15/12 2014

For the future, let’s wipe the slate clean: IZOLYATSIA in exile

Le Point Perché has had a special meeting with IZOLYATSIA, a Cultural Programme Platform from Donetsk, Ukraine, whose activities and even very existence are threatened by the war. On 9 June 2014, the IZOLYATSIA cultural foundation was seized by mercenaries of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in order—or so they proclaim—to “facilitate humanitarian aid”, coming from Russia. As part of the ALERTES set up by the Palais de Tokyo to support places dedicated to art, for a day and an evening light was shed both on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and on the place of culture in times of war.

For this meeting, le Point Perché was used as a platform of exchange, encounter and discussion, where art and creation lay at the heart of political challenges. A system with flat screens, and installations with artists’ interventions and texts helped those present to become acquainted with the situation by way of documents and reports.

With its international dimension, IZOLYATSIA is a non-governmental art foundation set up by Lubov Mikhailova in 2010 on the site of an old factory manufacturing insulation systems in Donetsk, in Ukraine. IZOLYATSIA inherits its name from this factory. The name reflects the foundation’s brief: to safeguard the industrial heritage while at the same time establishing alternative programmes of social and cultural development. IZOLYATSIA is a multi-disciplinary cultural centre with three types of activity: site-specific projects to exchange with local communities, educational programmes, and the development of creative industries. Over the past four decades, IZOLYATSIA has been behind more than 30 major projects, and lots of events.

During this meeting taking the form of a press conference, the Palais de Tokyo was keen to give pride of place to Luba Michailova, founder of IZOLYATSIA, Anya Medvedeva, Director of Communcations, the artists Elise Florenty and Marcel Turkowski, and the architect Rock Rowbotham. Because the Donetsk centre is now occupied, the teams working in it are in exile, where they are carrying on this struggle in order to perpetuate resistance to all comers. “Being here is working for the future”, says Luba Michailova, to explain the current situation.

Because of the complexity of local and international challenges and stakes, through its teams IZOLYATSIA is being sorely tested, and remains eager to preserve the institutional network that has been operating for several years.

By way of artists’ residencies and in situ works, IZOLYATSIA represents an important venue for international artists, and one that is essential in the landscape of contemporary art and current ways of thinking about the links between art, history and society. Among the in situ works, let us mention pieces by Daniel Buren, Kader Attia and Pascal Martine Tayou.

This state of crisis is affecting every intellectual and creative arena. So it is important to find a new working framework for the next five or ten years. The meeting highlighted everyone’s determination to believe in a critical system advocating dialogue in order to encourage openmindedness at a local level.

We hope to return. Being in exile and displaced is something quite different, we are not politicians, but we are concerned by the situation”, emphasizes one of the speakers. Everyday action and the connection with artists make it possible to keep this dialogue alive at the international level, so as to remain in touch with a reality, whatever happens.

Copyright :le Point Perché