin belongs to a new generation of Ukrainian artists whose work is steadily re-shaping both the role and importance of contemporary art in Ukraine and beyond. Working primarily with installation, Galkin looks directly towards the experience of individuals within political systems rife with tension, control and oppression.

In “Schwäne-Gänse,” (swan-geese) the artist hopes to raise awareness; to show how young people in Ukraine are in danger of being indoctrinated by nationalism, ideology and conservatism.

The exhibition displays video sketches and small sculptural forms deliberately made with soft material – plasticine and children’s modelling clay which can be reused, allowing objects to transition from one shape to another and enabling metamorphoses, possibly alluding to the malleability of the youthful mind. Galkin’s plasticine objects portray children’s gear; mittens, socks, bibs, handkerchiefs and headwear, featuring distinctive right-wing symbols, runes, emblems, forbidden motto’s or monograms made after real life examples, demonstrating the highly politicized environment in which Ukrainian children grow up.

The exposition continues with a video Exam at Children’s Ballet School in which Galkin compares adult, i.e. political, choreography to the children’s one, offering an elegant reflection on what may become of the young ballet dancers, implying for example national scouts or apprentices of children’s camps with a focus on national patriotism.
The video Exam at Children’s Ballet School refers to the 1982 “National Police Day,” which became the symbol of the Soviet Union’s collapse; on this day the television channels broadcast the Swan Lake instead of the expected gala music concert. Galkin thus compares an adult, i.e. political choreography against a children’s one, pondering over what might become of the young ballet dancers in the future.

In his current research, Galkin traces how ideology has entered even the playground. Since, as Galkin notes, political ideologies have always been spread more easily with the help of a child’s image, Ukraine has started introducing modern playgrounds, for instance in the form of warships, as part of the implementation of its patriotic endeavors program.

“It is evident that, with military action going on, many approve of such politically-charged spatial constructions,” Galkin states, comparing it with similar phenomena in the Ukraine, such as “the emergence of voluntary public order squads, and traveling exhibitions featuring artifacts of war with national embroidery painted on them during children’s workshops,” noting that all of these are perceived as appropriate awareness-raising events that unsurprisingly result in increased far-right inclinations in Ukrainian youth.

Daniil Galkin's plasticine scuplture The Swan-Geese.
Daniil Galkin – The Swan Geese

The project is realized within the House of Europe mobility program during which Galkin researched architectural solutions for children’s playgrounds in various German cities, approaching them as sculptures in public space which involve a direct interaction between objects and subjects and complement the urban exterior that in the artist’s view not only has great artistic value, but also multiple functionalities, transforming those playgrounds into full-blown recreation parks for people of all ages.

About Daniil Galkin:

Daniil Galkin received his degree from the Theatre-Arts College and Academy of Construction and Architecture. He is the winner of multiple awards including the Grand Prix MUXI-2011 and the Third Special Pinchuk Art Centre Prize in 2013. Galkin has also participated in various solo and group exhibitions held in venues such as Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Saatchi Gallery, Moscow Museum of Modern Art. He currently lives and works in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.

Daniil Galkin – Schwäne-Gänse
Exhibition & Artist’s Reception
Thursday, March 12 2020, 6-9pm
SomoS, Kottbusser Damm 95, 10967 Berlin (U8 Schönleinstrasse)
Entry free
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