Exhibitions Collectors News Ukraine

Ukrainian collectors commission art for exhibition on HIV/Aids

Victor Pinchuk and his wife Elena fund show in Kiev with new work by Nan Goldin and Tony Oursler

Damien Hirst, Where There's a Will, There's a Way, 2007

One of Ukraine’s richest couples has funded a contemporary art exhibition in Kiev about HIV/Aids. “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”, produced by Elena Pinchuk’s Antiaids Foundation and presented at her husband Victor Pinchuk’s Pinchuk Art Centre ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December, includes around 30 works by international and Ukrainian artists including Ai Weiwei and Sergiy Bratkov (through 5 January).

The show takes its name from Damien Hirst’s 2007 pill cabinet sculpture filled with clusters of antiretroviral pills used to treat HIV/Aids. “The works… represent a story of how art communities have been reacting to the Aids epidemics,” Elena Pinchuk says in a statement. The show opens with works made in New York during the 1980s, when American artists such as David Wojnarowicz and Keith Haring struggled with the disease, and closes with work from present-day Ukraine, where Aids is one of the largest epidemics in the country’s history.

The show features several new commissions, including a performance by the Ukrainian artist Ilya Chichkan and a series of photographs by Nan Goldin shot on location in Kiev. A large-scale video projection on the art centre’s façade by Tony Oursler, Transmission, 2013, also produced for the exhibition, depicts three figures whispering to one another in English, Ukrainian and Russian. The video aims to capture “this cultural component of HIV, of misinformation surrounding it, [which] can be seen as having viral properties too in this Information age”, the artist says in a statement.

Versions of Felix González-Torres untitled 1991 billboard work have been installed throughout the city. The massive photographic piece shows the artist’s empty bed with two rumpled pillows and is often seen as an elegy to his partner, who died from Aids-related complications that same year.

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