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17 Jan

Julie Poly: 4:59 – Announcements

Fotogalleriet is proud to present 4:59, the primary solo exhibition in an art institution by Ukrainian artist Julie Poly, opening January 27, 2023. Poly is one of the crucial renowned photographers of her generation, who reached notoriety for her provocative editorial work and her images of agitated youth, enacting worlds to come back.

The exhibition title, 4:59, refers back to the minute before the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine at 5am within the morning of February 24, 2022. Poly says: “To me, 4:59 is like an emblem of a time just before a traumatic event, and the importance of accessing the memories of that point.”

To Julie Poly, freedom of expression means the power to say one’s own future. It allows for imagining oneself as a free subject capable of make autonomous decisions, independently of 1’s own sexuality and provenance. Feminism and gender non-confirming perspectives are the undercurrent of her work, which strives to represent the contradictions underpinning aspirations of political liberation and lift the query of who has autonomy over the body.

In Poly’s work the way in which of portrayal in front of a camera—whether or not it’s in a studio, in an interior space, or on a train—becomes a part of a political and gender dissidence. Technological devices through which we extend our lives heighten the probabilities of who we will and need to be. Images are contributing to regime shifts and shape our identities.

Julie Poly was born in Stakhanov, Lugansk area in eastern Ukraine, and—until the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine in February—she was based in Kyiv. Julie Poly’s art education began in Stakhanov, after which continued within the Kharkiv city with small groups of young artists, art initiatives, and inspiration from the Kharkiv School of Photography, and attended The Ukrainian State Academy of Railway Transport in Kharkiv. She has turn into internationally known through several projects, most notably Ukrzaliznytsia (2017–20), which depicts life on Ukrainian trains. The project is partially staged to indicate the complexity of Ukrainian life across the country. In a territory under siege, currently, train transportation has turn into the fundamental logistical infrastructure, allowing goods and folks to proceed moving internally and externally.

In close conversation, the artist and Fotogalleriet have chosen to give attention to Poly’s Ukrainian production before the total scale invasion of the country to indicate to a moment when life was filled with hope. And although the fabric within the exhibition is from and references the past, it emanates Poly’s assertive vision of the longer term and its absurdity produced in the sunshine of this hope. In this era, youth was central in an insurgent and irreverent approach. Yet they took to the streets for various reasons: not to guard themselves, but to indicate their identities freely and polymorphically. At this time limit, Julie Poly interpreted cultural and visual codes of typical Ukrainian on a regular basis life, predominantly addressing eroticism, fashion, and novel notions of beauty. In such a search, Julie Poly found inspiration in “trivial things, on a regular basis events, stories from friends’ lives, and experiences.” The photographs in different areas of the exhibition space are produced at various moments in time, belonging to photo-shoot productions, commissions, or through the artist’s own initiative. At Fotogalleriet, they can be mixed within the exhibition space for the primary time. Exploring how recollection moves and wanders, the pictures can be stripped of the specificity of time and place to grapple with the role of memory during situations of loss and trauma.

Poly’s interest within the crossover between documentary, fashion, and representation opens up several critical aesthetic questions and revolutions that always occur on the intersection of popular and visual culture, and outdoors the canonised spaces of art, comparable to museums and white cubes. She has challenged each worlds (consumerism and aestheticisation) to more closely approach recalcitrant modes of being by engaging with youth in practices and spaces where sexuality is being questioned and reinvented.

Following the escalation of the war, Poly’s often celebratory images have been marked by a forced shift in signification from the eager for independence they initially represented. Images which were originally intended to explain positive and conflicting values about traditions and futurity, coinciding with dissent to a patriarchal-state past and youth in revolt. Notably, through the Soviet regime, the experimentation which took place on the Kharkiv School of Photography with depictions of the naked body, gender representation and colourisation, could easily be met with criminal charges from authorities. Today, the dreams and worlds Poly depicts and constructs have been frozen at best, possibly broken for an entire generation. Subsequently, Poly’s images have also turn into a trace of a period of aspiring autonomy, particularly concerning feminism, gender, dissent, and non-conformance.

