Stylites (Take the place)


wallpaper, print

The piece consists of references to communist public sculpture, which in Ukraine have become subject to such mass acts of destruction, to an extent that borders on state iconoclasm. Kadan makes use of their empty pedestals to accommodate the images of stylites, early medieval hermits who took penitence by living on top of towers where they stood relentlessly, exposed to the elements. The images come from the ascetic frescoes by Theophanes the Greek seeming strangely comfortable on modernist plinths they usurp. It would be all too easy seeing them as mere symbols of the new spirit of irrationalism spurring from the restoration of the ethno-nationalist rhetoric. Their cosy symbiosis with the pedestals implies the Soviet era was more than willing to accommodate dogmatisms and irrationalities of its own, warning against the inability of modernity to deal with its own foundations.

Text by Vladimir Vidmar