*1986 in Kiev, lives in Kiev
Sasha Kurmaz graduated from the Design Department at the National Academy of Culture and Arts Management in Kyiv.In his artistic practice, he uses photography, video, and public interventions, through which he studies social interrelationships that address themes both poetic and political. In most of his works, he plays a game of de-powering power structures, explores the changing relationship between human beings and the modern world and examines the tension between the citizen and the state.
“What Matters” was the question andtatement of 2022 presentation of works by the JUNGE AKADEMIE, the interdisciplinary and international artist-in-residence programme of the Akademie der Künste. In an exhibition and a multifaceted programme including screenings, concerts and readings, 29 fellows from all of the Akademie’s art sections presented sound and video installations, photographs, sculptures, paintings and performances they developed during their studio residencies in the Hansaviertel in Berlin and at Villa Serpentara in Olevano, Italy.
“What Matters” is not to be understood as the title of a thematic exhibition but rather indicates the diversity of questions, perspectives and realities that are interlaced in an artist residency, while emphasising their urgency. The exhibition focused on the artists’ individual approaches that encompass a broad spectrum of themes: from questions about the transformation of societies and their expression in relation to the urban space and landscape, to interrelations between the individual and social systems such as state, religion and the economy, to reflections on body images and conceptions of history, personal archives and the intertwining of nature, technology and culture.
What matters is artistic testimony, poetic resistance and the imagining of sustainable futures in the face of global tipping points – whether climatic or political in nature. Two years into the pandemic and the associated restrictions, “What Matters” was the most comprehensive presentation of works to date by the JUNGE AKADEMIE.
To quote one of the fellows: “What matters? Make them see…”
The Temple of the Transfiguration (2022)
The project continues Kurmaz’ exploration of finding new forms for religious architecture in post-Soviet Ukraine. In particular, he is interested in various ways of manipulating religion to appropriate and commercialise public space, which Orthodox clerics use.
For this exhibition, Kurmaz is recreating one of the many examples of Orthodox shacks that can be found in any part of modern Ukraine. These are architectural objects, which, as a rule, are created illegally for the seizure of public space and its further transformation into another profitable commercial structure.