Zhanna Kadyrova

Harmless War (2022)

Outwardly, Zhanna Kadyrova’s sculptures repeat classic Post-Minimal shapes. But they are made of materials brought directly from Ukraine and damaged in the ongoing battles and rocket attacks there. Modified to fit the form of a generic artwork, they are coated, varnished, and polished so that very little remains of the textures of corrosion and destruction characterizing a war zone. Their specificity is lost in favor of an anonymous, essentially hollow theatrical form.

Kadyrova thus comments on how the war is glossed over and normalized—as is happening in the West right now, after an initial wave of solidarity. But she also incisively points to how the war is commodified as another hot topic in the art world—with its insatiable hunger for easily readable, smoothed-over artifacts.

Zhanna Kadyrova (1981, Brovary, Ukraine) works in a variety of disciplines such as sculpture, photography, video, and performance. Her practice is often site-specific and informed by the malleable and symbolic properties of urban building materials. Her works have been extensively exhibited worldwide, including exhibitions at Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Bureau for Cultural Translations, Leipzig; Kunstraum Innsbruck; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kyiv; Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; and PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv (2012, 2013), where her first major retrospective will be held in 2023. Before the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine began, Kadyrova was based in Kyiv.

Metal, varnish


Commissioned by steirischer herbst ’22

Produced by steirischer herbst '22, Zhanna Kadyrova, KÖNIG GALERIE Berlin/Seoul/Vienna, and Galleria Continua