The exhibition 4:59 will give attention to Poly’s documentary-, fashion-, and other practices of image production, aiming to mirror—like in a dream—the joyous elements of life and desire, freedom, and the multiplicity and contradictions that communities carry. Despite the pictures being taken in a rustic currently under heavy attack and occupation, the exhibition strives to maneuver sadness towards other emotions, supporting notions of reconstruction, and recovery, and strengthening crucial ideals of democratic principles through Poly’s multifaceted world.

Besides newly printed large-size images, never shown before in these formats, the exhibition will include an audio installation, furniture, textile and other materials to create approachable on a regular basis environments. 

On January 31, 6–7:30pm, the artist can be in conversation with Marta Kuzma, Professor on the Yale School of Art. The event will happen on the Academy of Positive Art, Oslo National Academy of the Arts. For more information, see fotogalleriet.no.

Julie Poly (real name Yulia Polyashchenko, b.1986) took her first pictures on the “Kinnyi Market” in Kharkiv. She was primarily excited by raw documentary photography, but in 2013 Poly began to work with fashion, with its penchant for staged pictures. Consequently, Poly’s portfolio lists commissions for regional fashion magazines (Vogue, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar) and international art publications comparable to Dazed & Confused, i-D, NUMERO and Jalouse. In 2021, Julie created the erotic art zine Hrishnytsia, where she researches and gathers Ukrainian artists who explore problems with sexuality, self-discovery, gender, and intimacy inside their practice. Until the Russian invasion, the artist worked and lived in Kyiv. Currently, Poly relies in Munich. Instagram

Marta Kuzma was appointed tenured professor of art and dean of the Yale School of Art in 2016. In her term as dean from 2016-2021, Professor Kuzma was the primary woman to carry that position within the history of the varsity. In 2022, she authored the book History of An Art School (a Koenig publication designed by Irma Boom).  Marta Kuzma received a B.A. art history and political economics from Barnard College, Columbia University in 1986, and an M.A. in 2002 in aesthetics and art theory from the Centre for Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, London. In 2014, she was named rector of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden where she initiated ‘Philosophy within the Context of Art,’ ‘Critical Habitats,’ and the ‘Domain of the Great Bear’ public lecture series. Earlier, she served as director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway for eight years to determine the OCA Semesterplan as an internationally recognized, research-based program of exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and projects which included On Negritude: The Politics of Art Production in Africa (2012), Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia? (2009), The Grammar of Forms: On Art Criticism, Writing, Publishing and Distribution (2009), Nasreen Mohamedi – The Legacy of Indian Modernism (2009), Film as Critical Practice (2007), ISMS: Recuperating Political Radicality in Contemporary Art (2006). Ms. Kuzma curated OCA’s representation on the Venice Biennale with the projects ‘The Collectors: Elmgreen & Dragset (2009),’ ‘The State of Things’ (2011), ‘Watch out for the Holy Whore: Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation’ (2013). She was the founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev, Ukraine; served as artistic director of the Washington Project for the Arts, in Washington, D.C.; and as head of the international exhibitions program at International Center of Photography in Recent York City. A member of the curatorial team for Documenta 13, Ms. Kuzma has extensive experience curating international exhibitions, research projects, and conferences, edited and authored many publications including the Verksted series and contributed to journals comparable to Radical Philosophy, Afterall, Artforum. She is a visiting Professor in Art Theory within the Graduate Programme of Visual Arts within the University of Architecture (Iuav) in Venice and at Boconi University in Milan. 

To receive more information concerning the exhibition, please contact Fotogalleriet’s communications consultant =(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);});return false”>Arash Shahali.

The exhibition is produced by Fotogalleriet with support from the Fritt Ord Foundation.

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