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Meet the authors of the exposition at the Polish Pavilion in Venice during the 60th International Art Exhibition

The artistic team is represented by the Оpen Group collective that was founded in August 2012 in Lviv by six Ukrainian artists. The group’s structure changed over the years, and its present members are: Yuriy Biley, Pavlo Kovach and Anton Varga. Group’s work is based on research of the interaction and communication between people, artists, situation and space. Also artistic practice is based on the study of the concept of collective work.

The exhibition’s curator, Marta Czyż, is an art critic and art historian. Her practice draws on archives and recent developments in art history to influence culture and social movements. She researches the history of exhibitions in Poland and the profession of curator. She has been working with the Open Group since 2020.

Project Repeat after Me II is a collective portrait of witnesses of the war in Ukraine. The protagonists of two films from 2022 and 2024 are civilian war refugees who speak of the war as recalled through the sounds of firearms, and then invite the audience to repeat after them. The artists use a karaoke format. The accompaniment here is not hit tunes, it is shots, missiles, howling, and explosions, and the lyrics are descriptions of deadly weapons. This is the soundtrack of a war that the witnesses try to recreate. The ability to recognize these sounds can save their lives, and we are invited to learn the language of their experiences.

Photo: Marta Czyż & Оpen Group (Yuriy Biley, Pavlo Kovach, Anton Varga), 2024, photo: Piotr Czyż/Zachęta archive