Pic.:Julia Gaisbacher, from the series “PUBLIC EXERCISE”, 2014.


Openings of the exhibition:
Tuesday, 22 October 2019, 6 pm
at ARTbasement, Chernishevska 15, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Participating artists:
Vagrich Bakhchanyan, Veronika Eberhart, Olga Fedorova,
Julia Gaisbacher, Vitya Glushchenko,Christoph Grill,
Michael Heindl, Maksym Khodak, Anna Manankina,
studio ASYNCHROME, Helene Thümmel, Bernhard Wolf,
Gamlet Zinkovsky, Anna Zvyagintseva

Curatorial team:
Nastia Khlestova, Anton Lederer,
Margarethe Makovec, Tatyana Tumasyan

Photos from the opening

Photos from the exhibition

Duration: 23.10. – 9.11.2019

The exhibition "I Do Not Feel Free to Do What I Want" is based on a bilateral cooperation between an art institution from Kharkiv, Ukraine and another one from Graz, Austria. The Municipal Gallery Kharkiv and < rotor > centre for contemporary art, Graz decided to go into a longer exchange of artists, curators and finally exhibitions. In summer 2019 two artists from Kharkiv – Olga Fedorova and Anna Manankina – have been on a residency in Graz and vice versa Helene Thümmel from Graz spends October in Kharkiv. Finally, on October 21st and 22nd an exhibition will be opened at two premises with 14 artists participating, each seven from Ukraine and from Austria.

The exhibitions topic focuses on the notion of individual freedom. "Freedom consists of doing anything which does not harm others" is a common definition of the limits of individual freedom to be found in this wording in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of the French National Assembly of 1789. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, however, this fundamental and at the same time far-reaching wording can no longer be found. In this document, which has been signed by almost all the nation states of the world and elevated to constitutional status by some, individual freedoms are described only in a few sub-areas, for example with regard to privacy to be protected and freedom of movement to be maintained. But these two areas alone make it clear that in many places individual freedom is not in very good shape, in times of total surveillance of public space and means of communication, of payment flows, of medical records.

In the context of the neoliberal economic order, the matter of individual freedom becomes an illusion. Under the dictates of the "free market", the individuality and personal freedom of the winners of this system is apparently upheld, but the scope of choices is also limited for them. Individuals can realize themselves, but only if they improve the efficiency and function within the system of profit maximization. Not to mention the many more losers of this system.

Irrespective of the political and economic framework conditions, there is a fundamental factor that allows individual freedom to be interpreted and perceived in very different ways. This factor is the human being as such: The core of freedom is – beside the above mentioned parameters, and for sure some more – a choice that is always associated with the intellectual and emotional-volitional tension of a person.

Society and its political, social and economical conditions form the framework for individual freedom. But, if absolute freedom hypothetically existed, how would a person be able to imagine it? Would it be the very same freedom that you and I are used to understand?

A joint project of Municipal Gallery Kharkiv and
< rotor > centre of contemporary art, Graz

The project takes place with the support of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, Arts and Culture Division. We thank the Austrian Cultural Forum Kyiv for supporting the shipment.

The residencies of Olga Federova and Anna Manankina
in Graz were supported by Cultural City Network Graz and
the Ukrainian Institute, Kyiv, respectively.