Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk: Youth of the World
9 March 2023 – 11 June 2023
About the Exhibition
Organized & Circulated By
The MacKenzie Art Gallery
Youth are often looked to as a source of potential, future, and prospects. The image of a group of young individuals can be simultaneously promising and startling. Youth can work together to propose innovative solutions to our contemporary challenges, or they can come together to change obsolete institutions. Fascinated by the complexity of this ever-changing demographic, Ukrainian filmmaker duo Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk have been casting youth groups across Ukraine in their video works. Through the actors’ points of view, Khimei and Malashchuk acutely portray the anxiety within young people of Ukraine and the world as they navigate the past and reconcile with historical traumas in search of a future. Featuring four video works by the duo from 2017 to 2021, Youth of the World is conceived as a multipart movie that offers glimpses into Ukraine’s unique but relatable youth culture.
Works in the Exhibition
Kyiv’s Youth Leaving a Grocery Store
Kyiv’s Youth Leaving a Grocery Store, 2017, HD video, sound, 3 min.
Paying homage to the Lumiere brothers’ classic “Workers leaving the Lumiere Factory” and reconsidering the world’s first cinematic works, the artists address the redefining of labour and change in socioeconomic formation. Short but concise, the video probes questions about the transformation of a factory of production to one of consumption, the relationship between labour and leisure, and the paradoxes that can manifest in youths.
Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey, Kyiv’s Youth Leaving a Grocery Store, 2017, HD video, sound, 3 min.
Dedicated To The Youth Of The World
Dedicated to the Youth of the World, 2017, HD Video, sound, 3 min.
The work’s title references the opening text in Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 propaganda film Olympia, commissioned for the Olympic Games in Germany, held the same year. Conceived as a video essay that mixes multiple narratives of 20th-century ideologies—Nazi philosopher Alfred Rosenberg confronted with poet Walt Whitman, an icon of American democracy, and Nietzsche followed by a voice-over from Soviet officials—the portrayal of youth and others’ desires of them are presented here in a way that recalls the early Soviet aesthetics.
Still from Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk, Dedicated to the Youth of the World, 2017, 3 minutes, HD video, sound. Courtesy of the artists.
Nove Misto Druziv / New City of Friends
New City of Friends, 2021, HD Video, 10:44 min.
In the video, a group of locals is accompanying a 15-year-old resident, Maksym, on his imaginary journey through Kolomyia—a city with a rich history in western Ukraine. Maksym takes his audience along the path near the Austrian barracks while drawing out possible routes through the city in the dirt with a stick. Against a backdrop of dominant Soviet modernist architecture, we hear Maksym’s accounts of the city, “…from Bandera Street, I go to the 10th School, from the 10th school I return to Kirov Park, from there I return here and see a well. I go from the well to the bookstore and from the bookstore….” His vivid and confident descriptions of his city starkly contrast with a Kolomyia depicted on screen: endless construction, houses constantly taken apart and put together, and the ghost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire coexisting in the post-Soviet reality.
Still from Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk, New City of Friends, 2021, 10:44 minutes, HD video, sound. Courtesy of the artists.
So They Won’t Say We Don’t Remember
So They Won’t Say We Don’t Remember, 2020, HD Video, 24 min.
This video work is about hidden and visible elements of the post-industrial landscape of Donbas—a historically significant area in eastern Ukraine. In the film, a group of young locals, artists, and curators set out on a long journey following one of the underground routes of the Novator mine, where, in 1977, an accident claimed the workers’ lives and ultimately led to the mine’s closure. The endpoint of the group procession is the monument to the dead miners located just above the site of the underground accident. During the parade, the group walks through the city, plowed fields, forests, courtyards, and bushes, highlighting the intimate relationship between people and land. The video also reminds the viewers of the glues, social and historical, that hold generations of community together.
Still from Roman Khimei and Yarema Malashchuk, So They Won't Say We Don't Remember, 2021, 25 minutes, HD video, sound. Commissioned and produced for Landscape as a Monument residency. Courtesy of the artists.
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