The Need to Forget – the Willingness to See. How Contemporary Art Addresses Contested Topics of the Past
Center for Urban History, Lviv
In the time of information rush and omnipresent manipulations with public opinion, it is getting increasingly difficult to shape an independent stance on some debatable issues of concern to community. It is true both about the red hot issues, and also about the recent developments, since the living memory about them keeps contesting the further speculative layers and myths. It seems that in the Ukrainian society, the most manifest problem is lack of public unbiased view on history and some of the ambivalent episodes, lack of memory and actual reconciliation practices for positions of different communities.
Therefore, art appears to be one of the few areas where deep and frank reflections on the past could be made possible. However, frank does not imply objective, as personal interpretation of the problem by the artist as a citizen might run counter to the generally accepted opinion. Even more so, broad audience are often unprepared to face the "bare nerve" the artist disconcertingly reveals in his works. This means that instead of a needed therapeutic effect the artistic comment would only instigate the already hard tension around a subject.
Thus, could art be a functional tool in the "fight for memory"? What is the role of an artist in a public discussion?
Сover Image: The Unilever Series / Miroslaw Balka